Citizenship Assistance

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August 12, 2021

Many citizenship teachers have reported that students are being asked to define legal terminology from Part 12 of the citizenship application form (N-400) as a test of their English speaking ability. A coalition of national immigrant advocacy groups has objected, warning that the practice is inconsistent with naturalization policy (because these advanced legal terms are not “words in ordinary usage”).

But while we wait for the practice to be halted nationally, and examiners to be properly trained, Lynne Weintraub, author of Citizenship: Passing the Test—Ready for the Interview, is offering a tool to help citizenship students prepare in the event they are asked to provide definitions of these difficult words.

In this three-page downloadable PDF, she identifies a word or phrase in each question that is likely to cause difficulty for students and suggests a simple way of explaining it. While these are far from precise definitions, we hope that they will be enough to convince an examiner that the student understands the topic of the question.

Tricky vocabulary in Part 12 of the N-400 application