What to Expect at the Citizenship Interview

Immigrants who choose naturalization can expect questions about their application and their background as well as an assessment of their English-language skills at the citizenship interview. The interview, which is conducted by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) officer, also includes civics testing that covers information about important U.S. history and government topics.

While test-taking can be a stressful endeavor, USCIS attempts to make the situation easier for naturalization candidates by providing plenty of study materials covering the test-topic areas that consist of reading and writing vocabulary lists as well as civics study guides. Additionally, USCIS has designed these materials as complementary tools in that the reading and writing study tools are made up of civics and history content. Using these study aids to build adequate preparation, stress levels are greatly reduced and the probability of passing the citizenship test is greatly enhanced.

Citizenship applicants begin the process by filing form N-400, Application for Naturalization. This early portion of the citizenship process includes an assessment of an immigrants’ English-language speaking skills with an eligibility interview.

Once USCIS officers are satisfied with an immigrant’s ability to adequately speak the English language, the reading and writing portions of testing can move forward. In the reading portion of testing, a citizenship applicant is asked to read aloud one out of three sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to read in English. Study materials for this portion of the test include a Reading Test Vocabulary List. For the writing portion of the test, applicants are expected to write one out of three sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to write in English. Study materials for this portion include the Writing Test Vocabulary List.

The civics portion of the citizenship test is arguably the most intense aspect of the process. The civics test includes 10 questions out of a possible 100 questions that an applicant might be asked. Of these 10 questions, naturalization candidates must answer six of the questions correctly. Study materials for the 100 civics questions on the naturalization test.portion are available in a number of formats– including flashcards and audio.

USCIS gives candidates two attempts to pass the various portions of the citizenship test per application. Candidates who fail any portion of the test during the interview can retake that portion of the test between 60 and 90 days from the initial interview.

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