Updates to Educational Requirements for Naturalization

Updates to Educational Re…

USCIS recently updated its policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding the educational requirements for naturalization. The educational requirements include knowledge and understanding of the English language and of the history and government of the United States. The update will become effective on December 1, 2020 and will apply to naturalization applications filed on or after that date. USCIS will adjudicate applications filed prior to December 1, 2020 based on the previous policy guidelines. The policy is currently available for comments at www.uscis.gov/outreach/feedback-opportunities. Comments are due December 14, 2020.

What will change under the new policy?

The three key highlights of the policy are as follows:

  • The updated policy will increase the general bank of civics test questions from 100 to 128, increase the number of test questions from 10 to 20, and increase the number of correct answers needed to pass the test from 6 to 12. The test score required to pass, 60%, will not change.
  • It will confirm that USCIS will continue to administer 10 test questions (with 6 required correct answers) to applicants who qualify for special consideration because they:
    1. Are 65 years old or above; or
    2. Have been lawful permanent residents for 20 years or more.
  • It will require that officers ask all 20 test questions (or 10 to applicants who qualify for special consideration) even if applicants achieve a passing score before all 20 questions have been asked.

Why is USCIS changing the policy?

According to the USCIS Policy Alert issued November 13, 2020, USCIS has revised the tests periodically over the years. The most recent revision was in 2008. The revisions are intended to ensure that the content of the tests is "relevant, more meaningful, and comprehensive." Another goal of the revisions is to improve USCIS's ability to assess applicants' knowledge of history and civics as required by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

For More Information:

View the USCIS Policy Alert here.

This blog post does not serve as legal advice and does not establish any client-attorney privilege. Do not take any action based on the information contained in this post without consulting a qualified immigration attorney. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team directly.

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This information comes from a news release from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA Doc. No. 20111331).