U.S. Citizenship Test and Interview

Citizenship test and interview is the next step in the Naturalization process after your biometrics test.

After your biometric test, USCIS will mail you an appointment notice for your citizenship test and interview. The date and time of your interview will be mentioned in the mail.

How to Prepare For Citizenship Test?

At the time of your biometric test, you will be given a study booklet to help you prepare for the citizenship test.

Use the study materials given by USCIS to prepare well for your citizenship test because you will be given only two chances for your citizenship test. 

You can prepare for the test all by yourself by using the internet or you could connect with immigrant groups or institutions that provide services to help you pass the citizenship test.

Start preparing as soon as possible, take practice tests, watch and listen, take mock tests and don’t overwhelm.

Do not get nervous before your interview. If you have prepared well then you have nothing to worry about.

Citizenship Test and Interview

During the citizenship test, you need to attend the English test and civics test unless you are exempt.

English Test

There are three sections in the English test which are speaking, writing and reading. The reading and writing tests will be conducted using a digital tablet. At the start of the interview, the USCIS officer will explain the purpose of the interview, ask for identification and place you under Oath.

You should always tell the truth. Failing to tell the truth could lead to denial of your application. The USCIS officer will also show how to use the digital tablet before you begin.

Speaking Test

Your ability to speak English will be determined by a USCIS Officer during your interview. A USCIS officer will ask questions regarding your Form N-400 application and your eligibility to apply for citizenship. When you are answering the questions the officer will also determine your English speaking ability. 

Writing Test

During the interview, you will be given three sentences out of which you should write one sentence correctly. This is to check your ability to write in English. 

Reading Test

You will be given three sentences out of which you should read one sentence correctly. This is to test your English reading skills.

Civics Test

During your civic test, you will be asked about U.S. history and the government. The civics test is not a multiple-choice test. The civics test is an oral test and a USCIS officer will ask you up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions in English.

You must answer 6 out of the 10 questions correctly to pass the civics test. Some people might be eligible to take the citizenship test in their own language. This exemption is applicable to only eligible people. More on this topic is covered below.

Who is exempt from taking the citizenship test?

Some applicants can be exempted from taking the English test based on a few factors. But the civics test is a must for all except people with disabilities and people who are exempt from the English test could be eligible to take the civics test in their own language as mentioned above.

Citizenship test exemption categories and their exemptions:

  • If you are above 50 years of age at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a green card holder in the U.S for at least 20 years which is commonly known as the “50/20” exception then you may be exempted from the English test. The civics test is a must and you may take the civics test in the language of your choice. If you are exempted from taking the English test then you must bring an interpreter who is proficient in English and your language to the interview.
  • If you are above age 55 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a green card holder in the U.S for at least 15 years which is commonly known as the “55/15” exception then you may be exempted from the English test. The civics test is a must and you may take the civics test in the language of your choice. If exempted from taking the English test then you must bring an interpreter who is proficient in English and your language to the interview.
  • If you are age 65 or older and have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years at the time of filing for naturalization, you will be given special consideration regarding the civics requirement. Designated questions will be selected for you within the 100 questions based on which the interview will be conducted.
  • If you have a physical or developmental disability or mental disability so severe which makes it hard to take the citizenship test and interview then you might be eligible to be exempt from both the tests. To request an exception you may have to file Form N-648.

What happens if you fail the citizenship test?

If you fail in your citizenship test you will be given a second chance which will usually be scheduled within 60 to 90 days of the first interview. If you fail the test for the second time, your request for naturalization will be denied.

If you are denied naturalization, you will receive a written notice in the mail. You will receive instructions on how to proceed if you want to appeal the denial.

If USCIS has made a mistake you can appeal the denial. If the reason for denial was that you failed one of the exams or don’t meet basic eligibility requirements your application will not be approved.

What happens if you pass your citizenship test?

After you pass your U.S. citizenship interview USCIS will schedule you to take the Oath of Allegiance at a citizenship ceremony also called the naturalization ceremony. This is the last step before becoming a U.S. citizen.

In some cases, you might be able to schedule the Oath ceremony the same day as your citizenship test and interview.

Hope you understood everything about the citizenship test and interview.