As part of the requirements for becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, applicants must take several tests, collectively known as the citizenship exam, administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). These tests are broken into two parts: An English test and a civics test. Your Chicago immigration attorney can help you prepare for the exam.
If you fail the English test and/or the civics test, you may retake the test you failed one more time 60 to 90 days after your initial interview. You must pass both tests to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
English Exam Basics
The USCIS English exam is broken into three parts: Speaking, reading and writing.
During your eligibility interview, the USCIS officer will judge you on your ability to speak English. You will also be asked to read aloud a sentence focused on U.S. history and civics. Lastly, you will be asked to write a sentence in English that is read aloud to you.
The USCIS publishes study materials to help you prepare for the English text.
Applicants who are at least 50 years old at the time of their application and who have had a U.S. green card for at least 20 years (known as the 50/20 exemption), as well as applicants who are at least 55 years old and who have had a green card for at least 15 years (known as the 55/15 exemption) are exempt from taking the English test. Your Chicago immigration attorney can help determine whether you are eligible for such an exemption.
Five Important Things to Know About the Civics Test
You should also know what to expect during the actual civic test. There are five important details you should know.
- The test is an oral exam. This is in contrast to the many practice tests you may see, most of which are multiple choice written exams.
- You will be asked up to 10 questions.
- You must correctly answer at least six of the 10 questions to pass the test.
- If you meet the 50/20 or 55/15 exemption, you may take the civics test in your native language. However, you must also bring an interpreter who is fluent in both English and your native language to the interview.
- If you are at least 65 years old and have been a U.S. permanent resident for at least 20 years, you may study an abridged list of questions for your civics exam.
Sample Civics Test Questions
The 10 questions you’re asked during the civics test are drawn from a list of 100 official civics questions that cover the principles of American democracy, the U.S. system of government, the rights and responsibilities of citizens, American history dating from the colonial period, U.S. geography, American symbols and American holidays.
Sample questions include:
- The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
- What is an amendment?
- What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
- Name one branch or part of the government.
- Who is in charge of the executive branch?
- We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
- What is the name of the President of the United States now?
- What are two Cabinet-level positions?
- Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
- There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.
- Name one right only for United States citizens.
- What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?
- What is one reason colonists came to America?
- What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?
- Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
- What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?
- Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s
- What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?
- Who was President during World War I?
- Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?
- Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.
- Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.
- Name one state that borders Canada.
- Why does the flag have 13 stripes?
- What is the name of the national anthem?
- When do we celebrate Independence Day?
Chicago Immigration Attorneys Helping Clients Become U.S. Citizens
The Chicago immigration attorneys of The Shapiro Law Group have experience counseling clients throughout the process of becoming naturalized U.S. citizens. If you are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, contact us at (847) 564-0712 to schedule a free initial consultation. Our Chicago-based immigration lawyers can help determine whether you’re eligible for citizenship and guide you through the process of applying for U.S. citizenship.