Citizenship Tests

us-citizenship-testIf you are applying to become a citizen of the United States, you must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of both the English language and U.S. history and government. This is done through citizenship tests. However, test requirements can differ depending on who is taking the test.

The following is an overview of the tests that must be passed to become a U.S. citizen.

The English Language Exam

The English language exam has three components which are reading, writing, and speaking. You will be interviewed by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer who will ask you questions to assess your comprehension of the English language. You will be asked to read a short passage aloud, and then to write a sentence dictated to you by the officer. The USCIS website has study materials available to help applicants practice for the exam.

Exceptions to the English Requirement

There are two exceptions to the English requirement that involve age and allow you to do the interview in your native language, though you must provide your own interpreter.

You may be exempt:

  • If you are at least 50 years old, have a green card, and have lived in the U.S. for at least 20 years or more when you file for citizenship. (The 20 years do not need to have been continuous, though time outside the US during those 20 years must not exceed six months.)
  • If you are at 55 years of age or older, have a green card, and have lived in the U.S. for at least 15 years when you file for citizenship.

Exceptions are also made if you have a disability, mental or physical, that prevents you from learning English. Your disability must be documented by a doctor on form N-648.

The Civics Exam

The Civics test consists of ten questions, of which you must answer six correctly. The USCIS publishes a list of 100 potential questions, with their answers, from which you can study. The USCIS officer who interviews you will select ten of these that you will have to answer. It is best to prepare by studying the list and memorizing the answers.

Exceptions to the Civics Test  

Again, there are exceptions made for the elderly and disabled. If you are 65 or older, have a green card, and have lived in the U.S. for at least 20 years when you file for citizenship, you are eligible to take an easier version of the civics test. There are only 20 study questions, and you will be given ten of these, six of which you must correctly answer. You may take the test in your native tongue but must bring your own interpreter.

In the case of disabilities, the form N-648 can be filled out by a doctor to explain that you have a physical or mental disability which prevents you from learning the concepts of U.S. civics and government.

Philadelphia Citizenship Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Assist Immigrants with the U.S. Citizenship Process

If you are applying to become a U.S. citizen, you will want to have an experienced Philadelphia citizenship lawyer from Surin & Griffin, P.C. by your side throughout the process. We understand that the citizenship process can be stressful, and our compassionate attorneys will be there every step of the way to ensure a successful outcome. Call us today at 215-925-4435 or contact us online. From our offices in Philadelphia, we represent clients in the greater Philadelphia area, including those in Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia County.