The United States Citizenship and Immigeration Services (USCIS) on Feb 23 announced that it is reverting to the 2008 version of naturalisation civics test. The test will be available from March 1, 2021. This move will roll back the 2020 citizenship test, introduced by the Trump administration, which had political undertones. The 2008 version of the test is expected to make paths to US citizenship more accessible to eligible applicants.
According to USCIS, the 2020 test will be phased out on April 19, 2021. USCIS will give applicants the option to take either the 2020 civics test or the 2008 civics test for those who filed their application for naturalisation on or after December 1, 2020, and before March 1, 2021. Applicants filing on or after March 1, 2021, will take the 2008 test.
USCIS in a statement said, “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 naturalisation process to eliminate barriers and make the process more accessible to all eligible individuals.”
“The decision to naturalise demonstrates an investment in and commitment to this country. USCIS is committed to administering a test that is an instrument of civic learning and fosters civic integration as part of the test preparation process,” emphasised the statement by USCIS.
Individuals applying for US citizenship by naturalisation have to give the civics test as per the statutory requirement. The naturalization test has two parts. The first part is an English test that assesses the applicant’s ability to read, write, and speak in English. The second part is a civics test. This test requires the applicants to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and form of government of the United States.
The USCIS said, “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. USCIS aspires to make the process as accessible as possible as directed by President Biden’s request to review the process thoroughly.”