From the Blog

USCIS Reverts to the 2008 Version of the Naturalization Civics Test

The USCIS announced yesterday that it is going back to the 2008 version of the naturalization civics test beginning March 1, 2021.  

On Dec. 1, 2020, the USCIS announced the use of a new naturalization civics test as part of their review and update process. The USCIS determined the 2020 civics test inadvertently created barriers to the citizenship. Going back to the old test is consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems. 

The 2008 civics test was thoroughly 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 was piloted before its implementation. The USCIS wants a process as accessible as possible as directed by President Biden’s request to review the process thoroughly.

The civics test is administered to applicants who apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization and is one of the requirements of naturalization. Applicants must demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and form of government of the United States. The USCIS stated that it is committed to 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, likely have been studying for the 2020 test; therefore, USCIS will give these applicants the option to take either the 2020 civics test or the 2008 civics test. 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.

For more information on the civics test or the naturalization process, call me at 616-233-9300. My name is Robert Mirque and I am an immigration lawyer in Grand Rapids, Michigan.