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USCIS Announces a Revised Naturalization Civics Test

USCIS Announces a Revised Naturalization Civics Test


Washington U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it’s going to start using the 2008 form of the naturalization civics test, starting March 1st, 2021. 

Naturalization is a process of granting United States citizenship to a foreigner upon meeting the following requirements:

  1. Being a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. for at least five years, or three if residence was obtained through a spouse.
  2. Being at least 18 years old
  3. Having good moral character – no criminal record, or you volunteer and have a stable work history
  4. Proving your continuous residence in the United States for the last five years, showing that you haven’t been outside of the U.S. for more than a year or 180 consecutive days
  5. Passing the citizenship exam.

The civics test has always served the purpose of examining the dedication and background knowledge of the USA which an applicant exhibits. The questions focus on the candidate’s understanding of U.S. history, government and law, as all are pivotal to participating in the country’s dynamics without trouble. In a sense, USCIS administers the test with the idea of requiring a level of pre-exam integration of the individual into the principles of the country soon to be his or her permanent home. 

The tests are reviewed regularly so they can be improved when needed, so last year, on December 1st, 2020, USCIS presented a renewed naturalization civics test as part of a decennial test evaluation and improvement process. 

The organization came to a conclusion that the 2020 civics test could unintentionally lead to certain obstacles in the naturalization process. The Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems agrees with this decision, since it advocates an overall review of the naturalization process to eliminate possible obstacles and provide a fair opportunity to all potential applicants. 

The decision to bring back the 2008 civics test was likely due to the fact that its development  was a lot more thorough, taking more time and diligence as well as employing the assistance of more than 150 organizations, educators and historians. Naturally, it was also reviewed before its implementation. By using that specific test following the directions of President Biden, USCIS aspires to make the naturalization process more accessible. 

This reversion will be in effect starting March 1st, 2021, which means that all eligible individuals who apply on or after the date will be taking the 2008 civics test. Those who applied for naturalization on or after December 1st, 2020 and before March 1st, 2021, will have an option to choose between the 2020 civics test and the 2008 civics test, in case they’ve been preparing for the wrong one. The 2020 examination will no longer be available starting April 19th, 2021. 

Final thoughts

In case you’ve been preparing for the neutralization process and this revision concerns you, you can find study materials and resources as well as test updates at the Citizenship Resource Center.

Keep in mind it’s best to have proper legal representation, whether you are facing problems with your application process, or simply need additional information. In both cases, you can contact an immigration lawyer Chicago for further inquiries. 


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