On December 14th, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made an announcement in regard to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plan to put an updated naturalization test through its paces. One of the last steps in a person’s naturalization process is the citizenship test. This test is divided into two sections: an English exam that gauges a candidate’s proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking as well as a civics test that measures their familiarity with American history and government. The new citizenship test trial’s objectives are to evaluate a newly constructed English-speaking component and a civics component with revised structure and content that may become standard.
President Biden’s Executive Order 14012, which includes a directive to review the naturalization process, has led the USCIS to decide to review the citizenship test in order to restore faith in the legal immigration systems of the United States and to strengthen integration and inclusion efforts for new Americans. To better test standards in response to this presidential order, USCIS subject matter experts reviewed the citizenship exam and suggested revamping the speaking and civics exams. The suggested changes are in line with the criticism USCIS has heard from several outside stakeholder organizations.
The changes to the citizenship test will be based on comments from stakeholders on the naturalization test’s structure and uniformity. Volunteer community-based organizations (CBOs) that assist immigrants with learning English as a second language will also assist USCIS in conducting the experiment. To take the experimental exam, USCIS will look for around a thousand people who are enrolled in adult education programs and put them through the new citizenship test trial.