The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for the English and civics tests immigrants must take to become U.S. citizens. It has recently released a new version of the civics test. The new version is longer, and many consider it more difficult.
In the past, the civics test was ten questions long. Applicants needed to get six questions correct to pass. The new test is 20 questions long. Applicants must now get 12 questions correct to pass.
According to the New York Times, the new test is also more complex. Eighteen questions from the old test have been removed. Most of those questions had simple, straightforward answers. They have been replaced with questions that are more challenging.
In some cases, applicants will have to pay close attention to the wording to get the question right. In others, more nuance is required. Critics say that the new test represents an unduly conservative viewpoint.
Some new questions, some new answers
One question, for example, has a new answer: “who does a U.S. Senator represent?” In the past, the answer was “all people of the state.” Now, the correct answer is “all citizens of the state.”
One of the new questions added to the test was, “why did the United States enter the Vietnam War?” This is a hotly debated topic and could have multiple correct answers. However, the only acceptable answer on the civics test is “to stop the spread of Communism.”
Some questions became harder. For example, the test used to require applicants to name three of the original 13 American colonies. Now, applicants must name five.
According to one analysis, only 40 out of 100 possible questions remain unchanged. Sixty were newly introduced or reworded.
New test is for those who apply after Dec. 1
If you are considering applying for U.S. citizenship, you will need to study for the new test. It is now in effect for new applicants. If you have already applied and are waiting for your chance to take the civics test, there is a good chance you will take the older version of the test.
If you would like to try an unofficial, nine-question version of the new civics test, the New York Times has a version here.
Becoming a U.S. citizen can be a dream come true for many people. To get started, contact Yew Immigration Law Group. We have years of experience helping people apply for U.S. citizenship.