What Are The U.S. Citizenship Test Questions And Answers?

You become a U.S. citizen through birth, acquired citizenship, or naturalization. Before you being granted citizenship, you must pass the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) naturalization interview that includes a set of oral questions that test your knowledge of U.S. history and government.

How Many Questions Does The U.S. Citizenship Test Have?

After every ten years, the USCIS revises the naturalization interview questions. There are currently two versions, the 2008 version, and the 2020 version. 

Former President Donald Trump initiated the 2020 version.

However, under Joe Biden, the new government has passed a bill to discontinue the 2020 version from April 2021.

The 2008 version has 100 questions, and you must answer at least ten, selected randomly from the 100. The 2020 version has 128 civics questions, and you are required to answer 20 randomly selected questions.

How Many Questions Must I Answer Correctly To Pass?

To qualify for naturalization, you must get a score of at least 60 percent on the civics test. If you take the 2008 version, you have to pass six of the ten questions. If you take the 2020 version, you must answer 12 of the 20 correctly.

Read more | What Should I Expect From The U.S. Citizenship Test?

Am I Free To Choose Which Version Of The Test To Take?

No. The USCIS has guidelines on which version your questions will be sourced depending on your naturalization application and the interview day. For now, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCCIS) officer may choose any of the two versions of the test for an eligible applicant. However, after April 19, 2021, the USCIS will only offer the 2008 civic test.

The Difference Between The 2008 And The 2020 Versions Of The Test

There is a difference between these two versions. Here’s all you need to know:

  • The 2008 version has 100 sets of questions, while the 2020 version has 128 civics questions.
  • The USCIS officer will ask you ten questions for the 2008 version, while for the 2020 version, you will be asked 20 questions.
  • For the 2020 version, you must pass 6 out of 10 questions, while the 2020 version requires you to answer 12 questions correctly out of 20 queries.
  • The 2020 version has reworded civics questions and answers besides adding more than 20 new questions.

Is The Naturalization Test A Multiple Choice Test?

No. The USCIS officer will ask you random questions from the test, and you will be required to answer. You will not have answers to choose from; instead, you have to recall the answers outlined in the USCIS answer sheet.

Read more | All You Need To Know About Naturalization

Can I Take The Civics Test In The Language Of My Choice?

USCIS officers will administer the oral test in English. Therefore, you will be required to answer the questions in English. However, there are exceptions if you are 65 years and above and have lived in the U.S. for 20 years as a lawful resident. In that case, you are allowed to bring an interpreter and respond to the test questions in your native language. The interpreter must be fluent in both English and your native language.

Are There Special Considerations In Answering The Test Questions?

Yes. The USCIS provides for a special consideration known as the 65/20 special consideration. If you are 65 years and above and have lived in lawful status for 20 years in the U.S., you need only to answer questions from a specific set of 20 questions.

The 20 questions are marked with an asterisk (*) at the end of the sentence, as seen on the civic test page of the USCIS website.

If you are an immigrant living with a disability that prevents you from taking this oral test, the USCIS provides an exception. However, you must file form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. 

You must submit this form together with your N-400, Application for Naturalization form. The medical certification must have been filled six months before your naturalization application. 

The disabilities that warrant your exception from the civic test include:

  • Physical impairment
  • Mental incapacity
  • Developmental disability.

Categories Of The Test Questions

Yes, they are. You will answer questions selected from three categories, namely:

  • American government
  • American history
  • American symbols and holidays

Questions To Expect Under The American Government Category In The Naturalization Test

You will tackle questions regarding the forms of government in the United States. These questions are divided into different topics, as shown below. 

  • Principles of American government
  • System of government
  • Rights and responsibilities of an American citizen

In this category, you will be asked about the American Executive, Congress, and fundamental human rights. These include questions about:

  • The American Constitution
  • The declaration of independence
  • The bill of rights
  • American economic system
  • The rule of law
  • Documents that influenced the American Constitution
  • Branches of government
  • Lawmaking in the United States
  • Powers of the American President
  • The Cabinet of the United States
  • The Electoral college
  • Federal courts and federal judges
  • Separation of power between the state and federal governments
  • Promises that new citizens make in the Oath of Allegiance
  • How you become a U.S. citizen
  • How citizens serve their country
  • What is the Selective Service?

What Questions Can I Expect Under The American History?

Under American History, you will find questions about the colonial period, the 1800s, and recent American history.

These include questions covering the following topics.

  • Initial inhabitants of America
  • Tribes of Native Americans
  • Why British colonialists came to America
  • The American Revolution
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • America’s original states
  • Events leading to the American Revolution
  • Essential names in American history
  • US Civil War
  • American history on voting rights for men and women 
  • American history on slaves and Abraham Lincolns involvement in Emancipation Proclamation
  • American wars with Vietnam, Mexico, Korea, Iraq, and World War I and II
  • Cold war
  • History of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • September 11 terrorist Attack
  • Examples of American innovations

What To Expect In The Questions About United States Symbols and Holidays

  • Capital of the United States
  • The Flag of the United States
  • The Statue of Liberty
  • The United States national anthem
  • The Nation’s First Motto- ‘E Pluribus Unum’
  • National holidays in the United States
  • Memorial day 
  • Veterans day

What U.S. Territories Do Not Elect A Senator According To The U.S. Naturalization Test?

One of the questions in the U.S. Citizenship Test is the name of your senator. If you live in the District of Columbia (D.C.) or one of the five unincorporated U.S. territories, your answer should highlight that you don’t have an elected senator. The same applies to the position of a House Representative. 

The following territories fall under the jurisdiction of the United States but are not represented in Congress. They are:

  • Puerto Rico
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa

What Happens If I Fail The Test?

If you fail the get the 60 percent required to pass the U.S. citizenship questions, you will wait for 60 – 90 days to retake the test. If you fail the test for a second time, your application for United States Citizenship will be rejected.

Things To Consider When Studying For Naturalization Test

You only have two chances to answer the United States Citizenship questions. To ensure you have the best options of passing and are well prepared, consider the following:

  • Some answers vary depending on your location in the United States
  • Elections and political appointments will influence your answers, especially on the American government questions
  • Always refer to the updated list of USCIS websites to verify your answer
  • Stick to the answers provided by the USCIS even if there are other possible answers

What Will Happen If I Miss The Test?

The USCIS does not tolerate missed interviews and will consider your missed appointment a failed attempt. Your citizenship application will be rejected.

To avoid this, notify the USCIS in advance that you won’t attend the test and indicate your reason for missing. The officer assigned to your case will decide if your reason is valid. If valid, the USCIS officer will schedule another test within the next 30 days.

Remember, if you do not notify the USCIS within one year after the missed test, your application will be closed. 

Study Materials For The U.S. Citizenship Test

The USCIS provides several free tools to help you in preparing for the civics test. You can access these materials from the USCIS website. These include:

  • Civics test practices mobile app.
  • Citizenship resource centre
  • N-400 early filling calculator
  • Naturalization eligibility tool
  • Civics questions and answers, flashcards, and pocket guides 

Understanding Accommodation Request In The Naturalization Test

If you have a disability or condition that would negatively impact your success in the naturalization test, you are allowed to request the accommodation from the USCIS. You can either notify the USCIS when filling the N-400 form, call the Contact Centre, or inform your field office.

The following disabilities warrant an accommodation request:

  • Hearing impairment
  • Blindness
  • Confinement to a wheelchair

The USCIS may do the following to allow you to enjoy the same benefits accorded to other applicants for naturalization: 

  • Provide an interpteter 
  • Come to you for the test instead of you going to the USCIS offices

If USCIS cannot give you accommodation on the set test date, they should reschedule and notify you.

What Questions Were Added In The 2020 U.S. Citizenship Test Version?

The former President of the U.S. passed a law that introduced twenty-eight additional questions in the U.S. Citizenship test. Some of the questions in the 2008 version were also rephrased.

If you answered six of the first questions correctly in the previous version, the interviewer would not proceed to the next questions. In the 2020 version, the interviewer must ask all 20 questions regardless of your performance.

Here are some of the questions added in the new version.

  • State the supreme law of the land
  • How many amendments does the U.S. constitution have?
  • What is the rule of law?
  • Name one power of the U.S. Congress
  • How many U.S. Senators are there?
  • Who is one of your state senators now?
  • How many members in the House of Representatives can vote?
  • Name your U.S. Representative?
  • State the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives?
  • Some states have more representatives than others. Why?
  • How many years does the President of the United States get elected to serve?
  • If the President is incapable of serving, who becomes President?
  • State the name of the President of the United States now?
  • Who vetoes bills?
  • State the highest court in the United States?
  • Give the name of the Chief Justice of the United States now?
  • State one power that is only for the federal government?
  • State one power that is only for the states?
  • Give the name of the governor of your state now?
  • What is the Capital of your State?
  • What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?
  • What group of people was taken and sold as slaves?

To sum up, it is always advisable to study these questions in advance and understand the correct answers prior to attending the naturalization interview (read more about how to prepare for the interview). When you study for the test beforehand, the answers begin to stick to your memory and you’ll have a much easier time responding to the USCIS officer during the interview. Remember, if you ever need help with matters concerning immigration, it is always a great idea to seek legal advice.

Read more | Benefits Of Becoming A Naturalized U.S. Citizen