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USCIS Tests the Waters for Naturalization Exam Updates

Posted by Hugo Valverde | Jan 18, 2023 | 0 Comments

Photo by Sora Shimazaki

If you had to guess, what percentage of those applying would you say pass the naturalization test every year?

And for fun, what percentage of natural-born Americans would you guess would be able to pass the U.S. naturalization test?

A typical USCIS interview for citizenship includes an English exam comprised of verbal, reading, and writing tests, as well as 10 civics questions chosen from a pool of 100 questions.

To pass the U.S. naturalization test, applicants have to know facts such as how many justices are on the Supreme Court (9), what year the Constitution was ratified (1778), and what states were part of the original 13. Only about 1 in 3 Americans could pass the citizenship test.

The number is quite a bit higher for naturalization applicants, 89.5% passed the U.S. naturalization test the first time in fiscal year 2021, but that still leaves almost 11% of people who have lived in the United States the required amount of time and still are not able to naturalize. 

In 2022 USCIS revised the N-648 medical form for disability exceptions, making it easier to qualify for the strict medical certification form and essentially paving the way for some who would not formerly qualify for naturalization to apply. But there are still many who do not qualify for a medical exception and are unable to pass the English exam or civics component of the naturalization test. 

After having subject matter experts conduct a review of the naturalization test, USCIS has decided to redesign its exam, and is looking for people to participate in its trial for updates to the current naturalization test. USCIS announced that it will conduct the trial with the help of volunteer community-based organizations who work with immigrant English language learners and lawful permanent residents preparing for naturalization. USCIS will seek approximately 1,500 individuals enrolled in adult education classes to take the trial test. 

The trial is tentatively scheduled for a five-month period in 2023. USCIS welcomes all interested parties to submit written data, views, comments, and arguments on all aspects of this trial and test. You may email comments to [email protected].

If you would like help applying for citizenship please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.

About the Author

Hugo Valverde

Hugo's passion for immigration law stems from his own family's immigration experience. His father and mother came to the United States from Peru fleeing political persecution, and as he grew up, Hugo spent many summers in Peru. Hugo uses his experience growing up in an immigrant family and time a...


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