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USCIS Reverts to the 2008 Version of the Civics Exam for Naturalization

WASHINGTON — The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today that it will revert to the 2008 version of the civics test for naturalization effective March 1, 2021.

On December 1, 2020, USCIS implemented a revised version of the Civics Test for Naturalization (Civics Test 2020) as part of a 10-year review and update process. USCIS determined that the 2020 civics exam content, evaluation 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 Regain Faith in Our Legal Immigration System that mandates a thorough evaluation of the naturalization process in order to remove barriers and make the process more accessible to all eligible individuals.

The 2008 Civics Exam was carefully developed over a multi-year period 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 instructed in President Biden’s request to review the process thoroughly.

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 the history, principles, and form of government of the United States. The decision to naturalize demonstrates an investment and commitment to this country. USCIS is committed to administering an exam that is a civics learning tool and encourages civic integration as part of the exam preparation process.

Applicants who submitted their application for naturalization 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 take the 2020 civics test or the 2008 civics test. There will be a transition period in which both tests will be offered. The 2020 exam will be dropped on April 19, 2021 for those first-time exam takers. Applicants who apply on or after March 1, 2021 will take the 2008 exam.

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

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