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What you need to know about the U.S. citizenship test

On Behalf of | Nov 25, 2022 | Citizenship

After you have lived in the United States for a few years as a lawful permanent resident, you may decide that you want to stay forever. In fact, you want to vote or maybe run for political office. Your time in the United States has made you feel a bond to the country, and you want to become a citizen.

You may qualify for naturalized citizenship as a permanent resident who has been in the country for several years. However, the process of becoming a naturalized citizen involves an interview with two tests. You need to understand those tests if you are to have any hope of becoming a United States citizen.

What do the tests cover?

An interviewer from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will ask you questions about your naturalization application. They will also administer a test in Civics and another in the English language.

The English language test involves speaking and also demonstrating adequate comprehension when listening to another person speak. The test will also involve writing and reading complete sentences. The Civics test is entirely oral. The interviewer will ask 20 Civics questions, and the applicant has to get at least 12 right to pass.

What if you don’t pass the test?

Many people worry about how well they speak English or the complexities of the United States government. The good news for those who do not pass the naturalization tests is that it is possible to retake the tests one time. However, because you only can only take the test one more time, proper preparation before the first test can be crucial to your overall chances of success.

How do you prepare for the test?

The USCIS provides study resources on its website including vocabulary guides and a list of all the possible Civics questions that could come up during the interview. You can prepare for many months before submitting naturalization paperwork, allowing you to improve your language skills and memorize those Civics questions ahead of time.

Are there any testing exemptions?

There are two groups of people who may qualify for testing exemptions. Older adults who have been in the country for 15 years or longer may sometimes qualify for a language exemption to the testing requirements. There are also supports and exemptions available for those with documented disabling medical conditions.

Otherwise, applicants typically mean to demonstrate an understanding of the language and of how the government works in the United States, as well as some important basics for the history of the country. Learning more about what it takes to become a United States citizen can help those who dream of naturalization.