When you’re an immigrant to the United States who hopes to gain citizenship, one of the most angst-producing events in your life is likely to be the naturalization civics test that you must take.
Already fairly tough, it just got tougher.
More information to study, more questions to answer
In the past, immigrants hoping for citizenship were orally presented with 10 test questions drawn from a list of 100. To pass — a necessary requirement for naturalization — the candidate had to answer at least 6 of those questions correctly.
Now, candidates will be asked 20 questions, and they must correctly answer 12 of them, which doubles the pressure. Plus, the list of questions they may be asked has been increased to 128, with many of the new questions putting a heavy emphasis on civics.
Applicants who apply for U.S. citizenship on Dec. 1, 2020, or after are subject to the new rules. Those who applied prior to that date will be subject to the old rules.
Criticism of the new rules is coming from immigration advocates
Many immigration advocates feel like the new changes are coming at a particularly bad time. Citizenship and Immigration Services is already suffering from what many have called a “broken” immigration system, and cutbacks and budget problems have made it harder for the agency to move applications forward already.
These new rule changes won’t help. They put more pressure on the agency and the immigrants involved. Many see this as one more maneuver to make immigration more restrictive and this country less-welcoming to immigrants as a whole.
More than ever before, it’s important to have experienced representation by your side. If you’re an immigrant who is at a transition point in your journey, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance.