The Interview: Civics and English Test
The most intimidating part of the U.S. citizenship interview for most applicants is the test. While some applicants are exempt from the test portion of the interview, most must successfully pass a civics and English language test.
The civics test will gauge your understanding of American government and U.S. history. The test will be conducted orally in English by the immigration officer. There are 100 possible test questions. The officer will ask you ten. You must answer six correctly to pass the test. All of these test questions are available online. You should study the questions and know the answers to all of them prior to your interview.
Your English proficiency will be tested in the following three ways:
- Reading You must read aloud one sentence out of a list of three sentences. When reading, you must convince the immigration officer that you understand what the sentence means.
- Writing You must write one sentence out of three given to you by the immigration officer.
- Speaking You must be able to sufficiently answer the questions from the entire citizenship interview to show that you are proficient in spoken English.
As mentioned, some applicants are exempt from these testing requirements. To determine whether you are required to take these tests as part of your citizenship process, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
After the U.S. Citizenship Interview
After completing the interview, you will receive a decision from the USCIS on your application. The length of time for final approval of your application will depend on the processing time at your local USCIS office.
Once your application is approved, you will be required to attend a swearing-in ceremony. These events are oftentimes special occasions, and you should make every effort to attend. You will then be given a certificate of naturalization and will be eligible to apply for a U.S. passport, register to vote, and take advantage of any other benefit of being an American citizen.