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USCIS Returns to 2008 Version of the Naturalization Civics Test

Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will return to the 2008 version of the civics test for naturalization beginning March 1, 2021.
On December 1, 2020, USCIS implemented a revised version of the civics test for naturalization (2020 civics test) as part of a decennial review and update process. USCIS determined that the 2020 civics test content, assessment procedures, and implementation schedule could inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process. This action is consistent with the operational framework of the Executive Order to Restore Faith in Our Legal Immigration System which mandates a comprehensive evaluation of the naturalization process in order to remove barriers and make the process more accessible to all eligible individuals.

The 2008 civics test was carefully developed over a period of several years with input from more than 150 organizations, including English as a Second Language experts, educators and historians, and was tested prior to implementation. USCIS aims to make the process as accessible as possible as directed by President Biden’s request to thoroughly review the process.

The civics test is administered to applicants applying for U.S. citizenship through naturalization and is one of the legal requirements for naturalization. Applicants must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of U.S. history, principles, and form of government. The decision to naturalize demonstrates an investment and commitment to this country. USCIS is committed to administering a test that is a civics learning tool and encourages civic integration as part of the test preparation process.

Applicants who filed their naturalization application on or after December 1, 2020, and before March 1, 2021, have likely studied for the 2020 exam, and, therefore, USCIS will give these applicants the option of taking either the 2020 civics exam or the 2008 civics exam. There will be a transition period where both exams will be offered. The 2020 exam will be eliminated on April 19, 2021 for those taking the exam for the first time. Applicants who apply on or after March 1, 2021 will take the 2008 exam.

Test topics and study guides are available in the Citizenship Resource Center on the USCIS website. USCIS has also updated the Policy Manual accordingly; see Volume 12, Part E, English and Civics Examinations and Exceptions, Chapter 2, English and Civics Examinations.