by Helen Kampion

Becoming an American Citizen
Classroom Activities
Classroom Application Form
Fingerprinting
Classroom Test 1
Classroom Test 2
Classroom Test 1 Answer Key
Classroom Test 2 Answer Key
Oath of Allegiance


Becoming An American Citizen

Were you born in the United States of America? If you answered “yes,” then you are a U.S. citizen. But what if you were born in another country? How do you become a citizen?

If you are under 18 years of age, you automatically become a citizen when your parents do. But if you are over 18 years of age then you must apply for citizenship. And it’s not like applying for a library card or a babysitting job. It involves answering detailed questions, passing a test, taking an oath, and even the . . . FBI.

Step 1: QUESTIONS

First you have to complete a ten-page application form. It has all sorts of questions, including those asking for details about where you live, where your parents were born, what clubs you belong to, and how many times you’ve traveled outside the U.S. since first arriving. After you’ve answered all the questions, you mail the application to a regional processing center. If everything checks out, you’ve passed Step 1 and it’s on to Step 2.

Step 2: FBI

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sends out a notice telling you where and when to get fingerprinted. The fingerprinting is no longer done with ink, as is often shown on TV shows. So if you were hoping to get your fingers dirty, you’d be disappointed. There’s no mess or black-stained fingertips.

The process is done electronically and is called Live Scan Fingerprinting. The agent takes your fingers, wipes them off, and then presses them one at a time onto a flat glass surface like the top of a copy machine. Your prints appear on a computer screen. If the images look clear and distinct, the prints are saved and forwarded to the FBI. The FBI uses your fingerprints to see if you are wanted for any crimes or illegal activities. Hopefully you’re a law-abiding person and can move on to Step 3!

Step 3: TEST

Before you leave the fingerprinting area, the agent gives you a booklet of questions to study for the citizenship interview. The questions are also available online.

The test booklet contains 100 questions covering American Government, American History, and Integrated Civics (geography, symbols, and U.S. holidays). If English is your second language, you may also have to take a test speaking, reading, and writing English.

A USCIS officer conducts the interview. During this time, he or she determines your ability to speak, read, and write English and asks you questions about the U. S. There are a total of ten questions and you must get six answers correct to pass.

The questions are random, so you must know the answers to all 100 questions. And they’re not as easy as you’d think!

Here’s a sample of ten. Can you get six correct?

  1. What is the supreme law of the land?
  2. How many U. S. Senators are there?
  3. How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?
  4. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
  5. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?
  6. Who is the “Father of Our Country”?
  7. What major event happened on September 11, 2001?
  8. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.
  9. Why does the flag have thirteen (13) stripes?
  10. What is the name of the national anthem?

(Answers at the end)

How did you do? Hopefully you studied for the test and did well enough to move on to Step 4.
(If you didn’t pass, usually a second test is allowed within 2-3 months. However, all additional testing is at the discretion of the USCIS Officer).

Step 4: OATH OF ALLEGIANCE

You passed! Now you are only one step away from citizenship. The USCIS notifies you by mail as to the time and date for the Oath of Allegiance ceremony.

The day of the ceremony is a proud moment for everyone becoming a citizen of the United States of America. The location is like a mini United Nations with dozens of countries represented. Friends and family attend this special occasion. For many people, it is a life-long dream coming true.

A Federal Judge presides and the facility, whether a convention center, gym, historic site, or auditorium becomes an official U.S. Federal courtroom. The judge asks the applicants to stand, raise their right hands, and repeat an oath of allegiance to the United States.

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

Congratulations! You are now an official citizen of the United States of America with all its rights and privileges.


Answers

  1. The Constitution
  2. One hundred (100)
  3. Eighteen (18) and older
  4. Thomas Jefferson
  5. The Louisiana Territory
  6. George Washington
  7. Terrorists attacked the United States
  8. Missouri; Mississippi
  9. One for each of the original colonies
  10. Star-Spangled Banner

Additional Information


Author’s Note

I was born in London, England, but grew up in America. On July 30, 2009, I took the above oath to become an American citizen. The swearing-in ceremony took place in historic Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.
I was awed to be in the same meeting room where patriots such as Samuel Adams had spoken out against taxation. Portraits of George Washington, John Q. Adams, and Peter Faneuil hung behind the stage and four American flags and a Massachusetts flag stood on the stage. The atmosphere in the room was electric with excitement.

With me that day were 387 applicants for citizenship representing a number of countries, including Poland, Haiti, China, Cambodia, Portugal, and England. A Federal Judge called the ceremony to order, explained our new voting and jury responsibilities, and then asked us to stand, raise our right hands, and repeat the oath.

Upon completion, the Judge said she wanted to be the first person to welcome us as United States citizens. We all cheered and waved the small American flags that had been given to us. And some of us brushed away tears. God Bless America.

For more information about Faneuil Hall, visit:  FaneuilHallBoston.com.


Classroom Activities

Objectives:

  • Students will become aware of the steps an immigrant takes to become a United States citizen.
  • Students will cooperate with one another.
  • Students will learn important details about U.S. history.
  • Students will learn important details about U.S. government.
  • Students will learn important details about U.S. geography.

Activities:

1) Application

Each student will complete a one-page application.
A designated U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Officer will review applications for completeness.

2) Fingerprinting

Each student will have one hand fingerprinted with washable ink.

3) Test

  • Two tests are provided.
  • Divide class in half and then pair off students.
  • Pass out tests randomly to study. Students might take questions home to study with test being the next classroom day.
  • A designated U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Officer or Officers will conduct the oral test.
  • Students should get five (5) of the eight (8) questions correct.

4) Swearing-in ceremony

  • Designate the teacher as the Federal Judge.
  • Hand out small American flags if desired.
    For a copy, go to: PrintOurFlag.com.
  • All students rise, raise their right hands, and repeat the oath.
  • After oath, “Judge” makes an inspiring speech about the privileges afforded a citizen of the United States (i.e. freedom of speech, worship, and assembly). Also explains the importance of registering to vote, actually voting, and their responsibility to serve on a jury.

5) Pledge of Allegiance

“Judge” leads new citizens in Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.


Classroom Application Form

Name:_________________________________________

Address: _______________________________________

Phone Number: __________________________________

Email: ________________________________________

Date of Birth: ____________________________________

Place of Birth: ____________________________________

Gender: Male __ Female __

Weight: _________

Height: _________

Hair Color: Black __ Brown __ Blonde __ Gray __ White __Red __ Sandy __ Bald (No hair) __

Eye Color: Brown __ Blue __ Green __ Hazel __ Gray __ Black __ Pink __ Maroon __ Other __

List all clubs you belong to:

_______________________________

_______________________________

_______________________________

Are you willing to take the full Oath of Allegiance to the United States? Yes __ No __


Fingerprinting

Objective: Students will learn that fingerprinting is part of the process of becoming an American citizen.

Materials:

  • Ink Pad with washable ink
  • An index card for each student
  • Soap, water, paper towels

Procedures:

  1. Give an index card to each applicant (student).
  2. Have them write their name and mark a space for each finger: Thumb, index, middle, ring, and pinky.
  3. Pair up students.
  4. One student in the pair acts as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Officer.
  5. Have “Officer” fingerprint only one hand. Take each finger one at a time, roll on to the ink pad, then roll on to index card below corresponding mark (thumb, index, etc.).
  6. Have applicant wash hand.
  7. Switch roles.


Classroom Test 1

1) What are the first three words of the Constitution of the United States?

__________________________________________________________________

2) Why does the flag have fifty stars?

__________________________________________________________________

3) In what month do we vote for the President?

__________________________________________________________________

4) What is the highest court in the United States?

__________________________________________________________________

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

__________________________________________________________________

6) Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?

__________________________________________________________________

7) Who was the first President?

__________________________________________________________________

8) Name one state that borders Canada.

__________________________________________________________________

Note: Have student study all and answer five (5).


Classroom Test 2

1) Name one state that borders Mexico.

__________________________________________________________________

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

__________________________________________________________________

3) We elect a President for how many years?

__________________________________________________________________

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

__________________________________________________________________

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

__________________________________________________________________

6) Who vetoes bills?

__________________________________________________________________

7) Who is the Governor of your state now?

__________________________________________________________________

8) When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

__________________________________________________________________

Note: Have student study all and answer five (5).


Classroom Test 1 Answer Key

1) What are the first three words of the Constitution of the United States?

Answer: We the People

2) Why does the flag have fifty (50) stars?

Answer: Because there are fifty (50) states

3) In what month do we vote for President?

Answer: November

4) What is the highest court in the United States?

Answer: The Supreme Court

5) What is the name of the current President of the United States now?

Answer: Barack Obama

6) Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?

Answer: American Indians or Native Americans

7) Who was the first President?

Answer: George Washington

8) Name one state that borders Canada.

Answer: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Alaska


Classroom Test 2 Answer Key

1) Name one state that borders Mexico.

Answer: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas

2) What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?

Answer: Joseph R. Biden, Jr. or Joe Biden or Biden

3) We elect a President for how many years?

Answer: Four (4)

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

Answer: The Bill of Rights

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

Answer: War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish-American War

6) Who vetoes bills?

Answer: The President

7) Who is the Governor of your state now?

Answer: Will vary. (District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. does not have a Governor.)

8) When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

Answer: July 4, 1776.


OATH of Allegiance

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

© 2016 Helen Kampion; The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance