How to pass a US citizenship test - ForumDaily
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How to pass a test for US citizenship

Фото: Depositphotos

The entire process of obtaining citizenship or naturalization can be divided into four stages: collecting documents, submitting fingerprints, interviews and then, finally, taking the oath. When the first two have already been completed and you have an invitation to appear at the migration office on a specific date, you can begin to prepare for the citizenship test. ForumDaily figured out in detail what the exam consists of and how it goes, and also collected advice from Ukrainians and Russians who have already passed it.

“I was preparing for the test for two evenings”

Lyudmila Grishchenko became a US citizen quite recently - she took the oath of office in February, and the interview took place a month earlier. The girl came from Kyiv after her third year at the institute under the Work and Travel program. In the states, she met her future husband, an American of Ukrainian origin, and after three years of marriage received the right to apply for citizenship. She says she did everything herself.

“A lawyer is absolutely not needed for this procedure. I just went to the USCIS website, read all the instructions carefully and started collecting documents,” she says. When the documents were accepted and she was fingerprinted, she was given an interview date and given a free booklet with questions for the test. Lyudmila had a whole month ahead to prepare for it.

The citizenship test consists of two parts: English, as well as knowledge of the history and political structure of the United States. During the first (English test) the ability of the applicant to read, write, speak and understand English is checked.

“The officer determines your language level by how you speak overall during the interview. I said that I was from Ukraine, and we first discussed our country. It turned out that the officer lived for some time in Lvov. He also asked me to write a sentence in English on a piece of paper,” recalls Lyudmila.

Even with an initial level of language, you can cope with tasks, especially approximate topics, necessary vocabulary and exercises is on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Online study guides, brochures, CDs, and even a phone app—there are so many free ways to prepare for the test.

Second part - this is a test of knowledge of US history (Civics test). Total questions for the preparation of 100, in the test only 10 of them. “You need to answer six correctly. I gave six correct answers in a row, and they didn’t ask me any more,” says Lyudmila. She says that the questions are easy and she studied them two evenings before the interview.

“For example, what do the stars and stripes on the flag mean, how many judges are there on the Supreme Court? In my opinion, it's easy. American acquaintances said that they could not answer half of the questions, but it was enough for me to just re-read them. I also installed an application on my phone so that I could train,” continues Lyudmila.

X-Day for Russian woman Alena Kostenko and her parents is April 12. It was on this day, at 7.30, that they had an interview scheduled. The girl, originally from the Stavropol Territory, came to America under a family reunification program and has lived in Washington state for more than 10 years. “We are running out of green cards, and we decided that we can’t delay citizenship any longer.” They all prepare for the test together:

“I have already started preparing, but the questions there are very easy, especially if you have already lived in this country. They may ask who is the current president or vice president, for example. I just read the questions after work and try to memorize them, and then my parents and I give each other an exam,” says Alena.

The Kostenko family lives in the small town of Vala-Vala, and for the interview they will go to the neighboring one - three hours away. The road is the only thing that worries Alena. She says she is not worried about the test itself. Friends and relatives who had already received citizenship reassured her: everything would be easy, and the officers were usually very friendly.

91% of applicants passed the test in 2015 - USCIS

Ukrainian Victoria Kleizor from Virginia completely agrees with the previous speaker - there is absolutely nothing to worry about. “If you survived the collection of documents, then nothing is scary,” the girl is sure. She is originally from Lutsk and has been living in the states for 11 years - she studied here, got married, and found a job in marketing. And only last year I decided to apply for citizenship.

“Generally known questions, just some that needed clarification - for example, knowing who your state senator or congressman is. But in general, these questions will be answered not only by a graduate of an American school, but even a Ukrainian one,” says Victoria.

In the US Citizenship and Immigration Services they gave her a CD with all the questions and answers, she occasionally listened to him in the car, and that was all the preparation. You may also be given special training cards with questions on one side, answers to the other. Such to prepare for the test received Samak from Ghana.

In the States, he is 8 years old, married to an American, and plans to soon receive citizenship. That is why he visited one of free consultationsconducted by the Citizenship and Immigration Services. Date, time and place Samak found on their website and did not regret that he came.

“It was a very useful meeting: they explained everything to me, told me how to fill out applications, collect documents. And so they gave us cards with questions that I have to learn. ”

To prepare online also exists whole resource with tasks, exercises, a full list of questions and practice test. Important to remember, test responses can be updated periodically (for example, the president, senator or governor has changed), because their relevance should be checked on the site US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

If it’s difficult for you to prepare for both history and English tests on your own, there is also a way out. You can be like special preparatory courses in the study of the language and history of the United States - There are both paid and free ones.

How is the interview?

Lyudmila came to the interview with her husband Anatoly. I went for an interview with him. She says that since she receives citizenship through him, her husband’s presence is completely justified and logical. “They simply put my wife behind me so that we couldn’t look at each other,” she says.

First, the officer does it and clarifies the information you provided in the application form. “At first there were questions about documents - for example, whether my husband and I live together. Then special questions about offenses and arrest,” continues Lyudmila. You may be asked to verbally repeat your name, address, age, and how many years you have lived in America. And also check your attentiveness by asking, for example, what was not in the questionnaire. Victoria had this situation. The girl says that the officer casually asked her about a fact from her personal life that was not true and was not indicated in the documents.

“I stopped her and said that this is untrue information. And she casually agreed with this. At first glance, it seems that she was simply mistaken, but then I told my friends about this situation, and they told me she could easily check me that way. The truthfulness of the information, whether I filled out the documents myself, whether I was attentive ”.

The next part of the dialogue is an English test. For example, Lyudmila was asked the question “When is Columbus Day celebrated?” and asked to write it on a piece of paper. “I wrote it, showed it to the officer, he looked and looked at the folder. They save all your answers. Then he gave me a form with 10 questions about the history and political structure of America.”

The interview lasts on average half an hour. The applicant has two attempts to answer the questions and demonstrate knowledge of the English language. At the end, the officer announces the result: if it is positive (Granted), he issues an invitation to the oath ceremony. If negative (Denied), a new date for the interview is scheduled, from 60 to 90 days from the date of the first one.

Exceptions: who may not take the test

Быть exempted from the test may be for medical reasons or have certain exceptions due to age. For example, if an applicant for citizenship is 50 years old and has lived in the states as a resident for more than 20 years, he may not take the English test. The same applies to the category of people aged 55 and older who have lived in America for 15 years. But they will still be asked questions about US history. Moreover, if the applicant wants to pass the interview then you will have to take care of the translator.

Oath ceremony

Usually the oath is given on the same day. It is important that until you have gone through this ceremony, you do not have the right to call yourself an American citizen. “I was asked if passing the interview means that I am already a US citizen. And I answered: no, until I take the oath and receive a certificate of citizenship, I’m still a resident,” says Lyudmila. She and her husband, as a military family, were invited to the oath ceremony a month after the interview.

And Victoria was unable to swear allegiance on the day of taking the citizenship test because she wanted to change her last name - this option exists when obtaining citizenship.

“When filling out the application form, there is a question about changing your last name; for this you need to fill out an additional form. Then during the interview you are asked again about changing your last name, and you need to sign a special paper in the presence of an officer, but only a judge can issue citizenship certificates with changed personal data - that’s why my oath date was different.”

An envelope with a certificate of citizenship and a congratulatory letter from the President. Photo: Lesya Bakalets

An envelope with a certificate of citizenship and a congratulatory letter from the President. Photo: Lesya Bakalets

Moreover, Victoria also dared to postpone this date. She says that on the day of the oath she had already bought tickets to Europe, and she did not want to change her plans. “I wrote a letter and explained the circumstances. Many of my friends were worried that now I might be thrown to the very end of the line, and I might wait a year or two to be given a new date. But I was very surprised by the speed - I only waited a month or two.”

Victoria, most likely, was lucky, says Lyudmila. She exactly fulfilled all the regulations of the Immigration Service and says: you should not risk it.

“The date cannot be moved. In no case. If you have scheduled fingerprinting or an interview for a specific date, then you need to cancel all plans and go. The Immigration Service immediately warns: if you postpone the date, the time for consideration of your application may increase.”

On average, as the press service of the Citizenship and Immigration Service told ForumDaily, the naturalization process lasts about five months. Most people pass the test; in 2015, 91% of applicants tested positive. The annual number of new American citizens over the past five years has ranged from 690 thousand to 777 people. Most migrants are from Mexico City, Cuba, the Philippines, China and India.

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