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USCIS Reverts to the 2008 Version of the Naturalization Civics Test

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Pasricha & Patel

USCIS has announced that starting on March 1, 2021, it is reverting back to the 2008 version of the naturalization civics test.

Initially, on December 1, 2020, the USCIS had introduced a revised naturalization civics test (also referred to as the 2020 civics test) which had made changes to the test content and also added the number of questions for the N-400 naturalization applicants to study (from 100 possible questions in the prior 2008 civics test to 128 possible questions in the 2020 civics test), and also updated the number of questions the applicants must answer correctly in order to pass from six (6) out of ten (10) to twelve (12) out of twenty (20) questions.

After taking into account approximately 2,500 public comments regarding the 2020 civics test, the USCIS has taken further consideration about various public commenters who were concerned about the limited time for study and preparation of training materials and resources, and also because there was little advance notice before the new 2020 civics test was implemented, the USCIS has decided that it will revert to the 2008 test.

  • USCIS also decided that those applicants who had filed for their naturalization applications on or after December 1, 2020 and before March1, 2021 – and most likely they have been studying for the 2020 test already– that they will be given the option to take either the 2020 civics test or the 2008 civics test.
  • There will be a transition period where both tests will be offered to the applicant.
  • The 2020 civics test will be phased out on April 19, 2021, for initial test takers.
  • Applicants who file their N-400 naturalization applications on or after March 1, 2021, will take the 2008 civics test.
  • USCIS will administer the 2008 civics test to all applicants whose initial examination (interview) is scheduled to take place on or after April 19, 2021 (regardless of their filing date).
  • The USCIS will only ask civics test questions until the applicant passes or fails either the 2008 civics test or the 2002 civics test.

This policy change is in line with the current Biden administration’s goal to review relevant USCIS guidelines and policies and to make the naturalization process as accessible as possible to all eligible applicants.

As this policy change represents the continuing changes that we have been seeing in immigration rules and regulations in the past few months, we do encourage readers to continue to check back with us for any news and updates.

Should you have any specific questions about the naturalization process or immigration questions in general, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule consultation so that we can assist with your matter further.