USCIS has revised the U.S Citizenship/Naturalization Test. The Civics test and the English test are the two parts that make up the Naturalization test. Only the Civics test has been revised, not the English test. The new 2020 version of the Civics test is far more challenging to pass than the old 2008 version.
▶ If your application filing date is before December 1st, then you will take the old (2008 version) of the exam.
▶ If your application filing date is after December 1st, then you will take the new (2020 version) of the exam.
Why is the new Civics Test harder to pass than the old one?
The new test is longer
There are more questions. The old Civics Test has 100 questions. The new test has 128 questions.
You need to answer twice as many questions correctly.
Both the old and the new test require a passing score of 60%. For the old test, you have to answer 6 questions correctly. The new test requires you to answer 12 questions correctly.
The new test is harder for English learners
The new test has a higher level of complexity. Some questions on the new test require more answers and more detailed answers than the old test. It features more nuanced questions and more questions that test the applicant’s understanding of U.S. history and civics.
Some questions on the new test require more answers
While the 2008 test required applicants to name one of the three branches of government, the new exam asks immigrants to name all of them.
Another example, the new test requires applicants to name not three of the original 13 states, but five.
Having to memorize more civics answers makes it even more difficult for applicants with low English proficiency to pass the test.
With application backlogs mounting due to the effects of COVID and new regulations, it can take one year or longer to become a U.S. citizen.
In addition to a new and harder citizenship test, obtaining citizenship has become more challenging in the following ways:
● it is harder for people to obtain asylum
● there is a proposed increase to the costs of applying for citizenship, potentially doubling the cost of the current fees
● issuing green cards has been suspended to some immigrants seeking temporary work in the country
● fees may be raised on immigration benefits, including for H-1B high-skilled workers, H-2A seasonal agriculture workers and many other temporary worker programs
● fee waivers may be eliminated for people that can’t afford to pay green card fees or citizenship application fees
● some immigration forms have increased in length, and many new questions have been added
▶ The biggest dream for many immigrants to the U.S. is to become an American citizen. Obtaining citizenship has never been more difficult to achieve and it’s only getting harder. So, now is the best time to start the application process. The benefits of being a U.S. citizen are too great to pass up.
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