USCIS Announces Return to 2008 Naturalization Civics Test

February 23, 2021 Ian Love

Key Points

  • USCIS will resume using the 2008 civics test on March 1, 2021
  • USCIS is revoking the 2020 pilot civics test implemented in December 2020
  • The return to the 2008 civics is consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems
  • The civics test is a requirement for all individuals seeking U.S. citizenship through naturalization
  • Applicants who applied for naturalization between December 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021 may choose to take either the 2020 or 2008 civics test
  • The 2020 civics test will be phased out on April 19, 2021

Overview

On March 1, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will return to using the 2008 version of its naturalization civics test.

What are the Changes?

USCIS introduced a revised naturalization civics test in 2020 as part of its naturalization test review and update process that takes place every 10 years. However, the agency will return to using the existing test from 2008 after finding that the proposed 2020 civics test content, development process, testing process and implementation plan may cause barriers in the naturalization process.

Background

USCIS implemented the 2008 civics test after thoroughly developing the test over years with more than 150 organizations. The 2008 civics test was also piloted prior to its implementation. The return to the 2008 civics test is consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems, which orders a comprehensive review of the naturalization process to remove barriers and make the process easier for all individuals. 

What Should Employers and Applicants Know?

The civics test is mandatory for individuals who apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization. Applicants must demonstrate fundamental knowledge and understanding of the government, history and principles of the U.S.

Applicants who applied for naturalization between December 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021 may choose to take either the 2020 or 2008 civics test, depending on which one they studied for.

Looking Ahead

The 2020 civics test will be phased out on April 19, 2021. Applicants who are filing on or after March 1, 2021 must take the 2008 civics test.


Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Ian Love, who is a Managing Attorney at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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