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Applying for Citizenship:
The Naturalization Examination

The Bureau of Citizen and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) will review the application package and schedule an interview for the applicant. The examiner will ask the applicant questions about his/her application and will help the applicant file the petition for naturalization, the legal paper that is filed in the naturalization court. The applicant will need to pay a fee when filing the petition if he or she passes the naturalization examination.

The examiner asks the applicant some questions about the U.S. system of government and U.S. history to see if the applicant has basic knowledge of these subjects. The applicant does not have to be able to read or write English to pass this part of the examination.

The examiner also will test the applicant’s English reading and writing skills by giving a simple dictation test. The applicant also will be asked to sign his/her name in English. Two types of applicants do not have to take the English literacy examination. These are applicants who are:

  • Physically unable to read or write, or
  • 50 years old or more and have lived in the U.S. (as a permanent legal resident) for 20 years or more