In order to become a United States citizen, those who are qualified for naturalization (green card holders) must take a citizenship test. The exam tests an individual’s knowledge of U.S. history and government, as well as their command of English, one of the most commonly spoken languages in the United States. Sample questions may be in reference to former presidents, branches of government, and historical conflict.

The citizenship test is taken near the end of the naturalization process, after the applicant has submitted all documentation and has undergone background checks and  interviews.

How Can I Prepare for the Test?

Materials on test preparation can be found on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, along with practice exams. If possible, have a friend, preferably a U.S. citizen help you study, or you may hire a tutor. An experienced attorney will also be able to make sure you filed all of the necessary paperwork before you start studying. Studying for the exam may take a while, so you want to be sure that you are eligible to take the citizenship test before you begin.

In some instances, the exam may be waived by immigration authorities. To find out if you qualify for this exemption, contact an immigration attorney. However anyone who is caught attempting to cheat on the exam or engage in any sort of fraudulent activity face prison time and steep fines.

What If I Don’t Pass the Citizenship Test?

If you don’t succeed on the first test, you will have another opportunity to take the exam 60 to 90 days after the first test date. If you were to fail the second test, you may be required to re-apply for citizenship which means paying the fees again. Failing will not change your lawful permanent resident status, but you must ultimately pass the test to become a citizen.

If you feel the test was erroneous or was administered incorrectly, you may be able to contest your results. If this is your situation, speak with an attorney before proceeding further.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with the U.S. Citizenship Test?

The citizenship test can be difficult and due to its importance to those taking it, test preparation is imperative. While the process can be long and detailed, an immigration lawyer cannot help you study or prepare for the exam. However, if you experience a roadblock to taking the exam (like not filing a document on time) or received some notice about how you have become ineligible to take the exam, then an experienced immigration lawyer may be able to help.