If you wish to become a US citizen through the naturalization process, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. Additionally, the N-400 form—Application for Naturalization—will test your knowledge in two areas: English and Civics. This exam is a very important part of the naturalization process and the applicant must have a passing grade. If you fail either portion of the test, you will be granted a second opportunity. If you don’t pass the second time, you will not be naturalized.
Your English language skills will be assessed. While you need not be fluent in English, you do need to have a certain level of proficiency in reading, writing and speaking basic English. Immigration authorities want to ensure that the applicant is fluent enough to participate in society.
For the reading portion of the exam, the immigrant will be asked to read aloud some parts of the naturalization application. The applicant will demonstrate his writing ability with one or two sentences. His speaking skills will be assessed with responses to questions about himself.
While you don’t need to be an expert in government, you must know about U.S. history and have a general understanding of how the government works. The previous Civics test had a total of 10 questions, six of which had to be answered correctly. Today, you will answer 20 questions out of 128 possible questions, 12 of which must be correctly answered. There are many resources out there to help applicants prepare to pass the exams. However, the USCIS has online study materials to will sufficiently help applicants prepare.
Exceptions to the Rules
The Civics test does allow for certain exemptions, if necessary. Non-citizens who are at least 65 years old and have been in the US for at least 20 years may qualify for an exemption. Medical conditions that impair one’s ability to learn may excuse an applicant from the test. These situations will be decided upon on a case-by-case basis.