U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that beginning March 1st, it will revert to the 2008 version of the naturalization civics test for applicants who apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization by revising the education requirements. The applications in prior years exceed over 830,000 for naturalization.
The civics test is a crucial step to an immigrant’s path toward US citizenship for hundreds of thousands of immigrants seeking citizenship annually. The 2008 civics test was created over a multi-year period with data and suggestions from over 150 organizations, including educators, and historians. The requirements for the test include demonstrating a basic understanding of the English language and knowledge and understanding of civics.
However, the Trump administration on December 1, 2020, revised the naturalization civics test (2020 civics test) as part of a decennial test review and update process which also included updated questions for applicants to study. The test increased from 100 possible questions in the past to 128 possible questions for the 2020 civics test among another more stringent criterion.
As part of the USCIS rulemaking process, the USCIS permits a certain period of time for public comments and in this instance received approximately 2,500 comments from the public regarding the 2020 civics test and the policy. Some of the comments that weighed on the decision indicated little advance notice before implementation of the 2020 civics test indicating there was a limited time for study and preparation for the exam. Hence the consensus is that the new 2020 civics test could create barriers to the naturalization process. As a result, the USCIS will revert to the 2008 test.
We, at Emandi Law Firm, will keep you posted with further updates.