US to revise naturalisation test

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it will revise the current naturalisation test to ensure it continues to serve as an accurate measure of an applicants’ civic knowledge.

The goal, the USCIS says, is to create a meaningful, uniform, and efficient test that will assess applicants’ knowledge and understanding of US history, government and values.

“Granting US citizenship is the highest honour our nation bestows,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “Updating, maintaining, and improving a test that is current and relevant is our responsibility as an agency in order to help potential new citizens fully understand the meaning of US citizenship and the values that unite all Americans.”

In December 2018, USCIS formed a naturalisation test revision working group consisting of members from across the agency. The working group has been reviewing and updating the naturalisation test questions. The working group will also assess potential changes to the speaking portion of the test.

USCIS is soliciting the input of experts in the field of adult education to ensure that this process is fair and transparent. After careful analysis of the pilot, and thorough officer training, USCIS will set an implementation date in December 2020 or early 2021.

Section 312 of the Immigration and Nationality Act outlines the English and civics requirements for naturalisation. By law, candidates for naturalisation must have “…an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language…” and “…knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States…”

This test revision will comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements, and USCIS will pilot it this fall.

In Fiscal Year 2018, USCIS naturalised nearly 757,000 people, a five-year high. The naturalisation test revision is a key part of preparing legal immigrants to fully exercise their rights and meet their responsibilities.

Article published 23rd July 2019