FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: US CITIZENSHIP TEST
1. What is the citizenship test like?
Applicants must answer correctly 6 out of 10 history and civics questions out of a group of 100. The USCIS officer will read the questions and the applicant must answer verbally. If the applicant answers the first six questions correctly, he or she is finished with the speaking portion. Applicants also must correctly read a sentence in English and write a sentence in English that the officer dictates to them.
2. How will the exam be graded?
For the reading test, a USCIS officer will ask the applicant to read sentences. The applicant must read 1 sentence/question out of 3 correctly. Applicants should not be failed because of their accent when speaking English.
This is a general overview of how the reading test is scored:
- Read 1 sentence without extended pauses,
- Reads all the content words but may omit short words that do not interfere with the meaning,
- May make pronunciation or errors that do not interfere with the meaning.
- Does not read the sentence,
- Omits a content word or substitutes another word for a content word,
- Makes pronunciation or intonation error that interfere with the meaning.
For the writing test a USCIS officer will dictate sentences to the applicant. Applicants are required to write 1 out of 3 sentence correctly. An applicant should not be failed because of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation errors unless the errors would prevent understanding the meaning of the sentence.
This is a general overview of how the writing test is scored:
- Has the same general meaning as dictated sentence,
- Some grammatical spelling, punctuation, or capitalization errors that do not interfere with meaning,
- May omit short words that do not interfere with the meaning,
- Numbers may be spelled out or written as digits.
- Writes nothing or only one or two isolated words,
- Is completely illegible,
- Writes a different sentence or words,
- Written sentence does not communicate the meaning of the dictated sentence.
3. The test questions have different answer choices; do I need to know all of them?
The questions on the test have more than 1 correct answer. You only need to know 1 choice, but if the question asks for more than 1 answer then you need to answer according to what the question asks.
Question: What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
Answer: Two rights in the Declaration of Independence are life and liberty.
You can also answer with the other options, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
4. What form do I use to file for Naturalization?
You should use an “Application for Naturalization” (Form N-400). Call the USCIS Forms line at 1-800-870-3676 to request Form N-400. You may also download the form at www.uscis.gov.
5. If I have been convicted of a crime but my record has been expunged, do I need to write that on my application or tell a USCIS officer?
Yes. You should always be honest with USCIS about all:
*Arrests (even if you were not charged or convicted),
*Convictions (even if your record was cleared or expunged),
*Crimes you have committed for which you were arrested or convicted, and
*Any countervailing evidence, or evidence in your favor concerning the circumstances of your arrests, and/or convictions or offense that you would like USCIS to consider.
NOTE: Even if you have committed a minor crime, USCIS may deny your application if you do not tell the USCIS officer about the incident.
Note that unless a traffic incident was alcohol or drug related, you do not need to submit documentation for traffic fines and incidents that did not involve an actual arrest if the only penalty was a fine less than $500 and/or points on your driver’s license.
6. How long will it take to become naturalized?
The time it takes to be naturalized varies by location. USCIS is continuing to modernize and improve the naturalization process and would like to decrease the time it takes to an average of 6 months after the Form N-400 is filed.
7. What do I do if my address has changed?
It is important that USCIS has your most current address, so it can notify you about the date and time of your interview or about additional documents you may need to bring.
You need to call USCIS Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283 to report any changes in your address.
8. How long must I be a Permanent Resident in the United States before I Apply for Citizenship?
In most instances, a person must be a lawful permanent resident for five years before becoming a citizenship. However, spouses of U.S. Citizens can become a U.S. citizen after three years of being a lawful permanent resident. In special circumstances, the period might also be shorter than five years (i.e. being a member of the armed forces).
9. Do I have to wait until the five-year or three-year mark before applying for citizenship?
No, you do not have to wait until the five or three year mark. You can apply up to 90 days before you become eligible for Citizenship.
10. Does the United States allow for dual citizenship with other countries?
Yes, the United States allows individuals to possess dual citizenship. Although the United States is not fond of dual citizenship, it realizes that it is a part of long established international law. A person interested in dual citizenship must ensure that the other country also allows for dual citizenship.
11. Must the applicant be able to speak, read and write English?
In most cases, the applicant must speak, read and write English. However, exemptions to this requirement include if the applicant has a physical disability or mental impairment, if the applicant is over 50 years old and has resided in the United States as a permanent resident for over 20 years, or if the applicant is over 55 years old and has resided in the U.S. as a permanent resident for over 15 years.
12. Is there any age limitations on becoming a U.S. Citizen?
In most instances, a person must be 18 before they can become a naturalized U.S. citizen. There is no upper limit to becoming a U.S. citizen.
13. What if you don’t pass the test?
You will be given two opportunities to take the English and civics tests and to answer all questions relating to your naturalization application in English. If you fail any of the tests at your initial interview, you will be retested on the portion of the test that you failed (English or civics) between 60 and 90 days from the date of your initial interview.
14. Am I eligible for a fee waiver?
You will be eligible for a fee waiver for N400 if you meet certain criteria. Mainly:
if you, your spouse, or the head of household living with you, are currently receiving a means-tested benefit.
Your household income is at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines at the time you file.
You are currently experiencing financial hardship that prevents you from paying the filing fee, including unexpected medical bills or emergencies.