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Individuals who apply for U.S. citizenship after October 1, 2008 are required to take a citizenship test during the citizenship interview, which is conducted in the English language (translators are not normally permitted). The immigration officers conducting the citizenship interviews are allowed to repeat and rephrase the test and the application questions until the officer is satisfied that the applicant either fully understands the question or does not understand English.
Naturalization (citizenship) applicants are required to read a sentence in English, write a sentence in English, and orally answer six to ten civics questions out of a possible 100. Citizenship applicants are allowed to study the list of English words and allowed to study the answers to the 100 questions.
To achieve a passing score on the civics test, applicants are required to answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly.
The citizenship test allows the applicant to demonstrate the ability to read English by reading one out of three English sentences. The officer shouldn’t fail the applicant because they have a strong accent when speaking English.
English Literacy – Reading Test
The English reading test guideline for the immigration officer is:
Pass: Applicant reads one sentence without extended pauses. Applicant can read all “content” words but may omit short words that do not interfere with the meaning of the sentence. Applicant may make a pronunciation error that doesn’t interfere with the meaning of the sentence.
Fail: Applicant cannot read the English sentence. Applicant omits a “content” word or substitutes another word for a “content” word. Applicant pauses for extended periods of time while reading the English sentence or makes pronunciation errors that interfere with the meaning of the English sentence.
English Literacy – Writing English Test
The applicant must write one sentence, but should not be failed because of spelling, capitalization or punctuation errors unless the errors would prevent understanding of the meaning of the English sentence.
The English writing test guideline for the immigration officer is:
Pass: The sentence written by the Applicant has the same general meaning as the dictated sentence. The written sentence may contain some grammatical, spelling, punctuation or capitalization errors if they don’t interfere with the meaning. Applicant may omit short words that don’t interfere with the meaning of the English sentence. Applicant may write numbers as spelled out in words or written as digits.
Fail: Applicant writes nothing or only one or two isolated words. Applicant writes sentence but it is completely illegible. Applicant writes a different sentence or words, or the written sentence does not communicate the meaning of the dictated sentence.
Applicants who fail the English Literacy test or the Civics test during their first examination will be rescheduled for a second opportunity to take the test without paying more government fees.