New changes to the naturalization test that is required before becoming a U.S. citizen were introduced by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) yesterday. For most naturalization applicants, the length of the test has doubled, though the pass/fail rate has remained the same at 60 percent. The pool of questions that could be asked on the test has expanded from 100 questions to 128 questions, requiring test takers to study for more possible questions. The test itself is also asking more difficult questions. The updated naturalization test has been criticized as unnecessary and vindictive.
The move by USCIS to implement the harder test has been interpreted by critics as a Trump administration move to reduce the levels of legal immigration. In addition to the number of possible questions and the increased number of questions on the test, many of the questions themselves have become more difficult. One question, for example, used to ask applicants to name three of the original 13 U.S. states, but the new test asks applicants to name five. The harder questions and larger question pool could lead to more applicants failing the exam.
Administering the tests may also take more than twice as long, making it so fewer applicants can take the test each day. Previously, test administrators would ask up to 10 questions, but would stop after an applicant reached a passing grade of six correct answers. Test administrators must now ask all 20 questions, even after applicants have answered 12 questions correctly. The tests, administered orally and individually, cannot be sped up by having more test takers in the room.
The backlog of immigrants wanting to become naturalized citizens of the United States could continue to grow as fewer applicants pass the longer test and fewer tests are processed every day. Immigration advocates and analysts are encouraging President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration to review the changes made to the naturalization exam, though it is unclear what changes, if any, will be made.
You can see the updated immigration questions here.
The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth still encourages every eligible immigrant to apply for citizenship when they become eligible to do so. The benefits of U.S. citizenship make the difficult journey worth it. Our immigration law firm helps immigrants to the United States during all stages of the immigration process, including the naturalization process. We provide free initial consultations, so call us today at 888-517-9888.