USCIS Reverts Back To 2008 Version Of Civics Test For US Citizenship, Starting Today

Starting today, March 1, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is reverting back to the 2008 version the naturalization civics test. This is in keeping with President Biden’s executive order demanding that faith be restored in the U.S. legal immigration systems.

The Trump administration had sought to change the format of the mandatory civics test with an intention to make it tougher. The 2020 civics test was made such that it was harder to pass. More questions and topics of coverage were added to the 2020 version. According to USCIS, the 2020 civics test created potential barriers for foreign nationals legally trying to naturalize.

The older 2008 version of the civics test was thoroughly developed over a multi-year period with input from over 150 organizations and was piloted before its implementation. 

This new test was applicable to foreign nationals who are applying to naturalize as a U.S. citizen on or after December 1, 2020.

What is the Civics Test?

Every eligible applicant seeking to naturalize as a U.S. citizen, has to give a civics test. This is in addition to the testing his ability to read, write and speak in regular English.

The topics for the civics test cover U.S. history, civics and government bodies. The passing score for the civics test is 60%. Candidates must answer 12 questions correctly, out of 20 in order to pass. Applicants over 65 years of age only answer 10 questions and should answer at least six questions correctly in order to pass.

What To Expect With The U.S. Citizenship Civics Test Format, Effective March 1, 2021

All applicants filing for Naturalization today or after today, March 1, 2021 will be tested on the older, more familiar 2008 version of the civics test. After April 19, 2021, USCIS will offer only the 2008 civics test, regardless of filing date.

USCIS clarified that all applicants who filed for naturalization after December 1, 2020 and until today, were given the option to either take the new updated 2020 civics test or the older 2008 version of the civics test. 

This option is given to everyone with an initial interview scheduled before April 19, 2021.

Table below shows the changes:

N-400 Filing Date:Initial Interview date:Version of the Civics test:
Before 12/1/2020N/A2008
On or after 12/1/2020 and before 3/1/2021Before 4/19/2021  2008(2020 optional)
On or after 12/1/2020 and before 3/1/2021After 4/19/20212008
After 3/1/2021After 4/19/20212008

President Biden is taking several steps to fix the U.S. immigration system and reverse many of the stringent policies instituted by the former president. According to an Executive Order, the Biden administration is determined to “restore faith in the legal immigration systems and strengthening integration and inclusion efforts for new Americans”

If you are preparing for the Civics test before being naturalized as a U.S. citizen, here’s how you can prepare for your Civics test.