U.S. Citizenship Test & Interview: Everything You Need to Know

The U.S. citizenship test is one of the last steps of the naturalization process. The citizenship test is made up of two basic parts:

  1. English test (speaking, listening, reading, and writing)
  2. U.S. history and civics test

The Goal of Citizenship Test & Interview

The goal of the Citizenship test is to test your English communication skills and your knowledge of United States history, government, and the legal system.

What Happens at Citizenship Interview?

The best way to prepare for the U.S. citizenship test is to first understand what’s expected of you.

Not all citizenship interviews are the same, but in general, this is what would typically happen.

During the interview, the USCIS officer will ask you questions about your citizenship application in English. So as soon as you begin speaking with the USCIS officer, the test has already begun. By listening to your responses, the officer is already testing your English-speaking skills. If you don’t understand a question, you are allowed to ask the USCIS officer to repeat the question or to rephrase it.

It’s hard to know exactly what sort of questions in relation to your answers on your Form N-400 will be asked during your citizenship interview. You should review your entire application before the interview to ensure you will be relaxed and can focus on your pronunciation rather than struggling to remember your answers and stumbling over your words.

You also want to make sure that your answers at the interview are consistent with your answers on your application.

Documents required for Citizenship Test

You need to bring all the required documents to the citizenship test so that there are no delays if you pass the test. Below is a list of documents you need to take to the interview.

  1. Copy of Green Card
  2. Proof of current marital status, like marriage certificate, Divorce papers, Annulment certificate, Death certificate, or other certificates.
  3. Passport size photos
  4. Proof of military service if any.
  5. Proof of medical disability if any.
  6. Fee Reduction application if applicable.
  7. Fee waiver application if applicable.
  8. Request for representation at the naturalization interview (Form G-28).

How to Prepare for the Citizenship Test?

The U.S. history and civics test has 10 questions. You must get 6 out of 10 questions correct to pass the history and civics test. These 10 questions will be asked to you orally and you will have to answer orally as well. The 10 questions asked are chosen from a list of 100 pre-determined questions that USCIS provides.

There is usually time available after you file your citizenship application since it takes time for USCIS to process the application. During this time you should go over the 100 questions that are predetermined and know the answers. The questions are mostly related to the U.S. government, its history, and the legal system.

Some answers will change according to the current situation. For example, people serving as the governor of your state.

The reading and writing tests each have 3 sentences. The USCIS officer will hand you a piece of paper with 3 sentences and you will have to read them out loud. To pass, you must read at least 1 out of the 3 sentences correctly.

The USCIS officer will then hand you another piece of paper and tell you to write the sentences the officer speaks to you. To pass, you must write at least 1 out of 3 sentences correctly.

You don’t have to be the best English speaker but it is sufficient to understand, reply and be able to write. In some cases, exceptions are allowed.

You should prepare yourself for the U.S. citizenship test using prep tools, such as our U.S. citizenship test DVD.

Exemptions & Accommodations for U.S. Citizenship Test

You are exempt from the English language requirement, but are still required to take the civics test if you are:

  • Age 50 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident (Green Card holder) in the United States for 20 years (commonly referred to as the “50/20” exception).
  • Age 55 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 15 years (commonly referred to as the “55/15” exception).

Medical Disability Exceptions to English and Civics

You may be eligible for an exception to the English and civics naturalization requirements if you are unable to comply with these requirements because of a physical or developmental disability or a mental impairment.

To request this exception, submit Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. This form must be completed by a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor, or licensed clinical psychologist.

What happens after the Citizenship test?

In most cases, the USCIS officer will let you know if you have passed at the end of your interview. If you pass the citizenship test the officer will let you know the next steps which typically involve waiting for the approval of your citizenship application and once approved an appointment will be sent with the date and time of your naturalization oath ceremony. In some cases, the oath ceremony will be conducted on the same day. In such instances, you will be required to attend the interview later in the day.

What happens if you fail the Citizenship test?

If you fail the U.S. citizenship test you will be given a second chance. If you fail the second time then your application will be denied. You will have to apply for citizenship all over again.