Naturalization is the process that makes you a citizen of the United States of America. The naturalization test, or citizenship test, is an interview. You will be questioned by a Citizenship and Immigration Services officer. The interview is an important step in becoming a US citizen. Find out about the naturalization test and how to prepare for the interview.
The naturalization test is one of several steps in the process to become a US citizen. By the time you attend your interview, you will have:
- checked that you are eligible to apply for citizenship
- sent in your application form (the N-400) to apply for citizenship
- completed a biometrics appointment and background check
Before your naturalization test
When all your paperwork is complete, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send an appointment notice. The notice will tell you the date and time of your interview.
The interview is the last step to becoming a citizen. Once you pass your naturalization test, you will be able to become a US citizen.
Getting ready for your naturalization test interview
The best thing you can do to succeed at your naturalization interview is: be prepared!
Being prepared means making sure your English reading, speaking and writing skills are good enough. It also means being ready for the Civics test. Make sure you understand all the questions you will be asked during your interview.
If you are not ready, you can sign up for our free online classes to prepare you for the naturalization test.
Things to bring with you
Being prepared also means having everything you need to take to your interview.
You must bring the following items with you:
- Your appointment notice
- Your Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Card (green card)
- Your driver’s license or state-issued identification card
- All current and expired passports or travel documents
You may also want to bring:
- A copy of your N-400 application form for your own reference
- A list of the 100 questions that the officer will pick 10 questions from (remember that some of the answers, such as the name of the president, will change. This list will tell you where to find the current names).
You are allowed to bring your lawyer if you have one.
Your appointment notice will tell you if you need to bring other documents, such as marriage or divorce certificates, tax documents, or documents to do with your spouse or children.
What will happen at your naturalization test
If you know what will happen during your interview, you can prepare. And if you are prepared, you will not need to feel nervous! This is what you need to know:
Arriving for the interview
Make sure to know exactly where you are going so you don’t get lost and arrive late. You might want to travel to the building on a day before your appointment so you know exactly where the office is and how to get there.
It is good to arrive half an hour early for your appointment. You will need time to go through a security checkpoint and find the right office and the waiting area. Also, if you are there a little early, you will feel less rushed and nervous.
You may have to wait for a while until it is your turn. You can use the time to look over your form or test questions. The USCIS officer will come out and call your name when it is your turn. You will go to a private office. Before you sit down, the officer will ask you to raise your right hand and promise to tell the truth.
Testing your English speaking skills
During the interview, the officer is making sure your information is true and correct. He or she will ask lots of questions about the information on your application (Form N-400). At the same time, he or she is testing your English language skills.
Some older individuals and some people with health problems or mental disabilities may qualify for an exception to the English language requirement.
Background questions and signing forms
The officer will ask questions about your background. He or she may ask questions that were not on the application form. Be prepared for the questions you may be asked.
When the questions are finished, you will need to sign a few documents, including your application and your photographs.
Civics test, reading and writing skills
Most people will also have to take a test on US civics, history and government. This part of the interview may be with the same officer, or it may be with a different person. It could come first or at the end.
During this exam, you must answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly about US civics. The questions and answers are spoken. There will be a short written part to the test to test your writing skills. The officer will tell you a sentence to write down. You will also be asked to read a sentence. Again, you can prepare for all the questions you will be asked during your interview.
A few people do not have to take this test. There are some exceptions for older people or people with health issues or disabilities.
Watch a video about the USCIS naturalization interview
You can download the Guide to Naturalization mentioned in the video. Use this guide as you go through the process. Most of the questions you have will be answered in the guide.
Tips and suggestions for your naturalization test
- From the time the officer greets you, he or she is testing your English skills. Be sure to speak carefully and clearly.
- Always tell the truth and do not hold back any information. The officer may have information about you from another source. If you do not know an answer or cannot remember, it is okay to say so. It is also okay to tell the officer if you do not understand something.
- If you do not speak English, try to find time to go to English classes in your community. Many local colleges, libraries and community centers offer free classes. You can look in FindHello for English classes near you. Or you can find online classes here.
- Take a US citizenship course to help you pass your test. If you would like to go to a class in your community, you can search for places here – many of the classes listed in our Resources section are free. Or you can take our free online Citizenship class. You can sign up here and begin whenever you are ready!
Good luck with your interview!
Remember: Be eligible, be prepared, and be truthful.
The information on this page comes from USCIS and other trusted sources. It is intended for guidance and is updated as often as possible. USAHello does not give legal advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal advice. If you are looking for a free or low-cost lawyer or legal help, we can help you find free and low-cost legal services.