Naturalization is the legal process to grant U.S. citizenship to a lawful permanent resident (LPR) after fulfilling the requirements set by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It may be done automatically by statute, which means an individual may not necessarily make a serious effort or it may require an application to get approval from legal authorities. Sometimes, it may take years to navigate and comply with the U.S. immigration system.
Qualification Criteria for Naturalization:
- Lawful permanent resident for at least the last five years and fulfill all other eligibility requirements.
- Married to a U.S. citizen and living in the U.S. for at least three years as a lawful permanent resident.
- Serving in the U.S. armed forces and fulfilling all other eligibility requirements.
- Child of a U.S. citizen who is currently residing outside of the U.S. and fulfills all other eligibility requirements.
USCIS Naturalization Process:
- Once your naturalization application (Form N-400) is submitted, USCIS will send you a notice for a biometric appointment.
- After the biometric appointment, USCIS will schedule a naturalization interview, including a naturalization test as well.
- When you successfully completed the interview, USCIS will send you a decision on the naturalization application.
- In case of acceptance of the naturalization application, you will get a notice about the oath of allegiance.
- On a specific date and time, you will take an oath of allegiance and become U.S. naturalized citizen.
- While in case of rejection or denial, you may have the right to appeal against the decision.
USCIS Naturalization Exam:
It is the second stage of your naturalization interview in which the USCIS designated officer will conduct your naturalization exam consisting of two components; the English Test and the Civics test. The detail of the naturalization exam is given as below;
- English Test is conducted to check the English language proficiency of the applicant through reading, writing, and speaking assessments.
- For reading assessment: USCIS designated officer will give you a written sentence and ask you to read it aloud.
- For writing assessment: The officer will read a sentence aloud and ask you to write it correctly.
- For speaking assessment: The officer will not conduct a separate test to evaluate your speaking ability, he/she will judge you while answering the questions regarding the naturalization application form and background check.
Note: It is compulsory for all the applicants to pass the English test except for a few waivers explained below. It is commonly observed that non-native English speakers feel anxiety and stress to get it through successfully.
A civics test is administered orally to test the applicants’ knowledge about U.S. history and Government that requires 60% scores to pass the exam. The number of possible questions and minimum requirement to pass the exam is summarized as below;
|Category of Applicants||Number of possible questions to prepare||Number of questions asked by USCIS officer||
|Applicant filed after December 1st, 2020||128 questions||Officer will randomly ask 20 questions from the list||12 answers must be correct to pass|
|Applicant filed before December 1st, 2020||100 questions||Officer will randomly ask 10 questions from the list||6 answers must be correct to pass|
|65 years old applicant and lawful permanent resident of at least 20 years||
|Officer will randomly ask 10 questions from the list||6 answers must be correct to pass|
|Note: The USCIS officer may stop the test when the applicant correctly answers the minimum number of questions required to pass the test.|
Type of Questions:
For the naturalization exam, you must prepare yourself well before time and present confidently and professionally in front of USCIS officers. The USCIS officer may ask the following questions;
For English Test
- Questions about yourself, physical attributes, background, family, future plan, etc.
- Questions about immigration, travel experience, and residency.
- Questions about your education, employment status, and reason to get U.S. citizenship.
- It includes questions about U.S. history, current Government such as;
- Who is the color of the U.S. Flag?
- Who is the Vice President of the United States?
- What type of Government Structure is followed in the United States?
- What rights do U.S. citizens have?
Note: An applicant has two chances to pass the exam; initial examination and re-examination. If an applicant couldn’t pass the naturalization exam in both attempts, USCIS will deny your application, still, you have a chance to request for hearing on the denial.
Exemptions/Accommodations/Waivers for English and Civics Test
|Exceptions [INA 312(b)]||
|If an applicant is 50 years old or above and residing in the United States as an LPR for at least 20 years (at the time of filing naturalization application).||
Still necessary to attempt civics tests in their native language or any language of their own choice using an interpreter.
|If an applicant is 55 years old or above and residing in the United States as an LPR for at least 15 years (at the time of filing naturalization application).||
|If an applicant is 65 years old or above and residing in the United States as an LPR for at least 20 years (at the time of filing naturalization application).||
|Still necessary to attempt a civics test, but the officer will take a specially designed test in their native language or any language of their own choice using an interpreter.|
|Medially disable applicants||Maybe exempted from one or both (english and civics)|
Resources to prepare Naturalization Exam
|· USCIS N400 Interview Questions
· USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools
· Free US Citizenship Test 2018
· US Citizenship Test 2018 (audio)
|· USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools
· US Citizen Test 2018 USCIS
· US Citizenship Test 2018 (audio)
Websites or links
|· 100 Civics Question and Answers with MP3 Audio (English Version) USCIS website:(https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/find-study-materials-and-resources/study-for-the-test/100-civics-questions-and-answers-with-mp3-audio-english-version)
|· Public libraries and communal colleges|
Naturalization Exam results
After your naturalization exam, you will receive a result which could be any of these – “granted,” “continued,” or “denied.”.
Continued Citizenship Application
Reason: It means your case is put on hold due to weak or poor performance in the test or incomplete documents.
Solution: If you fail the naturalization exam test, your exam will be rescheduled within 90 days.
Denied Citizenship Application: You will be sent a written letter to inform the denial of the naturalization application.
Reason: Your application may be denied due to failure in medical examination, poor performance in interview/exam, incomplete or misleading information provided in the application.
Solution: In this case, you have an option to appeal in court or to apply again.
Granted Citizenship Application: When you have successfully attempted the test, you will be eligible to take the Oath of Allegiance that could take place immediately or in a naturalization ceremony later on. Now you officially become a citizen of the United States.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalization retrieved on March 11, 2022.
- https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/questions-and-answers/100q.pdf retrieved on March 11, 2022.
- https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/civics-practice-test-2008 retrieved on March 11, 2022.
- https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-12-part-e-chapter-2#S-E retrieved on March 11, 2022.
- https://www.boundless.com/immigration-resources/citizenship-test-questions-and-answers/ retrieved on March 11, 2022.
- https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/the-naturalization-interview-and-test retrieved on March 11, 2022.
- https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/10-steps-to-naturalization retrieved on March 11, 2022.