As a legal immigrant living in Illinois, you may be thinking about becoming a U.S. citizen, but hesitate to take the naturalization test, fearing that it will be too difficult for you to successfully pass. You will be happy to know that if you already speak and read passable English, you should have very little difficulty passing this test the first time you take it.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains that the naturalization test consists of two parts, an English test and an American civics test. Your first step will be to contact the USCIS, fill out the interview application, and schedule your initial interview. At that interview the USCIS agent will ask you questions about your background and your application to become a U.S. citizen. You should know, however, that the purpose of this interview is not to be nosy, but rather to give the agent the opportunity to talk with you — in English — and discover how well you understand and can speak the English language. Once you complete your initial interview, you then will schedule your English and civics tests.

English test

The English test actually consists of three separate tests as follows:

  1. Your speaking test that you already passed by completing your initial interview
  2. Your reading test in which you must read three English sentences out loud, reading at least one of them correctly
  3. Your written test in which the test giver will ask you three verbal questions and you must answer at least one of them correctly

Civics test

The American civics test is a written test. Here you will be presented with 10 written multiple-choice questions of which you must answer six correctly. The questions relate to such things as American geography, holidays, history, government, etc.

Retake opportunity

Even if you fail to pass one or more parts of the naturalization test the first time you take it, you can always retake the part(s) that you failed. Just make sure to do so sometime within 90 days of the time you first took your test.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.