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

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.

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.