For work, family or any other number of reasons, people born outside the U.S. may seek to become citizens. In order to gain citizenship, however, citizenship applicants must pass a naturalization test. 

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the naturalization test is comprised of a civics portion and an English portion. The civics portion is meant to ensure applicants have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the United States’ history, the form of government and principles. Applicants are asked 10 questions, of which they must answer six correctly in order to pass. 

The English portion of the naturalization test includes reading, writing and speaking components. For the reading portion, applicants are asked to read a sentence. In order to pass, applicants must read the sentence without omitting words or substituting content words for other words, without extended pauses, and without making intonation or pronunciation errors that make the sentence unintelligible to the administrating officer or affect the conveyance of the sentence’s meaning. 

During the writing portion, applicants are asked to write a sentence. To pass, their samples must convey the meaning of the sentence to the administrating officer. They are permitted to make some spelling, grammatical and capitalization errors that do not interfere with the sentence’s meaning, omit some short words that do not affect the meaning of the sample, and spell out or write numbers as digits. 

To test the applicant’s ability to speak and understand English, the administering officers ask applicants questions relating to their eligibility and applications. Passing this component of the English portion of the test requires applicants to generally understand and provide meaningful responses to the questions asked of them. 

According to USCIS, citizenship applicants who fail any portion of the naturalization test during their initial interview will be given a second opportunity to pass. The retest may take place between 60 and 90 days of when the initial interview was conducted.