Federal Agencies, Agency Memos & Announcements

USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on Civics Educational Requirement for Purposes of Naturalization

11/13/20 AILA Doc. No. 20111331. Naturalization & Citizenship

USCIS updated policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding the educational requirements for naturalization on the knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States (civics) under §312 of the INA. This update becomes effective December 1, 2020, and applies prospectively to naturalization applications filed on or after that date. USCIS will adjudicate applications filed before the effective date based on the previous policy. Comments are due December 14, 2020.

Policy Highlights

  • Increases the general bank of civics test questions from 100 to 128, the number of test questions for the exam to 20 (from 10), and accordingly, the number of correct answers needed to pass the civics test to 12 (from 6). The test score required to pass (60 percent correct) will not change.
  • Confirms that USCIS will continue to administer 10 test questions (with required 6 correct answers) to applicants who qualify for special consideration because they are age 65 or older and have been lawful permanent residents for at least 20 years.
  • Provides that officers will ask all 20 test items (or 10 to special consideration applicants), even if the applicant achieves a passing score.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 20111331.