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Citizenship and naturalization testing: Things to know

On Behalf of | Aug 28, 2015 | Citizenship

Immigrants are often put through the ringer, so to speak, when it comes to obtaining U.S. Citizenship. The application and interview processes are understandable, but some may question the testing that is involved before citizenship and naturalization applications are approved. For those residing in California and elsewhere who are considering becoming a citizen of the United States, here are a few things that should be known about the required testing.

The citizenship and naturalization test is divided into two basic parts — English proficiency and civics. During the English portion of the test, an applicant will have to show his or her ability to write, read, speak and understand English. This may seem like a daunting task to numerous individuals, but the test is designed to gauge the ability to use the language only as it is necessary to communicate, rather than requiring applicants to have a complete understanding of the language rules.

The civics test requires an applicant to answer a minimum of six questions about U.S. history and government. The questions are asked by a testing officer and an applicant will be asked to give a verbal response. No more than 10 questions will be asked during a testing period. For both portions of the exam, there are some exceptions offered to those of certain ages and/or with disabilities.

Citizenship and naturalization applicants are give two opportunities to pass both of these exams. If a re-examination is required, only the failed portions of the first exam will be re-administered. Failing any portion the second time around will result in an application denial. Before proceeding through this process, immigrants in California would only help themselves by finding out if any exceptions or special considerations may be made in their specific circumstances. An immigrantion attorney will be able to provide this and any other information one may need before seeking citizenship.

Source:, “English and Civics Testing – Chapter 2, Part E, Volume 12“, Accessed on Aug. 26, 2015