US Citizenship Test to Toughen, Increasing Bar for English Proficiency by 2024


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Jul 07, 2023 12:55 PM IST

The US is planning to introduce a new format for its naturalization citizenship test, which will be implemented by the end of 2024. The revised US Citizenship Test will put more focus on a candidate’s English proficiency skills thereby making it tougher to obtain a permanent residency in the US for those with low English skills.

US Citizenship Test to Toughen, Increasing Bar for English Proficiency by 2024

A citizenship test is a written or oral exam necessary to become a citizen of a nation. One of the closing requirements for US citizenship is the naturalisation test, which takes place after months of waiting and years after obtaining a legal PR in the USA.

Based on reports, the US citizenship test will soon be modified while certain immigrants and supporters are concerned that the modifications could negatively impact candidates who are less proficient in the English language.

The new US citizenship test format will incorporate a speaking component to evaluate English language proficiency, as stated by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The person applying would be shown pictures of typical situations, such as routine tasks, the environment, or food items, and the immigration officer will require them to elaborate on them verbally.

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It had been 15 years since the neutralization test was last updated, US authorities announced in December 2022. The updated version of the US Citizenship Test is expected to be implemented by the end of 2024.

Given the current test format, the officer who conducts the naturalization test interview evaluates the applicant's speaking abilities by asking personal questions that they have already answered in their naturalization paperwork. Furthermore, it is also proposed that the civics section on US history and government would be changed to multiple-choice questions.

An interviewer will typically ask a candidate to recall a US war that occurred in the 1900s as part of a current civics question. To correctly answer the issue at hand, the candidate is only required to provide one of the five suitable responses. However, the proposed US Citizenship Test format includes MCQs. 

With this, the candidate would review the question carefully and choose the best response from the list of options. To pass the proposed AP civics exam, the candidate must typically properly respond to six out of a possible ten questions.

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After the test was altered by the presidency of former Democratic President Donald Trump in 2020 and made lengthier and more challenging to clear, many people are still in awe. Within a few months of taking office, Republican President Joe Biden issued an executive order that relaxed citizenship restrictions. In a similar vein, the 2008 update to the US citizenship test was revoked and the old version returned.

For the fiscal year 2022, approximately 1 million (974,000) individuals received US citizenship, based on USCIS data. 588,900 new US citizens were welcomed in 2023, and more are anticipated in the years to come.

Source: The Times of India

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