Naturalization Test Performance
National Pass Rate
Section 312 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires naturalization applicants to demonstrate an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language, and demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government (civics). To meet the requirements of Section 312 of the INA, applicants must pass a naturalization test to become U.S. citizens. The naturalization test consists of 2 components: an English language and a civics component. The English language component tests applicants on their ability to speak, read, write and understand the English language. Applicants who fail 1 or both test components will have a second opportunity to pass both portions of the test, called a re-exam.
The diagram below shows that 96.1% of all applicants pass the naturalization test. In fiscal year 2021, almost 90% passed it during the initial interview, and another 6% of all applicants passed during a re-exam. About 3.5% of all naturalization applications (Form N-400) were accompanied by a Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exception, which provides an exception to the English language test.
More than 93% of applicants pass the English language portion of the naturalization test the first time, as shown by the data below.
|The data above represent the pass rates for applicants who took the English language component of the naturalization test in FY 2021. These data exclude applicants who submitted Form N-648.|
More than 93% of applicants also pass the civics part of the test the first time. The tables below show pass rates for: (1) applicants required to take the test; and (2) applicants who qualify for an age- and residency-based exception from the English language requirement.
|All Applicants (No Age/Residency Exceptions to English Language Requirements)||93.8%|
|The data above represent the pass rate for applicants who passed the initial civics exam in FY 2021 and did not qualify for an exception from the English language requirements. These data include applicants who submitted Form N-648.|
Civics Test Pass Rate of Applicants Who Qualify for an Exception to the English Language Requirement
Applicants who meet the following requirements at the time they file for naturalization may qualify for an exception from the English language component of the naturalization test and may take the civics test in their language of choice:
- Age 50 and over with 20 years of lawful permanent residency (50/20);
- Age 55 and over with 15 years of lawful permanent residency (55/15); or
- Age 65 and over with 20 years of lawful permanent residency (65/20).
Applicants aged 65 and over with 20 years of residency also receive fewer civics questions to study (20 test questions instead of 100). In FY 2021, approximately 93,410 applicants qualified for an exception to the English language requirement, representing 10.5% of all applicants.
For information on exceptions or modifications to the English language and civics requirements for naturalization, visit our Exceptions and Accommodations page.
|Age 50 with 20 years of residency||90.0%|
|Age 55 with 15 years of residency||87.9.%|
|Age 65 with 20 years of residency||93.1%|
|The data above represent the pass rate for applicants who passed the initial civics exam in FY 2021 and qualified for an exception from the English language requirements. These data exclude applicants who submitted Form N-648.|
|The data above represent the pass rates for all applicants who passed both the English language and civics components of the naturalization test that year. These data exclude applicants who submitted Form N-648.|
The pass rate below represents the cumulative pass rate of applicants who took both the English language and civics components of the test since it was fully implemented on Oct. 1, 2009.