A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Friday, November 13, 2020

Naturalization Civics Test Questions to Change December 1st

As part of their interview, naturalization applicants must take a civics test to evaluate their knowledge of American history and government. The civics test will be updated soon. If you filed form N-400 and are waiting for an interview, take note of your receipt date as it will determine which version of the civics test you will be administered. 

The receipt date, or filing date, can be found on the official receipt notice from USCIS in a box titled "Received Date". Applicants with a receipt date on or after December 1st, 2020 will take the 2020 civics test. Those with receipt date before December 1st, 2020 will take the usual 2008 civics test. Note that someone who fails their civics test will be rescheduled to take the same version, regardless of the date. The main differences between the two editions are the number of possible questions you can be asked and how challenging they are. 

Applicants taking the 2020 civics test must correctly answer at least 12 out of 20 questions to pass the civics test -- a large increase from the current 6 out of 10. The 20 questions are pulled from an updated pool of 128 questions. Questions include an updated "Recent American History and Other Important Historical Information" category with topics such as the Persian Gulf War and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Some notably more challenging questions that have been added include "The Nation’s first motto was “E Pluribus Unum.” What does that mean?" and "How many Supreme Court justices are usually needed to decide a case?". 

Applicants 65 years-old or older and with at least 20 years of permanent residence will still only need to answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly, with the 10 questions chosen from a pool of 20. The difference is that the pool of 20 questions have been altered. Applicants can be asked questions such as to name the current Speaker of the House of Representatives or list an achievement of a certain historical figure such as Abraham Lincoln. 

Overall, the civics test questions are slightly more numerous and in-depth, which can make things more difficult for applicants that did not attend school growing up in America. However, the updated (and the current) list of questions and accepted answers is provided on the USCIS website. No matter which test you are slated to take, diligent and timely preparation is key to passing the test and gaining citizenship.

 (Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule legal consultation.) 

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