USCIS reverts to 2008 version of the naturalization civics test


FILE – In this Aug. 16, 2019, file photo a citizen candidate holds an American flag and the words to The Star-Spangled Banner before the start of a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Miami field office in Miami. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers can now create fictitious social media accounts to monitor information on foreigners seeking visas, green cards and citizenship.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

WASHINGTON (ABC4) – The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Monday that it will be reverting to the 2008 version of the naturalization civics test beginning March 1, 2021.

USCIS implemented a revised naturalization civics test on Dec. 1, 2020, (2020 civics test) as part of a decennial test review and update process. 

In a news release, USCIS says they determined that the 2020 civics test development process, content, testing procedures, and implementation schedule may inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process.

Officials added that this action is consistent with “the framework of the Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems”, which directs a comprehensive review of the naturalization process to remove barriers and make the process more accessible to all who are eligible.

The 2008 civics test was developed over a multi-year period with the input of more than 150 organizations, which included English as a second language experts, educators, and historians, and officials say it was piloted before it was implemented. 

USCIS says they aim to make the process as accessible as possible as directed by President Biden’s request to review the process thoroughly. 

The civics test is given to applicants who apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization and is one of the statutory requirements for naturalizing.

Applicants must demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and form of government of the United States. Officials also said the decision to naturalize demonstrates an investment in and commitment to this country. 

USCIS says they are committed to administering a test that is an “instrument of civic learning and fosters civic integration” as part of the test preparation process.

Applicants who filed their application for naturalization on or after Dec. 1, 2020, and before March 1, 2021, will be given the option to take either the 2020 civics test or the 2008 civics test. 

USCIS says there will be a transition period where both tests are being offered. The 2020 test will be phased out on April 19, 2021, for initial test takers. Applicants filing on or after March 1, 2021, will take the 2008 civics test.

The test items and study guides can be found on the Citizenship Resource Center on the USCIS website. 

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