USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) announced that it would be reverting to the 2008 version of the naturalization civics test as of March 1, 2021.
On Dec. 1, 2020, USCIS implemented a revised naturalization civics test (2020 civics test) as part of a decennial test review and update process. USCIS determined the 2020 civics test development process, content, testing procedures, and implementation schedule may inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process. This action is consistent with the framework of the Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems, which directs a comprehensive review of the naturalization process to eliminate barriers and make the process more accessible to all eligible individuals.
The 2008 civics test was thoroughly developed over a multi-year period with the input of more than 150 organizations, which included English as a second language experts, educators, and historians, and was piloted before its implementation. USCIS aspires to make the process as accessible as possible as directed by President Biden’s request to review the process thoroughly.
The civics test is administered to applicants who apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization and is one of the statutory requirements for naturalizing. Applicants must demonstrate a 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 in and commitment to this country. USCIS is committed to administering a test that is an instrument of civic learning and fosters civic integration as part of the test preparation process.
Applicants who filed their application for naturalization on or after Dec. 1, 2020, and before March 1, 2021, likely have been studying for the 2020 test; therefore, USCIS will give these applicants the option to take either the 2020 civics test or the 2008 civics test. There will be a transition period where both tests are being offered. The 2020 test will be phased out on April 19, 2021, for initial test takers. Applicants filing on or after March 1, 2021, will take the 2008 civics test.
Before heading to your naturalization (or citizenship) interview at the USCIS Philadelphia Field Office, make sure to thoroughly read over the interview notice that was mailed to you. Normally, the notice will ask you to bring the following documents with you to your interview: the notice itself, identification such as a driver's license, your Form I-551 (green card), your passports (expired and unexpired), IRS tax transcripts for the past five years and any original documents that you provided copies of when you submitted your naturalization application (Form N-400).
If you have ever been arrested, then you must bring complete arrest report(s), certified court disposition(s), and probation report(s) (if applicable). If your record has been sealed or expunged, you must still provide this information. If a record is no longer available, you must provide original documentation from the corresponding agency to that effect.
If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 31, you must bring proof that you registered with the Selective Service System between the ages of 18 and 26.
If for some reason you are not able of taking the full oath of allegiance to the United States, you should be able to document how your beliefs stop you from fully taking the oath.
If you have minor children whom do not live with you, you must bring evidence that you are financially supporting them.
There are other requirements if you are seeking to naturalize based on being in marital union with a U.S. citizen for the past three years.
It is possible to be exempted to varying degrees from the testing requirements if you meet certain qualifications or have certain medical/psychological disabilities.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, you must wear a mask while at USCIS and USCIS recommends that you bring your own pen.