Could You Pass the Naturalization Civics Test?

The civics exam required for citizenship has made headlines this week after Arizona became the first state in the nation to require students to pass this portion of the U.S. citizenship exam in order to graduate. This test is the same civics test that all immigrants must pass in order to become U.S. citizens. If signed into law, this legislation, called the American Civics Bill, will be implemented in the 2016-17 school year.

Beyond Arizona, 18 other states join a growing list of those proposing legislation of this kind. Many of these bipartisan bills are part of an effort by the national Civics Education Initiative, an affiliate of the Arizona-based Joe Foss Institute. Foss, who died in 2003, was a former South Dakota governor and Marine Corps pilot who founded the nonprofit institute with his wife in 2001 to teach students the value of American freedoms and public service.

The initiative formally launched in September 2014 with legislative efforts in seven states. Participants in this initiative are advocating for all 50 states to require their high school students pass the U.S. naturalization civics test by a target date of September 17, 2017, the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution’s signing.

If you think it seems odd that U.S. citizens should have to pass a test about their home country, you might reconsider after watching this video.

The civics exam is an oral test that comprises any 10 out of 100 questions about U.S. history, geography and government. An applicant must answer at least six questions correctly to pass this portion of the naturalization exam.

How well do you think you’d do? Try this quiz to find out.

What are the other components of the naturalization exam?

While USCIS reports that 91 percent of applicants pass the civics test on the first try, achieving naturalization also involves paperwork, fees and three other components of the exam: speaking, reading, and writing tests.

Luckily, USCIS provides study materials and other resources to help immigrants prepare for the speaking and civics tests, including booklets, flash cards and interactive practice exercises and quizzes, as well as audio and video resources.

And don’t forget about us. The New Americans Campaign is available to answer questions about the application process and fees. New Americans Campaign partners provide application support in many places across the U.S., and you can find other immigration legal support near you by clicking here. Contact us today!

Posted on January 16, 2015

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More