US Citizenship Test and Interview

How to Prepare for the US Citizenship Test & Interview

How to Prepare for the
U.S. Citizenship Test and Interview

 
 
 
 
 
 

How to Prepare for the
U.S. Citizenship Test and Interview

 
 
 
 
 
 

Over 7.5 million people have become naturalized U.S. citizens over the past 10 years. Yet there are millions more eligible permanent residents (green card holders) that don’t take the next step because they’re worried about the citizenship test and interview.

You can do it. In fact, many resources are available to help you prepare for the U.S. citizenship interview and test. When you know what to expect and do some preparation, you can become a U.S. citizen. The interview and test happen near the end of the naturalization time line.

What Happens at Citizenship Interview

At your interview, a USCIS officer will ask to see your identification, place you under oath, and ask you about:

  • Your background
  • Evidence supporting your case
  • Your place and length of residence
  • Your character
  • Your attachment to the Constitution and
  • Your willingness to take an Oath of Allegiance

Review your N-400 application carefully before attending the appointment. The USCIS officer will use the application to test your English and to confirm that the information you have given is correct. If there are any differences between answers on application and your supporting documents, be prepared to explain the reason. Likewise, you should be prepared to offer any additional information. For example, you’ll need to provide details of your time outside the United States if you took a recent trip abroad. Your ability to understand the questions and answers in English is part of the interview.

In most cases these changes to your application are insignificant. A new job, a new address, or even a new child generally will not affect your eligibility to naturalize. Some changes may affect your eligibility:

  • If you have traveled abroad for a period of greater than six months.
  • If you have been arrested for certain crimes or otherwise interfered with the good moral character requirement.
  • If you have recently divorced the U.S. citizen who sponsored you for a green card and your eligiibility is based on three years of marriage to that person.

In these situations, we highly recommended that you consult with an immigration lawyer before attending the naturalization interview.

How to Prepare for the Citizenship Test – English

Remember, your ability to understand and speak English will be evaluated from the moment the USCIS officer meets you. If you don’t understand a question, it’s okay to ask the officer to rephrase it.

During your interview, a USCIS officer will also test your ability to read, write, and speak English (unless you are exempt from the English requirements). Your English skills will be tested in the following ways:

  • Reading. To test your ability to read in English, you must read one sentence, out of three sentences, in a manner suggesting to the USCIS officer that you understand the meaning of the sentence.
  • Writing. To test your ability to write in English, you must write one sentence, out of three sentences, in a manner that would be understandable as written to the USCIS officer.
  • Speaking. Your ability to speak English is determined by your answers to questions normally asked by USCIS officers during the naturalization eligibility interview on Form N-400.

Several FREE study tools are available from USCIS to help you prepare for the English test.

how to prepare for us citizenship interview test, reading vocabulary

Easy-to-use flash cards containing vocabulary words to help study for the English reading portion of the test.

how to prepare for us citizenship test interview, writing vocabulary

Easy-to-use flash cards containing vocabulary words to help study for the English writing portion of the test.

us citizenship test interview preparation, reading vocabulary

Official list of vocabulary for the English reading portion of the citizenship test.

us citizenship test preparation, understanding commands

This listening activity has commands that you may hear during the citizenship interview. Download the self-study flash cards to practice on your own.

us naturalization test english, vocabulary preparation

This reading activity has words and phrases that you may read on the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, or hear during the citizenship interview.

how to prepare for us citizenship test english vocabulary

This reading and listening activity has words and phrases that you may read on the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, or hear during the citizenship interview.

How to Prepare for the Citizenship Test – History/Civics

You will also be given a civics test in English (to test your knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government) unless you are exempt. Even if exempt from the English test, you will need to take the civics test in the language of your choice or qualify for a waiver.

There are 100 civics questions on the U.S. citizenship test. During your test, you will be asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions in English. You must answer correctly six of the 10 questions to pass the civics test in English. Several FREE study tools are available from USCIS to help you prepare for the history/civics portion of the test.

how to prepare for us citizenship civics test

Official list of civics questions and answers
for the test.

how to prepare for us citizenship civics quiz

Official list of civics questions and answers
for the test.

how to prepare for us citizenship civics test

Online videos and activities highlight museum objects from the Smithsonian Institution to help you prepare for the civics portion of the citizenship test.

how to prepare for us citizenship test civics

Practice your knowledge of U.S. history and government with these 4 different self-tests. This is 1 of 4 practice tests available for you to try.

how to prepare for us citizenship test self test

Practice your knowledge of U.S. history and government with these 4 different self-tests. This is 1 of 4 practice tests available for you to try.

how to prepare for us citizenship test civics flash cards

Easy-to-use downloadable flash cards containing each of the 100 civics (history and government) questions and answers on the citizenship test.

how to prepare for us citizenship test civics flash cards spanish

Easy-to-use downloadable flash cards containing each of the 100 civics (history and government) questions and answers on the citizenship test.

how to prepare for us citizenship test civics video

Short video providing an overview of the naturalization process and test.

how to prepare for us citizenship test interview video

An Introduction to U.S. History and Civics
Video highlighting U.S. history, civics, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

how to prepare for us citizenship test civics

Quick Civics Lessons
Study booklet containing short lessons based on each of the 100 civics questions and answers on the test.

Exemptions & Accommodations for U.S. Citizenship Test

There are exemptions and modifications to the naturalization requirements that are available to certain individuals who qualify.

English Language Exemptions

When preparing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, you have the opportunity to select certain exemptions. You are exempt from the English language requirement if you are:

  • Age 50 or older at the time of filing Form N-400 and have lived as a permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States for 20 years or more. This is also known as the “50/20” exception; or
  • Age 55 or older at the time of filing Form N-400 and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 15 years or more. This is also known as the “55/15” exception.
Civics Test Accommodations

Even if you qualify for the “50/20” or “55/15” English language exemptions listed above, you must still take the civics portion of the U.S. citizenship test. If you quality for the exemptions listed above, you will be permitted to take the civics test in your native language. To use an interpreter during the civics test, you will also need to:

  • Bring an interpreter with you to your interview.
  • Your interpreter must be fluent in both English and your native language.

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 also be given a simplified version of the civics test.

Exemptions for Individuals with Disabilities and/or Impairments

If you have a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment that prevents you from demonstrating your knowledge and understanding of the English language and/or civics requirements for naturalization, you may qualify for an exemption to certain parts of the naturalization test. You must submit an original Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, at the time of filing Form N-400. The Form N-648 must have been prepared by a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor or licensed clinical psychologist less than six months prior to filing Form N-400.

What to Take to Your Citizenship Interview

After you file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, begin keeping a file that includes a copy of the application, all of the supporting documentation that was submitted with your application, and any letters you receive from USCIS. This will make it easier to find and review the information before your interview.

Download the PDF below for a list of items typically required at the citizenship interview, but read your appointment notice for any additional documents that you might need.

Download Citizenship Interview Checklist
US Citizenship Test for Certificate

U.S. Citizenship Interview and Test FAQs

There’s no need to arrive more than 15-20 minutes early to the naturalization interview. In addition to it being an unfamiliar location, there will be a security checkpoint at the USCIS building that you attend. So give yourself some extra time.

Upon checking in for your naturalization interview, you’ll probably have a wait. USCIS offices generally schedule people in blocks of time. You may be called at the beginning or the end of the block of time.

Nonetheless, don’t show up at the last minute. Get there early. You may need the time to find parking, navigate a new building and get through security. If you fail to show up on time, USCIS could decide to close your case file.

It’s not necessary to dress formally for your U.S. citizenship interview and test. You may dress comfortably but look professional. “Business casual” is a good rule of thumb. Avoid wearing jeans, shorts and t-shirts. A nice collar shirt or blouse for women is sufficient. Of course, you are welcome to wear a suit and tie if that’s what makes you comfortable.
If you are unable to answer six of 10 questions correctly, the interview will stop, and you will be rescheduled for another day (within the next 90 days).

You will have one additional chance to pass the citizenship test. If you are unable to pass the test during the second attempt, your N-400 will be denied.

If all goes well at the U.S. citizenship interview and test, the USCIS officer will tell you that you have been approved and may hand you a piece of paper containing information about your oath ceremony. If USCIS is not able to immediately schedule you for the ceremony, they will mail you another notice with the place and time of the oath ceremony. You do not officially become a U.S. citizen until you take the oath.

In some cases, the USCIS officer will not be able to make a decision on the application for naturalization on the day of your interview. In these cases, the USCIS officer will continue your case. This may include a request for you to provide additional evidence or require a second interview. Read about the most common reasons N-400 applications are continued or denied.

After your interview, USCIS will give you Form N-652, Naturalization Interview Results. It provides you with information about the results of your interview. They will either grant, continue, or deny your naturalization application after your interview.

  • Granted—USCIS may approve your Form N-400 if the evidence on record establishes your eligibility for naturalization.
  • Continued – USCIS may continue your Form N-400 if you failed a test or did not give USCIS the correct documents. This will add time to your case as you correct the problem.
  • Denied—USCIS will deny your Form N-400 if the evidence on record establishes you are not eligible for naturalization.