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What happens if you fail the English or civics naturalization tests?

 Posted on May 01, 2022 in naturalization & citizenship

The naturalization and citizenship process consists of several parts, including English and civics tests. Unless you qualify for an exemption, you must pass both.

What happens, though, if you fail either? Do you get another chance to retake it, or do you lose the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen entirely?

The English and Civics test portions of the naturalization test

Unless an exemption applies to you, you must take and pass the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test. This test consists of two components:

  • The English Component: In this component, you must demonstrate your ability to speak, read and write basic English.
  • The Civics Component: Via this portion of the test, the USCIS will ask you important questions regarding American history and government, and expect you to answer most of them correctly.

Though intimidating, there are several resources you can use to prepare for both tests.

When you fail the test

If you do not pass either portion of the naturalization test, you are not out of luck. The USCIS states that it gives all applicants two opportunities to take and pass the test. If you fail either portion of the test on the day of your interview, you may reattempt the failed portion. You can do so between 60 and 90 days from the date of your initial naturalization interview. If you only fail one portion of the test, you only have to retake that portion.

It is important to note that if you applied for naturalization in 2008 or 2020 but failed one or both portions of the test on both attempts, you may be eligible for a re-exam. Regardless of when you took the test or plan to take the test, be sure to get the help and support you need to do well.

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