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History / Government Test for Naturalization

Foreign citizens or nationals become United States citizens through a process called naturalization.The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) delineates certain requirements that must be met before an individual may be naturalized as a citizen. These include, the applicant being 18 or older when filing for naturalization, being a legal permanent resident (or Green Card holder) for five years or more before filing for naturalization, demonstration of good moral character for at least five years prior to filing for naturalization etc. One of the most iconic components of being naturalized involves a series of written and oral questions relating to the history and principles of the United States government; the Citizenship test. The Citizenship test is composed of two sections; the English language test and the Civics test, such tests are not a multiple choice test.

The English language test is comprised of three phases (a reading, writing and oral constituent) focusing on important events in US history and founding principles of US government. During the speaking phase of the exam, a brief interview will be conducted by an officer of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the reading portion involves oral recitation of one of three sentences relating to some historical or political aspect of the US and the writing portion will require the correct lettering of a sentence which will, again, relate to a topic of historical or political import. The Civics test involves a maximum of ten questions relating to US government and history from a possible list of one hundred, out of which six must be answered correctly by the applicant. While this may seem daunting for anyone unfamiliar with US history or government, there are many preparatory questions and answers widely available free of charge online (through the USCIS website) or locally at any library.

When one feels he or she is ready to take the either Citizenship or dual citizenship test the process to do so is fairly simple. First, the applicant must complete and submit an N-400 form (Application for Naturalization), then the applicant must submit to fingerprinting at any USCIS facility after which he or she will be asked to arrange a time for an interview; at which time the Citizenship test will be administered. If the applicant is unsuccessful in passing the test, he or she may still make arrangements to take the same test again at a later date.

Some applicants may be exempt from the English language portion of the test and, in some instances, are allowed to take the Civics portion in their native languages. While the English language portion of the Citizenship test may be waived, the Civics component is mandatory for all applicants seeking to be naturalized.

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