What are the new changes coming to the U.S. Citizenship Test?

citizenship test

The ​U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (​USCIS) is planning to make changes to the ​U.S. Citizenship Test. The proposed changes include modifications to both the ​English-speaking portion and the civics portion of the test.

For the English-speaking section, USCIS proposes adding a speaking component to assess English skills. Instead of asking personal questions that applicants have already answered in their naturalization paperwork, officers would show applicants photos of ordinary scenarios and ask them to describe the photos verbally.

Regarding the civics section, USCIS is considering oral short-answer questions to multiple-choice questions. This change would require applicants to select the correct answer from a list of choices for each question.

The specific questions that would be asked in the new test have not been disclosed in the search results. However, immigrants and advocates are concerned. There will be greater perspective at the end of 2023 as a trial rolls out and receives reviews. The formal process begins in 2024, so people have time to prepare.

It’s important to note that the USCIS is dedicated to public engagement and is seeking input from interested parties throughout the naturalization process, something in which Voloshen Law, a full-service immigration firm, has plenty of experience. Interested individuals can provide written comments, data, views, and arguments about the trial testing and proposed changes.

What Is the Current Citizenship Tests Like?

Applicants go through a test to check their spoken English skills. The questions consist of information already provided during the naturalization application (like employment and current address). By comparison, the new test provides photographs of daily activities and asks for descriptions. This would seem to have a more subjective element that may be difficult to refine. 

During the current test, applicants answer civics questions based on a pool of 100 possible questions. The new approach offers multiple-choice questions. It’s easy to see where this approach may need greater English efficiency. Advocacy groups are making new programs for immigrants focused on improving their testing proficiency.

Once a person passes the interview and their N-400 is approved, there is a naturalization ceremony. Here, they will have the opportunity to register to vote. 

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The new changes to the US Citizenship verbal test can prove more stressful, particularly for individuals to whom English is their second language. The multiple choice test means a person has to have a broader knowledge base. To pass, the applicant must get 6 out of 10 questions correct. Refugees who did not complete school (or even go) would find this section very challenging. 

Legal Representation

If you get a lawyer, that firm becomes your representative. One of the experienced lawyers at Voloshen Law can attend your citizen interview, making notes in case any issues arise. If your lawyer feels you need clarification on a question, they can speak up.

If you’d like to contact us for more information, our office is in Huntingdon Valley, PA. Call 215-437-7854 or use our online contact form. 


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