The Old and New Test for Citizenship
As a part of the citizenship process, the USCIS administers a test for citizenship to all eligible green card holders applying for citizenship. Earlier, the questions were selected from an available list of 100. On Oct. 1, 2008, the USCIS switched to a new set of test questions. Applicants filing for citizenship on or after October 1, 2008 have to take the new test. Applicants who filed before October 1, 2008 but were not interviewed until after October , 2008 (but before October 1, 2009), had an option of taking the either the new test or the old one.
The format of the re-designed test for citizenship is the same. Applicants should demonstrate their proficiency in English by reading, writing and speaking the given sentences. In addition to this, applicants are asked civics questions.
During your interview, the Immigration Examiner will speak to you in English. He/she will ask you questions that are on the N-400 that you submitted. You have to prove that you are able to understand what the Examiner is asking, and have to answer the questions in English.
You have to write at least one sentence in English correctly and possibly more if the Examiner has doubts about your ability to write in English. Note that there are no standard sentences. The Examiner will use his/her discretion in what to ask and will base their decision on your level of education and background.
The Civics Test for Citizenship
The old test for citizenship had many questions surrounding basic historical facts. Many of these questions were rewritten and now requires more than just a one-word answer to prove one’s knowledge on the subject. In the civics section, topics were expanded and the questions revised. The re-designed test was not to make it harder to become a citizen. It leads prospective citizens to a deeper and better understanding of U.S. history and government.
You will be tested on how well you understand the history and government of the U.S. The USCIS Examiner does not expect you to have in depth knowledge but you are expected to understand the system of government and how it works, how and why U.S. was founded, and important events in the history of the U.S. Your U.S. civics knowledge will be tested orally and the examiner will ask ten questions from the set of hundred 100 questions. You have to answer at least six out of ten questions correctly to be considered to have passed the civics section.
Studying for the Civics Test for Citizenship
The U.S. government publishes free study guides and public libraries might also have study materials. You can download these study guides and learn from them. You could also contact local community centers or universities for help. Many citizenship classes are conducted to help persons prepare for test for citizenship.
It is advisable not to wait until the test has been scheduled to start preparing for it. You should begin preparing for the test as soon as you decide that you want to apply for citizenship. This will give you ample time to prepare for the test. You could find material to help you with the citizenship test and interview well in advance and be thoroughly prepared when you appear for the test. Being prepared will boost your confidence and will make it easier for you to attend the interview.
Additional Information About the Citizenship Test
Applicants having a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that affects their ability to learn English and civics are eligible for an exception. In such cases, they have to file Form N-648 requesting an exception. This form should be filed along with the citizenship application.
Other applicants may be eligible for a waiver of the English test based on their age and duration of stay in the U.S. as permanent residents. Applicants granted a waiver from the English test should bring an interpreter to the interview. They will either be taking the regular civics test or a simpler version of the test based on the type of waiver they are granted.
The application most probably will be approved or denied within four months of the interview. If your application is denied because you failed the English and/or civics test, you will be able to take the test again, usually within 60-90 days of the interview. If you fail this test too, you will have to re-start the application process and pay the fees once again.
$680.00 is the submission fees for the citizenship application and this by no means is a small amount. So, its in your best interests to be well prepared for the test for citizenship. Take the time to study for the civics test, either with the help of guides, flash cards, citizenship test and interview DVDs or citizenship classes. And keep working on your English skills too.
Assuming your citizenship application is approved, the swearing-in ceremony will be held the same day or at a later date, depending on the procedure at your local USCIS office.