In the interest of creating a more standardized, fair, and meaningful naturalization process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently completed a multi-year redesign of the naturalization test. The revised test, with an emphasis on the fundamental concepts of American democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, will help encourage citizenship applicants to learn and identify with the basic values we all share as Americans.
The major aim of the redesign process was to ensure that naturalization applicants have uniform, consistent testing experiences nationwide, and that the civics test can effectively assess whether applicants have a meaningful understanding of U.S. government and history. Following a basic U.S. history and civics curriculum, the new test now serves as an important instrument to encourage civic learning and patriotism among prospective citizens.
To accomplish these goals, USCIS initially piloted a new test–with an overhauled English reading and writing section, as well as new history and government questions–in ten sites across the country. The feedback from this pilot was then used to finalize testing procedures, English reading and writing prompts, and a list of 100 new history and government questions. To ensure the pilot accounted for a representative sample of candidates with a variety of education levels, the test was also piloted at adult education sites nationwide.
Which Test Do I Take?
An applicant who:
- Files* the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, BEFORE October 1, 2008, and is scheduled for his or her naturalization interview ON or AFTER October 1, 2008 up until October 1, 2009, can choose to take the old test or the new test.
Files* the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, ON or AFTER October 1, 2008, will take the new test.
Is scheduled for his or her naturalization interview ON or AFTER October 1, 2009, regardless of when he or she filed* the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, will take the new test.
*The Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, is properly filed with USCIS on the date it is received by the appropriate USCIS location with signature, correct fee, and the form is completed according to instructions.