In July, the Trump administration announced that the naturalization civics exam immigrants take to become U.S. citizens will be undergoing major changes. While the test was first issued in 1986, it hasn’t been revised since 2008.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sent out the following tweet to inform the public of the changes:
“We’re improving the current naturalization test to ensure it will continue to accurately measure a naturalization applicant’s civics knowledge and reflect best practices in adult education assessments.”
The specific changes have yet to be revealed by the agency, but acting director Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement that “updating, maintaining, and improving a test that is current and relevant” is the responsibility of the USCIS.
While immigration advocates are concerned the new changes to the citizenship test might be used for ulterior purposes, USCIS says it is working closely with “experts in the field of adult education to ensure that this process is fair and transparent."
What Is Covered on the Naturalization Civics Exam?
The current civics test that USCIS uses consists of 10 questions chosen from a list of 100. Applicants have to correctly answer at least six of the ten questions to pass the test. Even for native-born citizens, the test can be very challenging. According to one poll, only about a third of American adults are capable of passing the citizenship exam.
The current exam covers:
- American Government
- American History
- Integrated Civics
Immigrants have two opportunities to pass the civics test. According to data from USCIS data, 90% of immigrants who take the test end up passing. In 2018; 757,000 people became naturalized citizens, according to USCIS. This number represents a five-year high for the agency.
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