Joe Biden reverts to 2008 version of citizenship test, rolls back Trump-era test

Washington: The Joe Biden administration has announced to do away with the stringent Trump-era citizenship test and revert to the easier 2008 version, making the US naturalisation process more accessible to all eligible individuals.

The new process comes into effect from March 1, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said in a press release on Monday.

On December 1 last year, USCIS implemented a revised naturalisation civics test, called the 2020 civics test, as part of a decennial test review and update process.

The civics test is administered to applicants who apply for US citizenship through naturalisation and is one of the statutory requirements for naturalising. Applicants must demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and form of government of the United States.

The previous Trump administration had introduced some changes to the 2020 civics test. It increased the number of questions from 100 to 128 and the correct answers in the multiple-choice questions had political and ideological overtones.

Announcing the reversal of the Trump policy, USCIS said the 2020 civics test development process, content, testing procedures, and implementation schedule “may inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process”.

Applicants who filed their application for naturalisation on or after December 1, 2020, and before March 1, 2021, likely have been studying for the 2020 test; therefore, USCIS will give these applicants the option to take either the 2020 civics test or the 2008 civics test, it said.

USCIS said that there will be a transition period where both tests are being offered. The 2020 test will be phased out on April 19, 2021, for initial test takers. Applicants filing on or after March 1, 2021, will take the 2008 civics test.

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