The U.S. citizenship exam is one of the last stages of the process of naturalization in the United States. Naturalization is when a foreign-born national renounces their allegiance to the country in which they are considered to be a citizen of and transforms their citizenship status to that of a U.S. citizen instead.
In general, the U.S. citizenship exam is typically administered after an applicant has filed their application for naturalization, scheduled and attended their interview with the immigration agents at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) agency, and submitted any final paperwork that fixed an error with or was missing from their original submission.
In most instances, the U.S. citizenship test will be given right before an applicant’s swearing-in ceremony wherein they will take an oath to renounce their country and become a U.S. citizen. As such, the results of this exam are extremely important in determining whether an applicant can move forward and complete the naturalization process. An applicant who fails will need to take it again if they ever want to obtain the status of a U.S. citizen.
Briefly, the U.S. citizenship exam tests a foreign-born national’s knowledge of the government and history of the United States, along with a few other topics. It is a two-part exam, consisting of the former civics test as well as a written language exam that tests an applicant’s proficiency in the English language. In certain situations, an applicant may be able to waive one or both portions of the U.S. citizenship exam.
To learn more about the requirements and how to prepare for the U.S. citizenship exam, you should visit the website for the USCIS and locate the section on the naturalization exam requirements. You can contact an immigration law attorney for further legal guidance as well. However, an attorney will not be allowed to help you prepare or study for the test.
On the other hand, an attorney can assist you with challenging erroneous test scores, issues with your application for naturalization, or any other problems that you encounter while you are applying to become a U.S. citizen. An attorney can also answer any standard questions or concerns you may have about renouncing your former country’s citizenship as well as your new obligations after obtaining U.S. citizenship status.
What Are Some Examples of Subjects Tested on the Citizenship Exam?
Depending on a foreign-born national’s circumstances, the U.S. citizenship exam may contain different portions or questions based on the individual who is taking the exam. In general, however, some common examples of questions or subjects that may be tested on the U.S. citizenship exam include the following:
- How many years does a U.S. president usually remain in office if they are only elected to serve one term?
- Who is the current President of the United States?
- How many stripes and/or stars are on the flag in the U.S.?
- What colors are displayed on the U.S. flag?
- What does freedom of religion mean?
- What are the jobs of the 3 branches of the U.S. federal government?
- Who were the Pilgrims?
- How many years do U.S. Senators serve?
- What is one promise that a person must make when they become a citizen of the United States?
- Who is the current governor of the state wherein the candidate resides?
- What are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States called?
- How many amendments does the U.S. Constitution contain?
- What was the Emancipation Proclamation?
- What are the 2 of some of the rights listed in the Declaration of Independence?
- Who is the current Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court?
- What was the name of the boat on which the Pilgrims sailed to get to the U.S.?
- Which countries did the U.S. military fight in World War II?
- What were the original 13 colonies? (note that this question will normally only ask an applicant to name a few of them, not all 13 colonies).
As may be evident from the questions provided in the above list, many of these inquiries would be common knowledge among citizens of the United States. However, some citizenship exam questions may be difficult enough to pose a problem for both a U.S. citizen and a foreign-born national who recently immigrated to the United States or who did not study the material for the civics portion of the test for a long enough period of time.
Thus, an applicant may want to consider hiring a tutor, consulting any and all resources listed on the website for the USCIS, and/or contacting a friend who is already a U.S. citizen and possesses in-depth knowledge about U.S. history and the government. If nothing else, a candidate should at least review the pamphlet offered on the website for the USCIS or another naturalization agency to prepare for their U.S. citizenship exam.
As previously mentioned, it may be possible for a naturalization candidate to be exempted from one or both portions of the U.S. citizenship test. For instance, if an applicant is 65 years of age or older and has resided in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least 20 years, then they may be able to claim an exception to taking the English language portion of the exam.
A naturalization candidate can absolutely request the assistance of an immigration law attorney to help them in determining whether or not they qualify for any of the exemptions provided for under the law.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with the U.S. Citizenship Examination?
It is not necessary to hire an immigration lawyer to help you prepare and study for the U.S. citizenship examination. In fact, it is actually against the rules for any type of lawyer to assist you in preparing or studying for this test. Therefore, if you are struggling with the material, you should ask a friend who is a U.S. citizen for extra support or you may need to hire a tutor for further assistance.
On the other hand, it may be necessary for you to hire an experienced immigration lawyer in your area if there is an issue with the results of your U.S. citizenship exam or if you receive a letter notifying you that you are ineligible to apply or sit for the test. Your lawyer will be able to review all of the paperwork that you submitted along with your application and can help you challenge any test results that you believe are mistaken or contain an error.
In addition, your lawyer will be able to provide the relevant legal services if you or a loved one needs help in acquiring U.S. citizenship. For example, your lawyer can provide legal representation in immigration court, can inform you of your legal rights under U.S. immigration laws based on your current status, and can answer any question you may have about becoming a U.S. citizen.
Finally, if you are asked to provide extra documentation or are required to attend a citizenship interview with the U.S. immigration authorities, your lawyer will be able to discuss which documents you might be missing, can assist you in gathering and submitting those documents, and may accompany you to your citizenship interview with the U.S. immigration authorities.