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What happens if someone fails the naturalization test?

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2023 | Immigration Law

There are many benefits to becoming a naturalized citizen. Permanent residents who qualify for citizenship may enjoy more rights and protections after they naturalize. People no longer have to submit paperwork every decade to retain their green cards. They can offer more family members immigration opportunities. They also protect themselves from the risk of removal.

Despite all of the positive results of naturalizing, many people are nervous about the process. Naturalization requires an interview and two tests. Applicants will need to complete an oral test in Civics and a test reviewing their English language skills. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides study resources for applicants.

Even with preparation, a small percentage of people fail one or both of the tests. What happens if an immigrant fails the English or Civics test during a naturalization interview?

They can retake the test

Failing the English or Civics test is not the end of someone’s naturalization efforts. The USCIS recognizes that tests can be very difficult even for intelligent individuals. Anxiety and even health issues could prevent someone from performing to the best of their abilities. If someone fails the tests administered during their naturalization interview, they can retake the test.

The USCIS will schedule a second test sometime between 60 and 90 days after the initial test. The applicant will have the opportunity to study and improve their mastery of English or retention of Civics information. Using the list of Civics questions and vocabulary words provided by the USCIS can improve someone’s chances of passing the test. If they pass the second time they take the tests, they will become a United States citizen.

What if someone fails twice?

An individual who fails the naturalization test and declines to retake the test or fails a second time will not become a citizen. However, they will not face any penalties for failing other than the loss of the fees associated with their application.

Simply failing the tests will not result in someone’s removal from the United States or the loss of their green card. They will have the opportunity to apply for naturalization again in the future. Knowing what happens during the naturalization test may help people feel more confident about becoming pursuing dreams to become United States citizens.