Pathway to U.S. Citizenship
Be at least 18 years old at the time
of filing the Be a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United StatesAt the time of filing the application, have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least 5 years (or for at least 3 years if you meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a United States citizen) Have demonstrated continuous permanent residence Have demonstrated physical presenceHave lived within the State or USCIS District for at least 3 months prior to filingHave demonstrated good moral characterDemonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution Demonstrate an ability to read, write, speak, and understand basic English Demonstrate a basic knowledge of U.S. history, government, and civic principles Take an oath of allegiance to the United StatesReceive a Certificate of Naturalization
For an adult immigrant to become a U.S. citizen, he or she must go through the process of naturalization. GENERAL requirements for naturalization call for the immigrant to:
H Download Form N-400: www.uscis.gov/n-400
H USCIS Forms Line: 1 800 870 3676
H USCIS Customer Service: 1 800 375 5283
H Learn more about specific eligibility requirements for naturalization: www.uscis.gov/citizenship
The Naturalization Test
Overview of Requirements and
M-685 (rev. 03/12)
Prepare for the Naturalization Test
What should I expect at my naturalization elegibility interview?
Once you have completed and submitted your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and you have had your fingerprints taken at a USCIS facility, you will receive an appointment notice for an interview.
At your naturalization interview, you will be required to answer questions about your application and background. A USCIS Officer will test your ability to read, write, speak, and understand English (unless you are exempt from the English requirements). You will also be given a civics test in English to test your knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government.
You will be given two opportunities to take the English and civics tests and to answer all questions relating to your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, in English. If you fail any of the tests during your initial interview, you will be retested on the portion of the test that you failed (English or civics) between 60 and 90 days from the date of your initial interview.
Applicants who are age 65 or older and have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, are only required to study 20 of the 100 civics test questions for the naturalization test. These questions are flagged with an asterisk (*) in this brochure.
For information on exceptions or modifications to the English and civics requirements for naturalization, see “Exceptions and Accommodations” available at www.uscis.gov/citizenship.
Study Materials for the Naturalization Test
What study materials are available and how can I find English language, civics, and/or
The USCIS Office of Citizenship has developed a variety of study materials for the naturalization test. These materials include Civics Flash Cards, Vocabulary Flash Cards, Learn About the United States: Quick Civics Lessons, The USCIS Naturalization Interview and Test video, and translated versions of the 100 civics (history and government) questions and answers. All materials are available on the Citizenship Resource Center at www.uscis.gov/citizenship.
• Learn About the United States: Quick Civics Lessons with Audio CD
As you prepare for U.S. citizenship, this booklet will help you study for the civics and English portions of the naturalization test. Learn About the United States contains short lessons based on each of the 100 civics (history and government) questions and answers.
• Civics Flash Cards for the Naturalization Test
Another option to help you study is the Civics Flash Cards. With historical photos and informative captions, the Civics Flash Cards cover each of the 100 civics (history and government) questions and answers.
• Vocabulary Flash Cards for the Naturalization Test
These easy-to-use flash cards contain vocabulary words to help you study for the English reading and writing portions of the naturalization test.
• The USCIS Naturalization Interview and Test (DVD)
This 16-minute video provides an overview of the naturalization process including eligibility requirements, the application process, the naturalization interview, and the naturalization test. The video includes two simulated interviews between applicants and USCIS Officers.
Other Helpful USCIS Resources
USCIS offers a number of resources to help you find information on eligibility and testing requirements, the application process, and study materials. You can also learn more about citizenship rights and responsibilities and find a free information session in your area.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
The government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. Visit this website for information related to immigration.
Citizenship Resource Center
Provides learners, teachers, and organizations with a one-stop resource for locating citizenship preparation materials.
A Guide to Naturalization
Offers a comprehensive overview of the naturalization application and interview process.
Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
Use this form to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Naturalization Information Sessions
USCIS regularly holds free information sessions for the public on naturalization eligibility requirements, the naturalization process, and the naturalization test. Find a session in your area:
Components of the Naturalization
TestCivics TestOral TestReadingTestWritingTestIntegrated Civics American GovernmentReading VocabularyWriting VocabularyEnglish TestA: Principles of American Democracy• What is the supreme law of the land?• What does the Constitution do?• The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words? • What is an amendment?• What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?• What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?* • How many amendments does the Constitution have?• What did the Declaration of Independence do?• What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?• What is freedom of religion?• What is the economic system in the United States?*• What is the “rule of law”?B: System of Government• Name one branch or part of the government.*• What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?• Who is in charge of the executive branch?• Who makes federal laws?• What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?*• How many U.S. Senators are there?• We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years? • Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators now?* • The House of Representatives has how many voting members? • We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?• Name your U.S. Representative.• Who does a U.S. Senator represent?• Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?• We elect a President for how many years?• In what month do we vote for President?*• What is the name of the President of the United States now?*• What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?• If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?• If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?• Who is the Commander in Chief of the military?• Who signs bills to become laws?• Who vetoes bills?• What does the President’s Cabinet do? • What are two Cabinet-level positions? • What does the judicial branch do? • What is the highest court in the United States?• How many justices are on the Supreme Court?• Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?• Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?• Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states? • Who is the Governor of your state now?• What is the capital of your state?*• What are the two major political parties in the United States?*• What is the political party of the President now?• What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?C: Rights and Responsibilities• There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.• What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?*• Name one right only for United States citizens.• What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?• What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?• What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?• How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?*• What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?• When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?*• When must all men register for the Selective Service?A: Colonial Period and Independence• What is one reason colonists came to America?• Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?• What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?• Why did the colonists fight the British?• Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?• When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?• There were 13 original states. Name three.• What happened at the Constitutional Convention? • When was the Constitution written?• The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.• What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?• Who is the "Father of Our Country"?• Who was the first President?*B: 1800s• What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?• Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s. • Name the U.S. war between the North and the South. • Name one problem that led to the Civil War.• What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?*• What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?• What did Susan B. Anthony do?C: Recent American History and Other Important Historical Information• Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.*• Who was President during World War I?• Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II? • Who did the United States fight in World War II? • Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?• During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?• What movement tried to end racial discrimination?• What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?*• What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States?• Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.A: Geography• Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.• What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?• What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?• Name one U.S. territory.• Name one state that borders Canada. • Name one state that borders Mexico.• What is the capital of the United States?*• Where is the Statue of Liberty?*B: Symbols• Why does the flag have 13 stripes? • Why does the flag have 50 stars?*• What is the name of the national anthem?C: Holidays• When do we celebrate Independence Day?*• Name two national U.S. holidays.American HistoryIf you are 65 or older and have been a permanent resident of the United States for 20 or more years, you may study only the questions that have been marked with an asterisk.*SpeakingPEOPLE• Abraham Lincoln• George WashingtonCIVICS• American flag• Bill of Rights• capital• citizen• city• Congress• country• Father of Our Country• government• President• right• Senators• state/states• White HousePLACES• America• United States• U.S.HOLIDAYS• Presidents’ Day• Memorial Day• Flag Day• Independence Day• Labor Day• Columbus Day• ThanksgivingQUESTION WORDS• How• What• When• Where• Who• WhyVERBS• can• come• do/does• elects• have/has• is/are/was/be• lives/lived• meet• name• pay• vote• wantOTHER (FUNCTION)• a• for• here• in• of• on• the• to• weOTHER (CONTENT)• colors• dollar bill• first• largest• many• most• north• one• people• second• southPEOPLE • Adams• Lincoln• WashingtonCIVICS• American Indians• capital• citizens• Civil War• Congress• Father of Our Country• flag• free• freedom of speech• President• right• Senators• state/states• White HousePLACES• Alaska• California• Canada• Delaware• Mexico• New York City• United States• Washington• Washington, D.C.MONTHS• February• May• June• July• September• October• NovemberHOLIDAYS• Presidents’ Day• Memorial Day• Flag Day• Independence Day• Labor Day• Columbus Day• ThanksgivingVERBS• can• come• elect• have/has• is/was/be• lives/lived• meets• pay• vote• wantOTHER (FUNCTION)• and• during• for• here• in• of• on• the• to• weOTHER (CONTENT)• blue• dollar bill• fifty/50• first• largest• most• north• one• one hundred/ 100• people• red• second• south• taxes• whiteAn applicant will be asked up to 10 questions from the list below. Applicants must answer correctly at least six of the 10 questions to pass the civics test.Each writing test administered to an applicant contains no more than 3 sentences. Applicants must write 1 out of 3 sentences correctly in order to demonstrate an ability to write in English. To help applicants prepare, USCIS provides a writing vocabulary list containing all the words found in the English writing portion of the test. The content focuses on civics and history topics.An applicant’s ability to speak English will be determined by the USCIS Officer from the applicant’s answers to questions normally asked during the eligibility interview on Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Naturalization TestEach reading test administered to an applicant contains no more than 3 sentences. Applicants must read 1 out of 3 sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to read in English. To help applicants prepare, USCIS provides a reading vocabulary list containing all the words found in the English reading portion of the test. The content focuses on civics and history topics.