U.S. Citizenship & The Naturalization Process (Advanced Lesson)

ESL/EFL Level: C1/C2 (Advanced)
Lesson Topics: the immigration process, the value of U.S. citizenship
Skill Focus: Listening, Speaking, Vocabulary
Approximate Class Time: 2 hours
Lesson Plan Downloads: us-citizenship-naturalization-advanced-072024.docx
Supplementary Materials (Optional): naturalization-process-explained.pdf, American-citizenship-lesson-advanced.pptx, ESL_Vocabulary_Exercises American Citizenship.pdf
Lesson Overview:

  • Note: The concept for this lesson and several of its activities were contributed by a member, Said El Bouzdoudi. Thank you Said for the great topic!
  • The lesson begins with several warm-up questions about immigration and the U.S.
  • The lesson is based on a 7-minute YouTube video by LawShelf on the naturalization process. By removing the Oath of Allegiance section, the playtime can be cut down to under 6 minutes. Because the video is somewhat long, I have broken it into four shorter parts. For each part, students are asked to preview two or three comprehension questions and then watch the related section (which is linked as a clip that should only play that section).
  • After the comprehension questions are complete, students review some key vocabulary from the video and then complete a vocabulary-matching activity. Next, students  form discussion questions using the target vocabulary.
  • There are two debate topics related to U.S. immigration.
  • The lesson has two role-play situations. The first is a discussion between two partners who want to immigrate to the U.S. One wishes to immigrate legally by starting as an international student, the other chooses the risky Darien Gap. The second roleplay is a citizenship interview between an aspiring U.S. citizen and a USCIS officer who must determine if the applicant should be granted citizenship.
  • Next, as a thought experiment, students try to redesign their country's citizenship test to ensure it can filter out only the highest quality candidates. The final group activity requires students to categorize U.S. cultural exports as either beneficial or harmful.
  • After famous quotations, the lesson ends with a review of vocabulary and collocations before presenting some final discussion questions.
  • Overall, the lesson is full of fun speaking activities and relevant vocabulary for someone interested in becoming a U.S. citizen.

An AI-generated image of a immigration swearing-in ceremony

ADVANCED (C1/C2) Lesson on U.S. Citizenship


  1. What are the reasons that some people immigrate to the United States?
  2. Where in the U.S. would you settle if you immigrated there?
  3. What do you know about the immigration process to become an American citizen?

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This lesson plan was created by Said El Bouzdoudi and Matthew Barton EnglishCurrent.com (copyright). Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. ChatGPT was used to generate answer keys and some famous quotations. For questions, contact the author.

Comprehension Question Answer Key

  1. The common thread that connects all Americans is citizenship.
  2. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalized more than 7.4 million people in the last decade.
  3. The top five countries of origin for new U.S. citizens are Mexico, India, the Philippines, China, and Cuba.
  4. Rights gained by a naturalized U.S. citizen include the right to vote, sit on a jury, travel with a U.S. passport, live in the U.S. without fear of deportation, and hold certain public offices.
  5. Economic benefits of U.S. citizenship include access to government job opportunities, employers treating citizenship as a sign of integration, and avoiding discrimination in hiring.
  6. The steps in the naturalization process are determining eligibility, preparing and submitting Form N-400, attending a biometrics appointment, completing the interview and taking English and civics tests, and taking the oath of allegiance.
  7. An applicant must be 18 years old and a permanent resident for at least five years.
  8. An applicant must show basic knowledge of English, U.S. history, and U.S. government.
  9. The most in-depth part of Form N-400 is Part 12, which asks about issues like alcohol use, prison time, illegal gambling, drug smuggling, and involvement in genocide, torture, or terrorism. J. During the naturalization interview, a USCIS officer asks questions about the applicant’s Form N-400 and background, tests the applicant’s English language abilities, and administers the English and civics tests.
  10. The purpose of the oath of allegiance is to promise to uphold and protect the country and its foundational ideas.
  11. The number of naturalization applications in Arizona increased by 48 percent over the past three years, leading to a backlog of 13,680 pending cases.

Vocabulary 1-underpin, 2-deportation, 3-allegiance, 4-permanent resident, 5-backlog, 6-civics, 7-naturalization, 8-eligbility, 9-exhaustive, 10-swearing-in ceremony, 11-jaw-dropping, 12-oath

Collocations 1-c, 2-a, 3-f/g, 4-e, 5-d, 6-f/g, 7-b

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