The New Citizenship Test

September 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

Most naturalization applicants are required to demonstrate their proficiency in the English language by reading, writing and speaking. In addition, applicants have to take a civics test. On Oct. 1, 2008, the USCIS re-designed the citizenship questions and switched over to a new set of questions. If you had filed on or after October 1, 2008, you have to take the new test.

Previously, the citizenship test had many questions surrounding basic historical facts of the US. Many of these questions were re-designed and now it just requires more than just a one-word answer for you to prove your knowledge on the subject. Topics in the civics section were expanded and the questions re-designed. The new test was aimed at leading citizenship aspirants to a deeper and better understanding of US history and government.

During the interview, the immigration officer will speak to you in English and will ask you questions related to the citizenship application package you submitted. You have to just prove that you can understand what the interviewer is asking, and answer in simple English. You will be dictated three sentences and you should be able to write at least one sentence correctly and possibly more if the officer is not satisfied with your writing skills. Remember that there are no standard sentences and it is the interviewer’s discretion what to ask and will generally base his/her decision on your level of education and background.

Apart from English, your knowledge in US history and government will be tested. The interviewing officer does not expect you to have in depth knowledge. However, you should demonstrate that you understand the system of the US government, how it works, how and why the United States was founded and about the important events in US history. This test will be oral and the interviewer will ask ten questions from the given bunch of hundred questions. If you can answer at least six out of ten questions correctly, you will be considered to have passed the test.

There are free study materials and public libraries also have the resources/study materials to help you prepare for the test. If you have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment where that impairment is affecting your ability to learn English and Civics, you may be exempted from taking the test. You have to file Form N-648 requesting an exception and this form has to be filed along with the citizenship form, N-400. If you qualify for a waiver of the English proficiency requirement, you should be prepared to bring an interpreter with you for the interview.

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