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What Happens if I don't Pass the English or Civics Portion of the Citizenship Test?

One of the key requirements to become a U.S. citizen is passing both the English and Civics portions of the citizenship test. The English part of the test focuses on showing the ability to proficiently speak, write, read, and understand English. The Civics portion of the test evaluates an applicant's ability to understand key elements of u.s. History and its form of government.The Naturalization applicant has to pass both parts of the citizenship test and simply passing one will not be sufficient. 

You should definitely make time to study hard for the Civics test and –  depending upon your level of English proficiency –  also ensure that you have a solid foundation in terms of your English skills.

Keep in mind that everyone is always nervous about both tests, even if you are a native English speaker with a college degree. In addition, remember you do not need to achieve perfection on the tests,  and certain mistakes or incorrect answers are allowed to still receive a passing score. Overall, however, it is not a disaster if you do not pass either the English portion or the Civics portion on your first attempt. USCIS gives all applicants two Chances to pass both tests. The first opportunity takes place at your naturalization interview,and the second chance – if needed –  will be set up from 60 to 90 days later at  a re-examination interview at the USCIS office once again.

At the re-examination interview, if you passed the English portion of the test but not the Civics portion, you only need to retake the Civics portion again. If you unfortunately are unable to pass both the English and the Civics portions of the test after two attempts then your USCIS officer is instructed to deny your naturalization application. 

If your USCIS denies your application but you believe  that you did a sufficiently good job on both the English and the Civics portions of the test to merit an approval,  then you should definitely request a hearing.  The proper procedure for pursuing this hearing is filing form n-336 within 30 days of the denial.

After receiving a request for a hearing through form N336, USCIS is required to readminister either portions of the tests that your officer decided you had previously failed.  If you had only failed one of the two tests, you simply could request to take that portion of the test once again.

Overall, you should be reassured that failing either portion of this naturalization exam does not mean you have to completely start over with a new N400 application. You'll automatically be given one additional  opportunity to pass the English or Civics test or both and if necessary then you can request a hearing to be administered one of those tests again.

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