Migrating to United States is a complicated process. It becomes more complex if you do not comprehend the language and governance of the United States. So it is imperative to have a detailed knowledge of USA’s history and a basic knowledge of the English language. The USCIS conducts an immigration test for all applicants for citizenship through naturalization. This immigration test judges the applicant’s ability to write, speak and read in English and his / her acquaintance with the government and history of US.
The Redesigned Naturalization Exam
The USCIS finished a multi-year revamping of the US citizenship exam lately, to create a fairer, uniform and meaningful process of naturalization. The new naturalization exam emphasizes the elementary concepts of democracy in America and the rights and duties of a citizen. It further intends to encourage applicants to learn and recognize the basic principles shared by all citizens of US.
The naturalization exam following the new format is effective since October 1, 2008. Applicants who have submitted their application prior to 1st October, 2008, and have been listed to take the interview after October 1st, 2008 will be allowed to make a choice as to which format of the test they want to take, the old one or the new one. The aspirants of US citizenship who are slotted for their interview after 1st October 2009 must take this new designed test.
Immigration Test and its Components
Every applicant for US citizenship through the naturalization process has to take the immigration test, which comprises of Civics and English test. You may also be allowed a waiver or exemption if you are eligible in some special cases. The three parts of the English test includes:
1.Speaking Test – An officer from USCIS will check your ability to speak in English during your interview based on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
2.Reading Test – To prove your ability to read in English, you need to read 1 out of 3 sentences properly.
3.Writing Test – To demonstrate your ability to write in English, you must write at least 1 of 3 sentences correctly.
There are 100 civics questions in the naturalization test covering important US history and government topics. During the interview, you must answer at least 6 questions correctly, out of the 10 questions asked to you. To get through the immigration test, applicants can update themselves with information from newspapers, articles and books about US history.
Every applicant is entitled to take the civics and English Test again, if they fails in any portion of the test during their first interview. The individual can take the retest on the portion failed, either in Civics or English, between sixty and ninety days from the initial interview date.
Exceptions to the Immigration Test
Applicants are exempted from taking the English test, if they are:
- above 50 years of age and have been permanent residents for 20 years
- above 55 years of age and have been permanent residents for 15 years
Such applicants need to take the civics test but they can take the test in a language of their choice.
Applicants who are above 65 years of age can skip the test for English and take an easier form of the civics test in a language of their choice.
The Test Process
The applicants will receive a letter of appointment from USCIS for fingerprinting, on acceptance of their citizenship application Form N-400. Following the date and time mentioned on the letter, the candidates are requested to be present at the Application Support Center in their locality for the biometrics appointment.
Once the biometrics and background checks have been completed, the USCIS will inform the aspirant about the date, time and location of the immigration test and interview.
On passing the citizenship test and interview, the candidate will be informed about the venue for the Naturalization Oath ceremony, where he/she has to take a pledge of loyalty, receive the certificate of naturalization and thereon become a US citizen.