Applicants for the citizenship exam are required to have an understanding of the English language – spoken, written and read, as well as knowledge of American history and the principles of the U.S. government.
U.S. civics exam
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has provided applicants with 100 possible questions for the history and government exam portion of the citizenship test. The questions, with their answers, are published in advance and are available for all applicants to access beforehand. Applicants will be required to memorize the answers to these questions, but only six out of ten questions – chosen by the USCIS official conducting the interview – need to be answered correctly in order to pass the test.
During the interview, immigrants are required to show that they can speak and read in English. The USCIS official will conduct the interview in English and the official monitors how well each question is answered. Interviewees will be asked to write down a sentence or short passage that the official reads aloud.
Exceptions for seniors or disabled applicants
Exceptions can be made for applicants that have difficulty learning the answers for the civics exam or comprehending English. If an applicant is at least 65 years old and has lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident for at least 20 years, they are allowed to take an easier version of the history and government exam. Similarly, if the interviewee is at least 50 years old and has lived in the U.S. as a green card holder for at least 20 years, they are permitted to have the entire citizenship interview conducted in their native language. If applicants have a physical or mental disability that prevents them from learning the concepts of U.S. history and government and English, they may qualify for a waiver. A doctor must fill out a form explaining exactly what the disability is and why it prevents the applicant from learning English or U.S. civics and government.