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How to Pass the US Citizenship Examination

Updated on January 21, 2010

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 Any immigrant who has been here for 2-5 years in good standing, no arrests, debt etc.,can apply to become a US Citizen. Assuming this to be the case, what, exactly is involved? How does one pass?

Below is a list of requirements for an immigrant with no criminal record or other outstanding issues:

  • Pay the application fee of around $650 or so to file the application.
  • Be able to converse in English at a 5th grade level
  • Not a member of a Nazi or Communist party
  • Never involved with illegal narcotics of any sort
  • If a man, and married, you only have one wife
  • Honest
  • There are no outstanding paperwork issues regarding birth and marriage certificates, outstanding warrants, traffic fines unpaid, arrests for anything, employed
  • If a woman, you have not been a prostitute

The US Citizenship exam is actually no longer than 15 minutes! INS provides you with a list of 100 questions with answers to study long before the exam. Your job is to study them until you know all answers to them in ANY ORDER, not sequential!  You also need to be able to speak and write in English. There is a list of words provided that you must be able to spell and write correctly to some extent.


During the exam, the INS agent will have a brief conversation with you about anything he wants to ask. Its purpose is simply to see if you understand the language and can respond in a normal manner. If you give the impression you do not understand, the exam can be terminated then. Once completed, the exam begins. He will ask a series of questions about your current status to see if things have changed. DO NOT LIE. INS prior to the exam updates all its findings on the interviewee, so if you have traffic fines not paid or paid, not been working, do not try to hide it. They will already know the answer! But, they want to see if you are truthful. Lying will only delay the exam further or end it. Finally, the agent will ask you 10 of the 100 questions randomly, you must answer five correct orally. The last question tests your ability to write. The agent will choose a question that you must write in English and answer in English with very few errors. If you respond in writing that is hard to read or understand, you fail.

That is it!  These tests do vary between locations in the country, but generally speaking, the immigrant must know some English orally and in writing. If you pass, you then wait about a month to go to the ceremony to be sworn in. You will also receive a diploma showing you are now a US Citizen.


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      Jessica Potter 

      7 years ago

      In case an applicant is unable to clear the citizenship test at the first chance,then he will be given two chances to take the English and Civics tests per application.

      They will be retested on that portion of the test in which they failed. This retest will be conducted between 60 and 90 days from the date of the applicant’s initial interview.The results of the test will be intimated through mail.


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