• Citizenship test: Can you pass the test those applying for US citizenship have to pass?

    By: Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk


    A lot has been said in recent weeks about the plight of migrants illegally crossing the United States border. 

    How they should be treated and what should become of families who cross the U.S. border led to protests across the country last weekend. 

    But for those who enter the country legally and apply to become U.S. citizens, the path is different. 

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    There are many steps, and a lot of expense, for a person who applies to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. 

    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website lists these steps that apply to most of those seeking to become a U.S. citizen:

    • Have had a Permanent Resident (Green) Card for at least five years, or for at least three years if you’re filing as the spouse of a U.S. citizen
    • Meet certain eligibility requirements including being at least 18, able to read, write and speak basic English and be a person of good moral character. 
    • Go through the 10-step naturalization process which includes determining your eligibility to become an American citizen and preparing and submitting an application for naturalization. 

    In addition, applicants must pass a test to become naturalized citizens. The test consists of two components – an English section and a civics component.

    The person applying for citizenship will be asked up to 10 questions from a list of 100 possible questions, and must correctly answer six of the 10 to pass the test. People who fail the test, they may try a second time.

    According to the USCIS, an average of 91 percent of immigrant applicants pass the test. The test is given orally and there are no multiple choice options. 

    In 2017, the annual Annenberg Constitution Day civics survey found that:

    • More than half of Americans (53 percent) thought immigrants who are here illegally do not have any rights under the U.S. Constitution; (they do have rights)
    • Thirty-seven percent couldn’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment;
    • Only a little more than a quarter of Americans surveyed (26 percent) could name all three branches of government.

    How much do you know about your government? Could you pass the test? 

    Here are the 100 potential questions immigrants wishing to become naturalized citizens are asked. The answers are below.


    Test questions

    A: Principles of American democracy

    1. What is the supreme law of the land? 

    2. What does the Constitution do 

    3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words? 

    4. What is an amendment? 

    5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 

    6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?* 

    7. How many amendments does the Constitution have? 

    8. What did the Declaration of Independence do? 

    9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence? 

    10. What is freedom of religion? 

    11. What is the economic system in the United States?* 

    12. What is the “rule of law”? 

    B: System of government

    13. Name one branch or part of the government 

    14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful? 

    15. Who is in charge of the executive branch? 

    16. Who makes federal laws? 

    17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?* 

    18. How many U.S. senators are there 

    19. We elect a U.S. senator for how many years 

    20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. senators now?* 

    21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members? 

    22. We elect a U.S. representative for how many years? 

    23. Name your U.S. representative. 

    24. Who does a U.S. senator represent? 

    25. Why do some states have more representatives than other states? 

    26. We elect a president for how many years? 

    27. In what month do we vote for president?* 

    28. What is the name of the president of the United States now?* 

    29. What is the name of the vice president of the United States now? 

    30. If the president can no longer serve, who becomes President? 

    31. If both the president and the vice president can no longer serve, who becomes president? 

    32. Who is the commander-in-chief of the military? 

    33. Who signs bills to become laws? 

    34. Who vetoes bills? 

    35. What does the president’s cabinet do? 

    36. What are two cabinet-level positions? 

    37. What does the judicial branch do? 

    38. What is the highest court in the United States? 

    39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court? 

    40. Who is the chief justice of the United States now? 

    41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government? 

    42. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states? 

    43. Who is the governor of your state now? 

    44. What is the capital of your state?* 

    45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?* 

    46. What is the political party of the president now? 

    47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now? 

    C: Rights and Responsibilities

    48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them. 

    49. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?* 

    50. Name one right only for United States citizens. 

    51. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States? 

    52. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance? 

    53. What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen? 

    54. How old do citizens have to be to vote for president?* 

    55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy? 

    56. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?* 

    57. When must all men register for the Selective Service? 

    American history

    A: Colonial period and independence

    58. What is one reason colonists came to America? 

    59. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived? 

    60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves? 

    61. Why did the colonists fight the British? 

    62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 

    63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted? 

    64. There were 13 original states. Name three. 

    65. What happened at the Constitutional Convention? 

    66. When was the Constitution written? 

    67. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers. 

    68. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for? 

    69. Who is the “Father of Our Country”? 

    70. Who was the first President?* 

    B: 1800s

    71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803? 

    72. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s. 

    73. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South. 

    74. Name one problem that led to the Civil War. 

    75. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?* 

    76. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?

    77. What did Susan B. Anthony do? 

    C: Recent American history and other important historical information

    78. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.* 

    79. Who was president during World War I? 

    80. Who was president during the Great Depression and World War II? 

    81. Who did the United States fight in World War II? 

    82. Before he was president, Dwight D. Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in? 

    83. During the cold war, what was the main concern of the United States? 

    84. What movement tried to end racial discrimination? 

    85. What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?* 

    86. What major event happened on Sept. 11, 2001, in the United States? 

    87. Name one American Indian tribe in the United States. 

    Integrated civics

    A: Geography

    88. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States. 

    89. What ocean is on the west coast of the United States? 

    90. What ocean is on the east coast of the United States? 

    91. Name one U.S. territory. 

    92. Name one state that borders Canada. 

    93. Name one state that borders Mexico. 

    94. What is the capital of the United States?* 

    95. Where is the Statue of Liberty?* 

    B: Symbols

    96. Why does the flag have 13 stripes? 

    97. Why does the flag have 50 stars?* 

    98. What is the name of the national anthem? 

    C: Holidays

    99. When do we celebrate Independence Day?* 

    100. Name two national U.S. holidays. 

    * If you are 65 years old or older and have been a legal permanent resident of the United States for 20 or more years, you will be asked only questions that have been marked with an asterisk.

    The answers from USCIS: 

    A: Principles of American democracy 

    1. The Constitution

    2. Sets up the government

    Defines the government

    Protects basic rights of Americans

    3. “We the People”

    4. A change (to the Constitution)

    an addition (to the Constitution)

    5. The Bill of Rights

    6. Speech




    Petition the government

    7. Twenty-seven

    8. Announced our independence (from Great Britain)

    declared our independence (from Great Britain)

    said that the United States is free (from Great Britain)

    9. Life


    Pursuit of happiness

    10. You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.

    11. Capitalist economy

    Market economy

    12. Everyone must follow the law

    Leaders must obey the law

    Government must obey the law

    No one is above the law.

    B: System of government





    The courts


    14. Checks and balances

    Separation of powers

    15. The president

    16. Congress

    Senate and House of Representatives

    (U.S. or national) legislature

    17. The Senate and House of Representatives

    18. One hundred

    19. Six

    20. Answer will vary depending on where you live.

    21. Four hundred thirty-five 

    22. Two

    23. Answer will vary depending on where you live.

    24. All of the people of the state

    25. Because of the state’s population

    Because they have more people

    Because some states have more people

    26. Four

    27. November

    28. Donald Trump

    29. Mike Pence

    30. The vice president

    31. The speaker of the House

    32. The president

    33. The president

    34. The president

    35. Advises the president

    36. Secretary of Agriculture

    Secretary of Commerce

    Secretary of Defense

    Secretary of Education

    Secretary of Energy

    Secretary of Health and Human Services

    Secretary of Homeland Security

    Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

    Secretary of the Interior

    Secretary of Labor

    Secretary of State

    Secretary of Transportation

    Secretary of the Treasury

    Secretary of Veterans Affairs

    Attorney General

    Vice President

    37. Reviews laws

    Explains laws

    Resolves disputes (disagreements)

    Decides if a law goes against the Constitution

    38. The Supreme Court

    39. Nine

    40. John Roberts (John G. Roberts, Jr.)

    41. To print money

    To declare war

    To create an army

    To make treaties

    42. Provide schooling and education

    Provide protection (police)

    Provide safety (fire departments)

    Give a driver’s license

    Approve zoning and land use

    43. Answer will vary depending on where you live.

    44. Answer will vary depending on where you live.

    45. Democratic and Republican

    46. Republican Party

    47. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin)

    C: Rights and responsibilities

    48Citizens 18 and older (can vote).

    You don’t have to pay (a poll tax) to vote.

    Any citizen can vote. (Women and men can vote.)

    A male citizen of any race (can vote).

    49. Serve on a jury

    Vote in a federal election

    50. Vote in a federal election

    Run for federal office

    51. Freedom of expression

    Freedom of speech

    Freedom of assembly

    Freedom to petition the government

    Freedom of religion

    The right to bear arms

    52. The United States

    The flag

    53. Give up loyalty to other countries

    Defend the Constitution and laws of the United States

    Obey the laws of the United States

    Serve in the U.S. military (if needed)

    Serve (do important work for) the nation (if needed)

    Be loyal to the United States

    54. Eighteen and older

    55. Vote

    Join a political party

    Help with a campaign

    Join a civic group

    Join a community group

    Give an elected official your opinion on an issue

    Call Senators and Representatives

    Publicly support or oppose an issue or policy

    Run for office

    Write to a newspaper

    56. April 15

    57. At age 18 

    Between 18 and 26

    American history

    A: Colonial period and independence


    Political liberty

    Religious freedom

    Economic opportunity

    Practice their religion

    Escape persecution

    59. American Indians

    Native Americans

    60. Africans

    People from Africa

    61. Because of high taxes (taxation without representation)

    Because the British army stayed in their houses (boarding, quartering)

    Because they didn’t have self-government

    62. Thomas Jefferson

    63. July 4, 1776

    64. New Hampshire


    Rhode Island


    New York

    New Jersey





    North Carolina

    South Carolina


    65. The Constitution was written.

    The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution.

    66. 1787

    67. James Madison

    Alexander Hamilton

    John Jay


    68. U.S. diplomat

    Oldest member of the Constitutional Convention

    First Postmaster General of the United States

    Writer of “Poor Richard’s Almanac”

    Started the first free libraries

    69. George Washington

    70. George Washington

    B: 1800s

    71The Louisiana Territory


    72. War of 1812

    Mexican-American War

    Civil War

    Spanish-American War

    73. The Civil War

    The War between the States

    74. Slavery

    Economic reasons

    States’ rights

    75. Freed the slaves (Emancipation Proclamation)

    Saved (or preserved) the Union

    Led the United States during the Civil War

    76. Freed the slaves

    Freed slaves in the Confederacy

    Freed slaves in the Confederate states

    Freed slaves in most Southern states

    77. Fought for women’s rights

    Fought for civil rights

    C: Recent American history and other important historical information

    78. World War I

    World War II

    Korean War

    Vietnam War

    (Persian) Gulf War

    79. Woodrow Wilson

    80. Franklin Roosevelt

    81. Japan, Germany, and Italy

    82. World War II

    83. Communism

    84. The civil rights movement

    85. Fought for civil rights

    Worked for equality for all Americans

    86. Terrorists attacked the United States.

    87. Cherokee






















    Integrated civics

    A: Geography



    89. Pacific

    90. Atlantic

    91. Puerto Rico

    U.S. Virgin Islands

    American Samoa

    Northern Mariana Islands


    92. Maine

    New Hampshire


    New York





    North Dakota





    93. California


    New Mexico


    94. Washington, D.C.

    95. New York (Harbor)

    Liberty Island

    Also acceptable are New Jersey, near New York City, and on the Hudson River.

    B: Symbols

    96Because there were 13 original colonies

    Because the stripes represent the original colonies

    97. Because there is one star for each state

    Because each star represents a state

    Because there are 50 states

    98. The Star-Spangled Banner

    C: Holidays

    99. July 4

    100. New Year’s Day

    Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

    Presidents’ Day

    Memorial Day

    Independence Day

    Labor Day

    Columbus Day

    Veterans Day



    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: A painting titled "Declaration of Independence" hangs on the wall inside the U.S. Capitol.
    Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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