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The American Civics Test (also known as the American Citizenship Test, U.S. Civics Test, U.S Citizenship Test, and U.S. Naturalization Test) is an oral examination that all immigrants must pass to gain United States citizenship.
The Civics Test is an oral test that is one of the two components of the Naturalization Interview and Test. To become a United States citizen, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services requires applicants to pass both the Civics and English tests. The test is prepared in English (See 65/20 Special Consideration for language exception).
The questions are about the American government and history. Currently, there are two versions of the test, 2008 and 2020. Which of the two versions the applicant takes will depend on the application's filing date, also known as the "received date."
The test questions are in 3 major categories. However, in addition to the categories stated below, the 2008 version also includes an Integrated Civics category:
- Principle of American Government,
- System of Government,
- Rights and Responsibilities
- Colonial Period and Independence
- Recent American History and Other Important Historical Information
There are 100 civics questions that cover various topics in U.S. history, constitution, and government. For the naturalization process, the applicant will be asked 10 randomly selected questions and must give the correct answer for at least six questions.
In this version, the applicant will be asked 20 questions out of 128. In order to pass the civics test, the applicant will have to answer 12 questions correctly.
65/20 Special ConsiderationEdit
If the applicant is 65 years old or older and has been living in the United States as a lawful permanent resident of the United States for 20 or more years, they may only study for 20 select questions marked with an asterisk. They may also take the civics test in the language of their choice.
2020 Version Test Controversy
During President Donald Trump’s administration, the revised test controversy proliferated when critics claimed the test was more complex than the previous version. The contention was that not only did the number of questions increase, but the wording became more difficult for English learners. In addition, to compound the matter, the online application fee nearly doubled. To that end, immigration organizations warned that the test revision would make it harder for poor immigrants from non-English-speaking countries to become voting citizens. Critics state the test revision was former President Trump's attempt to hamper immigration and citizenship to the U.S.
However, effective March 1, 2021, in alignment with Executive Order 14012—Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, the Joseph Biden administration reverted to the 2008 Civics test.
Civics Education in High SchoolEdit
Arizona became the first state requiring students to pass the civics test before high school graduation. It was expected that all states were to have implemented this requirement by September 17, 2017, the 230th anniversary of the United States Constitution.
Civics Education Initiative led by the nonprofit Joe Foss Institute aims to promote knowledge to all students countrywide. As of 2019, it is still not required by all 50 states.
- U. S. Citizen and Immigration Services (March 3, 2022). "The Naturalization Interview and Test | USCIS". U. S. Citizen and Immigration Services. Retrieved 2022-03-10.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (March 10, 2022). "The 2020 version of the civics test: Which civics test will I take?". U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (January 2019). "Civics(History and Government) Questions for the Naturalization Test" (PDF).
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- Alavarez, P. (November 10, 2020). "Trump administration's revisions to the naturalization exam could make the test harder for immigrants seeking citizenship". CNN.
- U. S. Government Publishing Office. (February 2, 2021). "Executive Order 14012 Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans" (PDF). Govinfo.
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