To become a U.S. citizen, foreign nationals must pass a U.S. citizenship test, which includes a “civics test.” You might wonder what happens if you do not pass the test. You get more than one chance to pass; however, you should study and be prepared.

What Can You Expect on the Civics Test?

The civics test is a part of the naturalization exam that ensures you have a basic understanding of U.S. government and history. The test involves an officer from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asking you a series of questions.

The questions asked during the civics test come from a list of published questions. Thus, it is possible to study for your civics test before your naturalization interview.

Special Considerations for Certain Test Takers

There are exceptions for some test takers who may be exempt from the English requirement, civics requirement, or both.

The following individuals are exempt from taking the English portion of the U.S. naturalization test:

  • People who are age 50 or older and have resided in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) for at least 20 years
  • People who are age 55 or older and have been an LPR in the U.S. for at least 15 years
  • People who are age 65 and older and have been in the U.S. for at least 20 years
  • People with medical disabilities (must file a Form N-648)

People with medical disabilities are the only individuals who may also be exempt from the civics test. However, people in the other mentioned categories may take the civics test in the language of their choice, and they may use an interpreter.

How Is the Civics Test Scored?

There are 100 possible questions on the list that you might be asked during the civics test. The immigration officer will ask you up to 10 questions, and you must get at least six correct. You may also provide alternative phrasing of the correct answer as listed on the USCIS possible questions document.

Failing to answer a question counts as an incorrect answer. If you fail to respond, you will fail that question.

What If You Fail the Civics Test?

The U.S. citizenship test has multiple parts – an English portion and a civics test. If you fail one part, you will only have to retake the test portion you failed.

You will be given another chance if you fail the civics test the first time. This second chance to pass the civics test is essential; you should study for it as much as possible.

If you fail the test on a second try, you can ask the USCIS for a hearing on your naturalization denial with a Form N-336. This form requires you to include a fee, or you can utilize a fee waiver. You will be given a third chance at the hearing to pass the civics or English test.

If you fail the third try, then your citizenship application will be denied, and you will have to reapply from the beginning.

If you feel you passed the tests, then you may request a hearing on the denial of citizenship. You can state that the original USCIS officer wrongly failed you. A different officer will give you the tests at that hearing.

Rescheduling and Retaking the Test

If you fail a portion of the U.S. citizenship test, you can retake it within 60 to 90 days of the date of your first interview. The USCIS will send you a notice to schedule your second interview, and at that time an officer will give you the test you failed previously.

If you need more time to study, you can request a postponement of the second interview once you receive your notice of scheduling from the USCIS. You should send your postponement request to the USCIS office that interviewed you. That address will be on your interview notice.

Suppose you don’t notify the USCIS that you need additional study time and don’t show up for your second test and interview. In that case, your citizenship will be denied unless you have a reasonable excuse for missing the interview.

If you are denied citizenship, then your status remains a U.S. lawful permanent resident. Don’t forget to renew your green card with a Form I-90 at necessary times.

Get Help with the U.S. Citizenship Test

The civics portion of the U.S. naturalization test can be complex. You should study to be prepared for it. If you do fail the first or second time, you can request a repeat test or challenge your denial. However, you shouldn’t challenge the denial alone. An immigration lawyer can help.

American Immigration Law Group has helped countless clients achieve their dreams of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. Call us today at 314-416-8000 or contact us online for a consultation.