Do I Have To Be Fluent In English?

You do not have to be perfectly fluent in English to become a U.S. citizen. You do, however, have to show USCIS that you can read, speak, and write basic English. You'll do this when you are interviewed by USCIS concerning your application. You'll have to read a short sentence written in English to a USCIS officer. Additionally, you'll have to write a sentence that the USCIS officer will read aloud to you. Your spelling does not need to be perfect, but the meaning of what you write must be discernible when read in the context of the sentence. Some applicants don't have to satisfy the English requirement, that is, they are exempt from showing they can read, speak, and write English. You don't have to take the English test if you're:

  • 50 years old or older and you've lived in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for at least 20 years; or
  • 55 years old or older and you've lived in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for at least 15 years.

How Do I Show That I Am Attached To The Principles Of The Constitution Of The United States?

You will also need to have a basic understanding of United States history and the form of the U.S. government (civics). For this test, USCIS utilizes a list of 100 questions on U.S. history and government and the questions you'll be asked come directly from this list. The USCIS officer will ask you several questions, but no more than 10, such as:

  • What is the supreme law of the land? (The Constitution).
  • The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words? (We the People).
  • How many amendments does the Constitution have? (27).
  • What are the three branches of government? (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial).
  • Who is in charge of the Executive branch? (The President).

To pass the test, you need to answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly. The questions used and their answers can be found on the USCIS website, www.uscis.gov. The history and civics test will be conducted in the English language and it is generally required even if you are exempt from the English language requirements. Generally, you have to take the history and civics test even if you are not required to take the English test. However, there are special benefits available to long term permanent residents and Senior citizens:

  • If you are 50 years old or older and you've lived in the U.S. as lawful permanent resident for at least 20 years, you can take the civics and history test in your native language;
  • If you are 55 years old or older and you've lived in the U.S. as lawful permanent resident for at least 15 years, you can take the test in your native language; or
  • If you are 65 years old or older and you've lived in the U.S. as lawful permanent resident at least 20 years, you don't have to study all 100 questions. Rather, there is a shortened list of 25 questions (taken by from the list of 100) that you need to be able to answer.

What If I Don’t Pass One Or Both Tests?

If you don’t pass either the English or History and Civics test on your first try, USCIS will reschedule you for another interview to give you a second opportunity to pass the portion(s) that you failed the first time. The second interview must be scheduled no earlier than 60 days but no more than 120 days from your initial interview.