January 3, 2023

What to Wear For the Citizenship Interview

The process of obtaining US citizenship can be long and confusing; there are various paths you can take, and each one has different requirements. However, most of those paths require you to attend an in-person interview with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Service—USCIS—officer, which brings a question to mind for many people working on obtaining citizenship: “What should I wear to my citizenship interview?”.

It’s important to make a good impression at your interview. So keep reading to learn what you should wear to your citizenship interview to make the best impression.

Related: How to Prepare for the Naturalization Ceremony

Are There Rules About What You Can Wear to Your Citizenship Interview?

The USCIS doesn’t have any specific requirements about what you must wear during your citizenship interview. And don’t worry; the person who interviews you most likely will not consider your clothing when making a decision about your application.

However, it’s still an excellent idea to make a good impression on your interviewer to show them that the process is important to you and that you are taking it seriously. A simple way to make that good impression is by dressing nicely for your interview.

Why Is It Important to Dress Appropriately At Your Citizenship Interview?

Even though the USCIS interviews who conduct citizenship interviews are trained to avoid bias towards applicants based on their appearance, it’s almost impossible for someone to avoid 100% of any preconceptions. Everyone will naturally react when first meeting someone, and your interviewer is no different.

That said, it makes sense to dress in a way that makes your interviewer’s natural reaction a good one; you can make a good impression and show respect for the interview and naturalization process by dressing appropriately.

While how you dress won’t make the difference between a good and poor interview, it will help give you an overall better impression as a candidate.

In addition, dressing well can help you feel more confident, easing your nervousness and helping you answer each question correctly.

What Should You Wear to Your Citizenship Interview?

Fashion is diverse; an outfit that looks great on someone else might not work as well for you. Plus, how you dress in your country of origin will help determine what you would feel comfortable wearing to your interview.

However, there are some guidelines you can follow that you can apply to almost any situation. Cleanliness should be your top priority. No matter what you wear, ensure that your outfit is free of stains and freshly laundered. Have your clothes pressed if necessary, and remember to keep your shoes clean and tidy.

The clothes you choose should be clean, comfortable, and presentable—think about what you would wear to a job interview or meeting an important person for the first time. Business casual (a less formal but professional way of dressing) is typically a safe bet.

A man wearing business casual clothes for a citizenship interview

Related: How Long Will It Take to Get Citizenship After Applying?

Dressing in business casual means you don’t need a suit jacket or tie. Instead, a formal pair of shoes, slacks, and a button-down shirt or sweater over a formal shirt is perfectly fine for many occasions, including your citizenship interview.

However, if you prefer wearing more formal clothing, that is fine too. It’s important to understand that your clothes don’t have to be fancy or expensive; you need to dress in a way that shows your interviewer that you’re taking the process seriously.

What Should You Not Wear to Your Citizenship Interview?

Sometimes understanding something can be easier by looking at what not to do. So to help you understand what kind of clothing to wear to your citizenship interview, let’s look at some things that are best to avoid.

You want to avoid wearing anything with controversial slogans or clothing that is politically charged. Don’t wear anything expressing hateful beliefs to your interview.

In addition, be careful about how much cologne or perfume you wear to the interview—a little goes a long way. If you use too much, the smell can end up being overwhelming in the interview room, creating an uncomfortable environment for your interviewer.

And keep in mind that how you dress for the citizenship interview is up to you; the USCIS interviewers are required to avoid discrimination of any kind, including based on your clothing or appearance.

However, it’s still best to avoid wearing shorts, sweats, tank tops, sneakers, or other ultra-casual clothing. Most outfits are fine for your interview as long as it’s clean and tidy.

What Can You Wear to Your Naturalization Ceremony?

After passing your interview, you’ll take an oath at the naturalization ceremony to become an official US citizen. And if you were wondering what to wear to your interview, you’ll likely have the same question about the ceremony—it’s an important event, and it’s even more important to take it seriously.

Like the interview, the USCIS doesn’t have explicit rules about what you can or cannot wear; however, in their guide to the naturalization process, the USCIS recommends dressing in a way that shows respect to the dignity of the event.

You want to make a good impression, like at your interview. Business casual or even something a little more formal is a good choice for the naturalization ceremony.

It’s important to look your best—many people invite their friends and family who will likely take a lot of pictures. In addition, it’s not uncommon for politicians or well-known people to attend these ceremonies, giving you another reason to dress nicely.

Ace Your Citizenship Interview With Brudner Law

Two people shaking hands after a citizenship interview

The best ways to prepare for your citizenship interview and go into it with confidence is by working with an immigration attorney.

We can help you get ready for your citizenship interview, understand the questions you’ll be asked, ensure you have all of the necessary documents, and more.

And while having an attorney present for your interview isn’t required, it can ensure that the entire process goes smoothly.

Related: Why You Need an Attorney at Your Citizenship Interview

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