What happens if someone fails the naturalization tests?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2023 | Citizenship

To become a citizen of the United States of America, an immigrant has to prove that they meet certain standards. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review the paperwork that they submit and perform a background check. 

The applicant will then need to attend a naturalization interview where they will answer questions about themselves. The interview will also include tests on the English language and Civics, which encompasses history and government. What happens when an immigrant fails the naturalization test? 

They can retake the test

There are many reasons why someone might perform poorly on the naturalization test. Perhaps they had a bad night’s sleep or just came down with a cold. Thankfully, the USCIS does allow someone to retake the test one time. The USCIS will schedule a second test within 60 to 90 days of the first. 

What if they still don’t pass? 

Most applicants will pass when they first undergo the test, and many others pass when they retake the test. In 2021, over 96% of applicants passed. 

Unfortunately, even those who try their best and retake the test could still fail. These applicants will have their application for naturalization denied, but they can request a hearing if they file the right paperwork within 30 days of the second test. If granted a hearing, the applicant will need to take the test a third time and will need to pass to secure their citizenship. 

The testing process can be a challenge, but with proper preparation, most immigrants will pass. Understanding what happens during the naturalization testing process will help applicants prepare for this often challenging experience.