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Typical Citizenship Examination Questions

Acquiring U.S. Citizenship is a significant milestone. It demonstrates preparation, dedication, and understanding of the privileges and responsibilities that come with U.S. Citizenship. The journey to citizenship from permanent resident is called the naturalization process. 

Going through naturalization is more than meeting the continuous residency requirement. Naturalization also asks you to pass tests, which include answering civics questions. The civics test contains questions related to the U.S. government, U.S. history, and principles related to the American government.

This article covers questions and answers that may be asked when you take your U.S. citizenship test. The questions often reflect what it means to be an American citizen. Note that the test is not merely accumulating correct answers. You must also understand the values and history that shaped the country into what it is today.

What To Expect During the U.S. Citizenship Application Process

You must meet specific requirements during the U.S. citizenship application process. The first step is to file your naturalization application package. If you meet the requirements, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will schedule you for an interview. 

During the interview, the examiner will test your English reading and writing skills by giving you a simple dictation test. You will also have to sign your name in English. There are exceptions if: 

  • You are physically unable to read
  • You are physically unable to write
  • You are at least 50 years old and have lived in the United States as a permanent legal resident for at least twenty years

If any of these conditions apply, you do not have to take the literacy examination.

The examiner will also ask you some questions about the U.S. system of government and history to confirm that you have basic knowledge of these subjects. Although a perfectly correct answer is unnecessary, you should do your best to achieve the threshold score on the civics test. Make sure to study to the best of your ability.

For more information, see FindLaw's Citizenship Test and Naturalization Process sections. The official citizenship test questions change often.

Sample Questions and Answers During U.S. Citizenship Test

Below are sample citizenship test questions that may be asked, followed by the answers to those questions. Note that the naturalization test questions may undergo frequent changes. It is best to keep updated by checking the USCIS website.

What is the supreme law of the land?

Answer: The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

What does the Constitution do?

Answer: The U.S. Constitution establishes and defines the government and protects Americans' fundamental rights.

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

Answer: We the People

What is an amendment?

Answer: A change to the Constitution.

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

Answer: The Bill of Rights

Identify one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Answer (any of the following): Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, the right to petition the government.

How many amendments does the Constitution have?

Answer: Twenty-seven (27)

What did the Declaration of Independence do?


  • Announced our independence from Great Britain 
  • Declared our independence from Great Britain 
  • Stated that the United States is free from Great Britain

What are the rights in the Declaration of Independence?

Answer: Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness

What is freedom of religion?

Answer: You can practice any religion or not practice a religion.

What is the economic system in the United States? 

Answer: capitalist economy, market economy

What is the “rule of law"?


  • Everyone must follow the law 
  • Leaders must obey the law
  • The government must obey the law
  • No one is above the law

Name one branch or part of the government. 

Answer (any of the following): 

  • Executive branch
  • Legislative branch
  • Judicial branch

What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?

Answer: Checks and Balances and Separation of Powers

Who is in charge of the executive branch?

Answer: The President

Who makes federal laws? 

Answer: Congress, comprised of the Senate and House of Representatives

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

Answer: The Senate and House of Representatives

How many U.S. Senators are there? 

Answer: One hundred (100)

We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years? 

Answer: Six (6)

Who is one of your state's U.S. Senators now? 

Answer: Will vary by state. District of Columbia residents and residents of U.S. territories should answer that D.C. (or the territory where the applicant lives) has no U.S. Senators.

How many voting members does the House of Representatives have? 

Answer: Four hundred thirty-five (435)

We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years? 

Answer: Two (2)

Name your U.S. Representative. 

Answer: Will vary by state. Residents of territories with nonvoting Delegates or Resident Commissioners may provide the name of that Delegate or Commissioner. Also acceptable is any statement that the territory has no (voting) Representatives in Congress.

Who does a U.S. Senator represent? 

Answer: All people of the state

Why do some states have more Representatives than other states? 

Answer: Due to the state's population or because the state has more residents, otherwise called constituents.

We elect a president for how many years? 

Answer: Four (4)

In what month do we vote for president? 

Answer: November

What is the name of the current President of the United States? 

Answer: Will vary depending on who the current U.S. president is when you take the U.S. citizenship test.

What is the name of the current Vice President of the United States? 

Answer: Will vary depending on who the current U.S. president is when you take the U.S. citizenship test.

If the president can no longer serve, who becomes president?

Answer: The vice president

Who becomes president if the president and vice president can no longer serve?

Answer: The Speaker of the House

Who is the Commander in Chief of the military? 

Answer: The president

Who signs bills to become laws? 

Answer: The president

Who vetoes bills? 

Answer: The president

What does the president's Cabinet do? 

Answer: Advises the president

Name two Cabinet-level positions. 

Answer (any two of the following): ▪ 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

What does the judicial branch do? 

Answer: ▪ Reviews laws▪ Explains laws▪ Resolves disputes (disagreements)▪ Decides if a law goes against the Constitution

What is the highest court in the United States? 

Answer: The Supreme Court

How many justices are on the Supreme Court? 

Answer: Nine (9)

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

Answer:▪ To print money▪ To declare war▪ To create an army▪ To make treaties

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

Answer(any of the following): ▪ Provide schooling and education▪ Provide protection (police)▪ Provide safety (fire departments)▪ Give a driver's license▪ Approve zoning and land use

Who is the Governor of your state now? 

Answer: Will vary by the state the test taker lives in. District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. does not have a Governor.

What is the capital of your state? 

Answer: Will vary by the state the test taker lives in. District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. is not a state with and has no capital. Residents of U.S. territories should name the capital of the territory.

What are the two major political parties in the United States? 

Answer: Democratic and Republican

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

Answer: ▪ Citizens eighteen (18) and older can vote ▪You don't have to pay a poll tax to vote. ▪ Women can vote. ▪ A male citizen of any race can vote.

What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens? 

Answer: ▪ Serve on a jury ▪ Vote in a federal election

Name one right only for United States citizens. 

Answer: ▪ Vote in a federal election ▪ Run for federal office

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

Answer (any of the following): ▪ Freedom of expression ▪ Freedom of speech ▪ Freedom of assembly ▪ Freedom to petition the government ▪ Freedom of religion ▪ The right to bear arms

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

Answer: ▪ The United States ▪ The flag

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

Answer (any of the following): ▪ 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

How old do citizens have to be to vote for President? 

Answer: Eighteen (18) and older

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

Answer (any two of the following): ▪ 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

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

Answer: April 15

When must all men register for the Selective Service? 

Answer: ▪ At age eighteen (18) ▪ Between eighteen (18) and twenty-six (26)

What is one reason colonists came to America?

Answer (any of the following): ▪ Freedom ▪ Political liberty ▪ Religious freedom ▪ Economic opportunity ▪ Practice their religion ▪ Escape persecution

Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived? 

Answer: American Indians or Native Americans

Why did the colonists fight the British?

Answer: ▪ Because of high taxes (taxation without representation) ▪ Because the British army stayed in their houses (boarding, quartering) ▪ Because they didn't have self-government

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 

Answer: (Thomas) Jefferson

When was the Declaration of Independence adopted? 

Answer: July 4, 1776

There were 13 original states. Name three. 

Answer (any three of the following):▪ New Hampshire ▪ Massachusetts ▪ Rhode Island ▪ Connecticut ▪ New York ▪ New Jersey ▪ Pennsylvania ▪ Delaware ▪ Maryland ▪ Virginia ▪ North Carolina ▪ South Carolina ▪ Georgia

What happened at the Constitutional Convention? 

Answer: ▪ The Constitution was written. ▪ The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution.

When was the U.S. Constitution written? 

Answer: 1787

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

Answer (any one of the following): ▪ James Madison ▪ Alexander Hamilton ▪ John Jay

What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for? 

Answer (any one of the following): ▪ 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

Who is the “Father of Our Country"? 

Answer: (George) Washington

Who was the first U.S. President?

Answer: (George) Washington

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

Answer: The Louisiana Territory or Louisiana

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

Answer (any of the following): ▪ War of 1812 ▪ Mexican-American War ▪ American Civil War ▪ Spanish-American War

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

Answer: ▪ The Civil War ▪ The War between the States

Name one problem that led to the Civil War. 

Answer (any of the following): ▪ Slavery ▪ Economic reasons surrounding slavery ▪ States' rights to continue slavery

What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did? 

Answer (any of the following): ▪ Freed the slaves (Emancipation Proclamation) ▪ Saved (or preserved) the Union ▪ Led the United States during the Civil War

What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?

Answer: ▪ Freed the slaves ▪ Freed slaves in the Confederacy ▪ Freed slaves in the Confederate states ▪ Freed slaves in most Southern states

What did Susan B. Anthony do? 

Answer: ▪ Fought for women's rights ▪ Fought for civil rights

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

Answer (any of the following): ▪ World War I ▪ World War II ▪ Korean War ▪ Vietnam War ▪ (Persian) Gulf War

Who was President during World War I?

Answer: (Woodrow) Wilson

Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II? 

Answer: (Franklin) Roosevelt

Who did the United States fight in World War II? 

Answer: Japan, Germany, and Italy

Before he became president, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?

Answer: World War II

What was the United States' primary concern During the Cold War? 

Answer: Communism

What movement tried to end racial discrimination? 

Answer: Civil rights (movement)

What major event happened in the United States on September 11, 2001?

Answer: Terrorists attacked two New York skyscrapers/buildings called the World Trade Center.

Name one American Indian tribe in the United States. 

[USCIS Officers will be supplied with a list of federally recognized American Indian tribes.]

Answer (any of the following): ▪ Cherokee ▪ Navajo ▪ Sioux ▪ Chippewa ▪ Choctaw ▪ Pueblo ▪ Apache ▪ Iroquois ▪ Creek ▪ Blackfeet ▪ Seminole ▪ Cheyenne ▪ Arawak ▪ Shawnee ▪ Mohegan ▪ Huron ▪ Oneida ▪ Lakota ▪ Crow ▪ Teton ▪ Hopi ▪ Inuit

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

Answer (either of the following): ▪ Missouri (River) ▪ Mississippi (River)

What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States? 

Answer: Pacific Ocean

What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States? 

Answer: Atlantic (Ocean)

Name one U.S. territory. 

Answer (any of the following): ▪ Puerto Rico ▪ U.S. Virgin Islands ▪ American Samoa ▪ Northern Mariana Islands ▪ Guam

Name one state that borders Canada. 

Answer (any of the following): ▪ Maine ▪ New Hampshire ▪ Vermont ▪ New York ▪ Pennsylvania ▪ Ohio ▪ Michigan ▪ Minnesota ▪ North Dakota ▪ Montana ▪ Idaho ▪ Washington ▪ Alaska

Name one state that borders Mexico. 

Answer (any of the following): California ▪ Arizona ▪ New Mexico ▪ Texas

What is the capital of the United States? 

Answer: Washington, D.C.

Where is the Statue of Liberty? 

Answer: New York (Harbor) or Liberty Island

Why does the flag have 13 stripes? 

Answer: Because there were 13 original colonies or because the stripes represent the original colonies

Why does the flag have 50 stars? 

Answer (any of the following): Because there is one star for each state ▪ Because each star represents a state ▪ Because there are 50 states.

What is the name of the national anthem? 

Answer: The Star-Spangled Banner

When do we celebrate Independence Day? 

Answer: July 4

Name two national U.S. holidays. 

Answer (any two of the following): New Year's Day ▪ Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ▪ Presidents' Day ▪ Memorial Day ▪ Independence Day ▪ Labor Day ▪ Columbus Day ▪ Veterans Day ▪ Thanksgiving ▪ Christmas

Questions About Becoming a U.S. Citizen? Talk to an Immigration Attorney

The path to U.S. citizenship can feel overwhelming and daunting. This is understandable, considering the significant effects it has on your immigration status.

As you navigate through the naturalization process, it is important to remember that you are not merely answering questions. You are demonstrating your understanding of American history and knowledge of the U.S. government. 

However, questions related to the U.S. citizenship test frequently change. That is why you should stay informed by visiting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for the latest study material. 

In addition, seeking guidance from an immigration lawyer can be helpful in your journey. They can give you personalized legal advice and insights specific to your case. Start your journey today toward becoming a U.S. citizen.

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