The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it will revert to the 2008 version of the naturalization civics test starting March 1, 2021. This decision came after the USCIS previously implemented a revised version of the test on December 1, 2020. The agency stated that the revised test was intended to “create a meaningful, uniform, and efficient test that effectively assesses applicants’ knowledge of U.S. history, government, and civic values.”
However, the new test received criticism from some immigration experts and advocates who argued that it was unnecessarily difficult and had a higher bar for passing compared to the previous version. The new test included a longer reading section, more questions, and required applicants to answer more questions correctly to pass. In addition, the new test was implemented with very little notice, leaving many applicants scrambling to prepare for the updated material.
The USCIS decision to revert to the 2008 version of the test is a welcome relief for many prospective citizens. The previous test consisted of 100 questions, and applicants were asked ten questions from the pool of questions during their interview. They were required to answer at least six questions correctly to pass. The new test had 128 questions, and applicants were asked 20 questions, with 12 correct answers required to pass.
The previous version of the test also had a more straightforward format, with questions focused on basic civics and U.S. history. The revised version, on the other hand, included more complex and nuanced questions, which were challenging even for native-born Americans. For example, some of the new questions included asking about the specific rights protected under the First Amendment, which Supreme Court case established the concept of judicial review, and the names of U.S. senators and representatives from the applicant’s state.
By reverting to the 2008 version of the test, the USCIS is making the naturalization process more accessible to applicants, which is in line with the agency’s goal of ensuring that the immigration system is fair and efficient. This decision will also ease the burden on immigration attorneys, who were concerned about the need to adjust their practice to accommodate the revised test.
In conclusion, the USCIS decision to revert to the 2008 version of the naturalization civics test is a positive development for applicants seeking to become U.S. citizens. The previous test was straightforward, fair, and efficient, which is exactly what the naturalization process should be. By making the test more accessible, the USCIS is helping to ensure that the immigration system is fair and efficient, which is beneficial for all stakeholders involved.