New Civics Test Implemented for N-400 Applicants
Published October 21, 2008

Beginning Oct. 1, 2008, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is using new questions for the U.S. civics portion of the N-400, Application for Naturalization testing process. Applicants filing for naturalization on or after October 1, 2008 will be administered the new test at their interview. Applicants filing prior to October 1, 2008, but are only interviewed after October 1 , 2008 (but before October 1, 2009), will have the option of taking either the new test or the previous version. The following is the list of new questions. Applicants will be tested verbally, and out of 10 questions presented, the applicant must provide 6 correct answers.

With questions that allow for more one correct answer, alternative correct responses are shown. Those who have been permanent residents for more than 20 years AND are 65 years old or older, need only study the questions marked with an asterisk.


Part A. Principles of American Democracy

1. What is the supreme law of the land?
A: The Constitution

2. What does the Constitution do?
A: sets up the government
A: defines the government
A: protects basic rights of Americans

3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
A: We the People

4. What is an amendment?
A: a change (to the Constitution)
A: an addition (to the Constitution)

5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
A: The Bill of Rights

6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?*
A: speech
A: religion
A: assembly
A: press
A: petition the government

7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
A: twenty-seven (27)

8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?
A: announced our independence (from Great Britain)
A: declared our independence (from Great Britain)
A: said that the United States is free (from Great Britain)

9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
A: life
A: liberty
A: pursuit of happiness

10. What is freedom of religion?
A: You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.

11. What is the economic system in the United States?*
A: capitalist economy
A: market economy

12. What is the “rule of law”?
A: Everyone must follow the law.
A: Leaders must obey the law.
A: Government must obey the law.
A: No one is above the law.

Part B. System of Government

13. Name one branch or part of the government.*
A: Congress
A: legislative
A: President
A: executive
A: the courts
A: judicial

14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?
A: checks and balances
A: separation of powers

15. Who is in charge of the executive branch?
A: the President

16. Who makes federal laws?
A: Congress
A: Senate and House (of Representatives)
A: (U.S. or national) legislature

17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?*
A: the Senate and House (of Representatives)

18. How many U.S. Senators are there?
A: one hundred (100)

19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
A: six (6)

20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators?*
A: Answers will vary. [For District of Columbia residents and residents of U.S. territories, the answer is that D.C. (or the territory where the applicant lives) has no U.S. Senators.]

21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
A: four hundred thirty-five (435)

22. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?
A: two (2)

23. Name your U.S. Representative.
A: Answers will vary. [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.]

24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?
A: all people of the state

25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?
A: (because of) the state’s population
A: (because) they have more people
A: (because) some states have more people

26. We elect a President for how many years?
A: four (4)

27. In what month do we vote for President?*
A: November

28. What is the name of the President of the United States now?*
A: George W. Bush
A: George Bush
A: Bush

29. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?
A: Richard Cheney
A: Dick Cheney
A: Cheney

30. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
A: the Vice President

31. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
A: the Speaker of the House

32. Who is the Commander in Chief of the military?
A: the President

33. Who signs bills to become laws?
A: the President

34. Who vetoes bills?
A: the President

35. What does the President’s Cabinet do?
A: advises the President

36. What are two Cabinet-level positions?
A: Secretary of Agriculture
A: Secretary of Commerce
A: Secretary of Defense
A: Secretary of Education
A: Secretary of Energy
A: Secretary of Health and Human Services
A: Secretary of Homeland Security
A: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
A: Secretary of Interior
A: Secretary of State
A: Secretary of Transportation
A: Secretary of Treasury
A: Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs
A: Secretary of Labor
A: Attorney General

37. does the judicial branch do?
A: reviews laws
A: explains laws
A: resolves disputes (disagreements)
A: decides if a law goes against the Constitution

38. What is the highest court in the United States?
A: the Supreme Court

39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
A: nine (9)

40. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States?
A: John Roberts (John G. Roberts, Jr.)

41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
A: to print money
A: to declare war
A: to create an army
A: to make treaties

42. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?
A: provide schooling and education
A: provide protection (police)
A: provide safety (fire departments)
A: give a driver’s license
A: approve zoning and land use

43. Who is the Governor of your state?
A: Answers will vary. [Residents of the District of Columbia and U.S. territories without a Governor should say “we don’t have a Governor.”]

44. What is the capital of your state?*
A: Answers will vary. [District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. is not a state and does not have a capital. Residents of U.S. territories should name the capital of the territory.]

45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?*
A: Democratic and Republican

46. What is the political party of the President now?
A: Republican (Party)

47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
A: (Nancy) Pelosi

Part C: Rights and Responsibilities

48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.
A: Citizens eighteen (18) and older (can vote).
A: You don’t have to pay (a poll tax) to vote.
A: Any citizen can vote. (Women and men can vote.)
A: A male citizen of any race (can vote).

49. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?*
A: serve on a jury
A: vote

50. What are two rights only for United States citizens?
A: apply for a federal job
A: vote
A: run for office
A: carry a U.S. passport

51. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?
A: freedom of expression
A: freedom of speech
A: freedom of assembly
A: freedom to petition the government
A: freedom of worship
A: the right to bear arms

52. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?
A: the United States
A: the flag

53. What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?
A: give up loyalty to other countries
A: defend the Constitution and laws of the United States
A: obey the laws of the United States
A: serve in the U.S. military (if needed)
A: serve (do important work for) the nation (if needed)
A: be loyal to the United States

54. How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?*
A: eighteen (18) and older

55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?
A: vote
A: join a political party
A: help with a campaign
A: join a civic group
A: join a community group
A: give an elected official your opinion on an issue
A: call Senators and Representatives
A: publicly support or oppose an issue or policy
A: run for office
A: write to a newspaper

56. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?*
A: April 15

57. When must all men register for the Selective Service?
A: at age eighteen (18)
A: between eighteen (18) and twenty-six (26)


Part A: Colonial Period and Independence

58. What is one reason colonists came to America?
A: freedom
A: political liberty
A: religious freedom
A: economic opportunity
A: practice their religion
A: escape persecution

59. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?
A: Native Americans
A: American Indians

60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?
A: Africans
A: people from Africa

61. Why did the colonists fight the British?
A: because of high taxes (taxation without representation)
A: because the British army stayed in their houses (boarding, quartering)
A: because they didn’t have self-government

62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
A: (Thomas) Jefferson

63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?
A: July 4, 1776

64. There were 13 original states. Name three.
A: New Hampshire
A: Massachusetts
A: Rhode Island
A: Connecticut
A: New York
A: New Jersey
A: Pennsylvania
A: Delaware
A: Maryland
A: Virginia
A: North Carolina
A: South Carolina
A: Georgia

65. What happened at the Constitutional Convention?
A: The Constitution was written.
A: The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution.

66. When was the Constitution written?
A: 1787

67. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.
A: (James) Madison
A: (Alexander) Hamilton
A: (John) Jay
A: Publius

68. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?
A: U.S. diplomat
A: oldest member of the Constitutional Convention
A: first Postmaster General of the United States
A: writer of “Poor Richard’s Almanac”
A: started the first free libraries

69. Who is the “Father of Our Country”?
A: (George) Washington

70. Who was the first President?*
A: (George) Washington

Part B: The 1800s

71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?
A: the Louisiana Territory
A: Louisiana

72. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.
A: War of 1812
A: Mexican-American War
A: Civil War
A: Spanish-American War

73. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.
A: the Civil War
A: the War between the States

74. Name one problem that led to the Civil War.
A: slavery
A: economic reasons
A: states’ rights

75. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?*
A: freed the slaves (Emancipation Proclamation)
A: saved (or preserved) the Union
A: led the United States during the Civil War

76. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?
A: freed the slaves
A: freed slaves in the Confederacy
A: freed slaves in the Confederate states
A: freed slaves in most Southern states

77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?
A: fought for women’s rights
A: fought for civil rights

Part C: Recent American History and Other Important Historical Information

78. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.*
A: World War I
A: World War II
A: Korean War
A: Vietnam War
A: (Persian) Gulf War

79. Who was President during World War I?
A: (Woodrow) Wilson

80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?
A: (Franklin) Roosevelt

81. Who did the United States fight in World War II?
A: Japan, Germany and Italy

82. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?
A: World War II

83. During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?
A: Communism

84. What movement tried to end racial discrimination?
A: civil rights (movement)

85. What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?*
A: fought for civil rights
A: worked for equality for all Americans

86. What major event happened on September 11, 2001 in the United States?
A: Terrorists attacked the United States.

87. Name one American Indian tribe in the United States. [Adjudicators will be supplied with a complete list.]
A: Cherokee
A: Navajo
A: Sioux
A: Chippewa
A: Choctaw
A: Pueblo
A: Apache
A: Iroquois
A: Creek
A: Blackfeet
A: Seminole
A: Cheyenne
A: Arawak
A: Shawnee
A: Mohegan
A: Huron
A: Oneida
A: Lakota
A: Crow
A: Teton
A: Hopi
A: Inuit


Part A: Geography

88. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.
A: Missouri (River)
A: Mississippi (River)

89. What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?
A: Pacific (Ocean)

90. What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?
A: Atlantic (Ocean)

91. Name one U.S. territory.
A: Puerto Rico
A: U.S. Virgin Islands
A: American Samoa
A: Northern Mariana Islands
A: Guam

92. Name one state that borders Canada.
A: Maine
A: New Hampshire
A: Vermont
A: New York
A: Pennsylvania
A: Ohio
A: Michigan
A: Minnesota
A: North Dakota
A: Montana
A: Idaho
A: Washington
A: Alaska

93. Name one state that borders Mexico.
A: California
A: Arizona
A: New Mexico
A: Texas

94. What is the capital of the United States?*
A: Washington, D.C.

95. Where is the Statue of Liberty?*
A: New York (Harbor)
A: Liberty Island
[Also acceptable are New Jersey, near New York City, and on the Hudson (River).]

Part B. Symbols

96. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?
A: because there were 13 original colonies
A: because the stripes represent the original colonies

97. Why does the flag have 50 stars?*
A: because there is one star for each state
A: because each star represents a state
A: because there are 50 states

98. What is the name of the national anthem?
A: The Star-Spangled Banner

Part C: Holidays

99. When do we celebrate Independence Day?*
A: July 4

100. Name two national U.S. holidays.
A: New Year’s Day
A: Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
A: Presidents’ Day
A: Memorial Day
A: Independence Day
A: Labor Day
A: Columbus Day
A: Veterans Day
A: Thanksgiving
A: Christmas

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