Citizenship tests are always a challenge, and the test for US citizenship has an especially tough reputation. But what does the American citizenship test actually involve?
How Do I Apply For Citizenship?
If you were born in the USA, but now live abroad, or if you are of American parentage, obtaining US citizenship will obviously be an easier process.
You won’t need to take a test because you’re already eligible. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services state that in order to become a citizen at birth, you must:
– Have been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States OR
– Have a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and who meet the other requirements.
To become a citizen after your birth in these circumstances, you must apply for ‘derived’ or ‘acquired’ citizenship through your parents if you don’t fall into these categories, you’ll need to apply for naturalization. To do this, you’ll need to pass the Citizenship test, which focuses on the English language and civics; that is, American history and culture. You’ll need to demonstrate your loyalty to the constitution and show an understanding of the key aspects of American life.
What Do I Need To Know?
The English Test
The English test has three components: reading, writing and speaking. The Immigration Service says that your ability to speak English will be determined by a USCIS Officer during your interview. For the reading section, you must read one of three sentences correctly. For the writing test, you’ll need to write one out of three sentences correctly. If you don’t understand a question, you can ask the official to repeat it.
You can find some practice materials here, plus the US government provides some study tools.
The Civics Test
There are 100 civics questions on the naturalization test. During the interview, applicants will be asked up to 10 questions from this list of 100, in English. You must answer correctly six of questions to pass. As with the English language component, the US government provides access to study materials, which you can access here.
Questions might concern the constitution and its amendments, the bill of rights, the names of current politicians and officials, aspects of American history, or quotes from famous people. You will need to remember a lot of dates, so don’t forget to practice!
You may also be asked about your political history; one applicant reports that she was asked if she had ever been a member of the Communist Party. It is crucial to be completely honest with officials.
What Happens If I Fail The Test?
The Immigration Service says that you will be given two opportunities to take the English and civics tests. If you fail either of the tests at your initial interview, you will be retested on the portion of the test that you failed between 60 and 90 days from that date.