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The naturalization language and civics tests

Florida residents who are interested in becoming naturalized U.S. citizens have probably heard that they will be required to take and pass exams in both the English language as well as U.S. civics. The requirement applies to everyone except for people who are unable to do so and are exempted due to their age or mental condition.

As many people are understandably nervous about taking tests, having a good idea of what to expect on the exams and then preparing adequately is important. The language test is designed to measure proficiency in English and is divided into three parts. English reading ability is tested by having applicants for naturalization read certain parts of the Application for Naturalization out loud. English writing ability is tested by having the applicant write several sentences in English on a piece of paper. Finally, the applicant's English speaking proficiency will be tested by how well he or she is able to answer questions during the interview.

In the civics test, applicants are required to answer a number of questions covering U.S. history and government. People who have a physical or mental disability may request a waiver of the civics test requirement. Additionally, people who are older than 65 or who have resided in the United States for longer than 20 years may have their test receive special consideration. A person who fails one or both of the tests will be scheduled for a second attempt within 60 to 90 days. If the second test is failed, the application will be denied.

People who are preparing for naturalization may want to consult with an immigration and naturalization attorney who can provide advice about study materials or eligibility for waivers to the tests. This is an important and necessary part of process of obtaining the benefits of citizenship.

Source: FindLaw, "What to Expect on the Naturalization Test", accessed on Jan. 19, 2015

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