President Biden’s citizenship test will eliminate the Trump administration’s recent change to the test. USCIS issued a policy alert on Monday regarding the Biden Administration’s decision to eliminate the Trump-era naturalization civics test, which was highly criticized for its more stringent questions. Instead, the test will revert to the 2008 version beginning March 1, 2021.
Trump vs. Biden Citizenship Test
Trump released the revised test just before leaving office on December 1, 2020, and it included more questions for applicants to answer—128 versus 100 in the previous version. It also required them to answer 12 out of 20 correctly instead of six out of 10.
In their alert, USCIS noted:
USCIS received approximately 2,500 comments from the public regarding the 2020 civics test and the policy. Multiple commenters noted that there was little advance notice before implementation of the 2020 civics test, which raised concerns about limited time for study and preparation of training materials and resources. Due to the comments and in keeping with the Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, 3 USCIS will revert to the 2008 test.
While USCIS is in the process of rolling out the old version, there will be both versions of the test available to “accommodate certain naturalization applicants who filed on or after December 1, 2020, and before March 1, 2021, and are scheduled for an interview before April 19, 2021. This is because such applicants may have already been studying for the 2020 civics test. USCIS will provide notices to such applicants affected by the policy update.” Applicants will also still need to pass an English proficiency test.
The Biden citizenship test is just one of the many steps the new administration will take in line with his immigration reform plans for the U.S., and this policy change will affect hundreds of thousands of people who take the test annually.
What is included in the Civics Test?
To pass the civics examination, you must demonstrate an understanding of U.S. history, forms of government, and the fundamental principles of the country. You can use this study guide provided to learn which answers are acceptable to pass the test.
One example of a question is, “How many amendments does the Constitution have?” The answer is 27.
The questions you have to answer are randomly selected and are administered verbally by an immigration officer. The test is over when you answer the minimum number of questions necessary to pass the test. You can see an overview of the 2008 civics test which will be reimplemented in March on the USCIS website. There is a special consideration for individuals who are 65 or older and have been living in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for 20 or more years. For those people, they can study the 20 questions marked with an asterisk (*).
The Naturalization Interview
The naturalization interview happens after you have filed and completed your N-400. The cost of filing the N-400 is $640 plus an additional $85 biometric fee, so it is $725. Make your check payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. You’ll be asked different questions under oath to determine your eligibility to be a citizen. Questions you may be asked include your background including past marriages, where you have lived, your moral character, your allegiance to the U.S. constitutional principles, and whether you will take the United States Oath of Allegiance. The officer asking the questions will also evaluate your ability to understand and respond in English. Always be honest with the officer and if you aren’t sure about a question, never lie. Instead, say, “I don’t know.”
Benefits of Obtaining U.S. Citizenship
There are many advantages of being a U.S. citizen, and we hope to help you on your path. As a citizen, you can vote, be employed with the federal government, and you can be eligible to receive financial aid for higher education. Another benefit is you can not be deported from the country. Furthermore, citizens have a higher preference when trying to sponsor family members for green cards. To ensure the highest chances of passing your naturalization test plus providing all the correct documentation, it’s highly advised to hire an immigration specialist. VisaNation Law Group has exceptional approval rates in helping their clients gain citizenship and offer free consultations.