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If you are thinking about becoming a citizen of the U.S., you may be a bit nervous about the English-language requirement and civics test. You also may worry about getting through the lengthy application and interview process. Luckily, there are ways to prepare for each of these.

With some effort, you can probably make your citizenship process go smoothly. If it does, you eventually will arrive at the final stage of the process: the oath of allegiance. Because this is a legally binding and solemn oath, you should think carefully before taking it.

The oath of allegiance

Every aspiring citizen must take an oath of allegiance to the U.S. before becoming a citizen. This tradition, which dates back to the 1700s, requires you to make certain affirmations.

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If you are an immigrant looking into potential waivers, the extreme hardship waiver might be one available. It is applicable to people who may claim extreme hardship from deportation.

This waiver, also called the 601 waiver, exists to delay deportation and resist banishment from the country for up to 10 years.

What is extreme hardship?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services discuss what extreme hardship is. Unfortunately, the definition itself is intentionally left quite vague which means there is a lot of room for interpretation in the immigration courts.

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It might take years of planning to help family members obtain U.S. citizenship. Many people may worry about what happens if the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies an application.

What happens next depends on the reason for the denial.

When applicants fail the citizenship test

The USCIS requires a test as one step in the citizenship process. When applicants fail the test, they can take it a second time within 60 to 90 days. If they fail the second test, their request gets denied.

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If you meet the eligibility requirements to become a U.S. citizen, you may be itching to get through the process. After all, applying for naturalization can be both stressful and expensive. To improve your chances of sailing through your naturalization interview, it is important to study for the civics exam.

Individuals who want to become U.S. citizens must have a general knowledge of American civics, history and government. To test this knowledge, officials with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services give naturalization applicants an oral examination. Regrettably, it is not uncommon for legal permanent residents to fail this exam.

How does the civics exam work?

According to the USCIS, it is entirely possible to prepare for the civics exam, as immigration officials publish the 100 possible questions they may ask you. You do not have to ready yourself to answer 100 separate questions, though. Indeed, the officer will only ask you 10 of them. Because you do not know which 10 to prepare for, however, you should try to learn the answers to all 100.

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The naturalization process can feel overwhelming as you steadily move closer to your interview and test. A lot hinges on whether you pass your test, so it makes sense that you may feel nervous about the whole event.

Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to prepare for your naturalization interview and test. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the interview and test involve answering an officer’s questions and taking a two-part exam.

Preparing for the interview

To prepare for the interview, study your application. The USCIS officer will have questions about your background and talk to you about your application. If you are nervous before the interview, ask a friend or family member to go over your application with you. Ask someone you trust to perform a mock interview to prepare you. When it comes to your interview, answer calmly and honestly.

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