The US seeks to change the test for American citizenship

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will carry out a new experimental test at the national level to obtain US citizenship, as announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through a notification in the Federal Register.

With this new immigration measure, the Administration of President Joe Biden intends to review and update a part of the examination of the current naturalization process. It is not a total change, but an improvement of a part of the current tests.

This experimental exam will take place over a five-month period in 2023. Virtual testing will begin on January 23, according to the same notice in the Federal Register.

What are the changes to the American citizenship test?

The current naturalization test consists of four parts: reading, writing, civics, and English speaking ability.

The first two parts, reading and writing, standard tests that serve as a pattern with characteristics common to most, do not change.

However, the experiential exam focuses on the second part, specifically on civics, which assesses knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of US history and the principles and forms of US government. There are also changes to the English language comprehension and speaking ability test.

Before making any changes, it is a matter of evaluating the civics component with a more updated format and content, as well as the English expression part that could later become standard.

President Biden’s Executive Order 14012, called “Restoring Faith in Our Immigration Legal Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans,” includes a rule to review the naturalization process.

Why is this new experimental test for naturalization being conducted?

Experts in US citizenship, and in different USCIS subjects, are the ones who have recommended the need to improve the standards of the English oral expression and civic education exams.

These same experts are in charge of redesigning the changes in these tests to make citizenship easier for everyone and making all the updates to the naturalization test.

Read more: There is good news for residents with green cards who apply for US citizenship

All of these updates are based on feedback from these experts.

“The naturalization test is a key step in becoming a US citizen,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. “We welcome feedback and participation from stakeholders familiar with this important process as we improve and update our naturalization test and ensure it is consistent with industry testing standards.”

USCIS Seeks Volunteers for Experimental Citizenship Test

USCIS will administer this pilot test with the help of community-based organizations (CBOs), which are currently working with immigrant English language learners and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) students preparing for US citizenship.

For this pilot project, USCIS is seeking approximately 1,500 people enrolled in adult education classes to take this pilot exam. Participation in this trial is completely voluntary for both organizations and prospective US citizens.

Any experiential exams conducted during or as part of the test will not affect any naturalization applications that may be filed with USCIS during the period of this test, the Federal Register notice ensures.

USCIS, which can use the experimental test results to support changes to the naturalization test, has advised that any final changes will be announced through a separate notice in the Federal Register when the experimental tests are complete.

The agency has also indicated that it will invite stakeholders to submit written data, views, comments, and opinions on all aspects of this nationwide pilot test. Comments can be emailed to:

This story was originally published on December 14, 2022 3:29 pm.

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Isabel Olmos is a Public Service reporter. At el Nuevo Herald she has written stories for Trasfondo, Locales, Revista Viernes and Galería 305, and has covered fundamental topics such as health, art, cooking and travel. She is a scriptwriter for television documentaries. She has a degree in Journalism from the CEU Universidad San Pablo in Valencia, Spain.

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