US Citizenship Test: 5 Top Reasons for Citizenship Denials

In this post, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the top reasons applications are denied at their citizenship interview.

Requirements to apply for citizenship:

In order to become a United States Citizen, you must meet the following general requirements at the time of filing your N-400 Application for Naturalization:

You must be:

  • A lawful permanent resident
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Maintained continuous residence in the United States since becoming a permanent resident
  • Be physically present in the United States
  • Have certain time living within the jurisdiction of a USCIS office
  • Be a person of Good Moral Character
  • Have Knowledge of English and U.S. Civics with some exceptions outlined below
  • Declare loyalty to the U.S. Constitution

Civics and English Examination Component 

As part of the citizenship interview, applicants must pass a civics and English test in order to receive United States Citizenship.

What is the Civics Test?

The Civics test is an oral examination provided in the format of Question and Answer by an immigration officer in which the officer tests your knowledge of United States history and government. During the Citizenship interview, the USCIS officer asks the applicant up to 10 out of 100 civics questions provided by USCIS on their website as part of the study material for the examination. Applicants must answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test.

English Test

Applicants must also demonstrate during their interview that they can read, write, and speak the English language. Ability to speak the English language is determined by the USCIS officer conducting your naturalization interview. As part of the examination, the USCIS officer will ask you to read a sentence aloud. Applicants must read one out of three sentences correctly. In addition, applicants must pass a writing test, and write one out of three sentences correctly, free of grammatical mistakes.

Most Common Reasons for N-400 Denials:

  1. Failing the English and Civics Component of the Naturalization Test
  2. Failing Due to Criminal Background
  3. Failing to Demonstrate Continuous and Physical Presence in the US
  4. Failing to Meet Your Financial Obligations to the IRS
  5. Failing Due to Misrepresentations of Fraud made at the time of the Interview

For more information about these components please read our accompanying blog post here.

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