U.S. Law Center

What is the US naturalization test?

The process of becoming a citizen of the United States includes a naturalization test for immigrants in California. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, this test has two major components: the English portion and a civics test. The purpose of this test is to demonstrate that you have a basic understanding of the country's language and history.

The English portion tests your ability to understand, write and speak the language adequately. A government official asks you questions related to your naturalization application, and you should be able to answer with a reasonable command of the language. You may make minor grammatical and pronunciation errors, but your speech should be understandable. For the written part, you must write out a sentence that an officer dictates to you aloud. The reading portion tests your ability to read at least one out of three sentences. You may pass this part even if you make some minor errors in pronunciation or omit small words, as long as the meaning of the sentence remains the same. The civics portion of the test includes basic questions about the country's history. You must be able to answer six questions correctly.

The U.S. government allows for some exceptions to the naturalization test. If you are over the age of 50 and have been a legal permanent resident of the U.S. for at least 20 years, you may be exempt from the English portion, but you likely still have to take the civics portion. However, if you must take the test, it is important to study adequately. Officials may deny your application for citizenship if you fail the test two times.

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