If you are an immigrant living in California, you may wish to apply for U.S. citizenship at some point. You receive many benefits from becoming a naturalized citizen, not the least of which is that you no longer need worry about your immigration status or if all your papers are up-to-date and otherwise in order. As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explain, however, in order to become an American citizen, you must successfully pass a naturalization test.
The first step you must take in your naturalization process is to interview with a USCIS officer. (S)he will ask you questions about your background and your naturalization application which you must answer truthfully. Under most circumstances this interview will be in English, so you need to have a basic command of the English language so as to be able to understand the questions and respond appropriately. Then you must take both an English test and a civics test. To prepare for these tests, you can attend naturalization classes and/or study the numerous study materials available.
The English test consists of the following three parts:
- Speaking test
- Reading test
- Writing test
The speaking test occurs during your citizenship eligibility interview. In the reading test, you must correctly read at least one out of three sentences. In the writing test, you must correctly write at least one out of three sentences.
The civics test consists of 10 multiple-choice questions about American democracy, our governmental system, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, American history and geography, national holidays, etc. For instance, one question may be something like the following:
What is the name of the current President of the United States?
A. Donald J. Trump
B. Donald Trump
You must answer six out of these ten questions correctly.
If you do not pass the test
If you fail any part of the test because you are nervous or because you need to improve your English skills, the USCIS gives you a second opportunity to succeed. You can retake whichever part(s) of the test you failed within 60-90 days after your first attempt.
This is general information only and not intended to provide legal advice.