The US Naturalization test is changing back to the 2008 test version in April 2021 and the 2020 test version will be removed completely.

The United States Naturalization test was changed in December 2020 and those modifications regarded the Civics portion of the test. The main change was the expansion of the total number of questions to 128 and it was justified by giving the applicants a better studying experience for the test and learn more about the history and structure of the United States. The part of understanding, writing, and reading English was not changed in the 2020 test.

Starting April 19, 2021, everyone partaking in the naturalization process will perform the 2008 test, no matter when they have filed their petition.

USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has had both versions (2008 & 2020) up on their website and you had to choose which test material to study based on your N-400 filing date. USCIS informed in February 2021 that after mid-April, everyone will study the 2008 material and the 2020 version will be removed completely.

The change back to the older version of the Naturalization came from President Biden’s Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration System. The 2008 version was developed with multiple parties including English language experts, educators, and historians and it was piloted before its implementation and this test form is believed to eliminate barriers and make the process more accessible to all eligible individuals, reported USCIS on their news release.

Few Facts:

  • You apply for citizenship with N-400 form
  • You can apply online, and you don’t have to fill the entire form on one-sitting. It is actually recommended that you take your time filling it out so you can be 100% sure of the information in it before submitting it. Remember to check you have all the attachments attached as well!!!
  • When you file online, you can follow the progress of your petition
  • The total cost is currently $725 (Application fee $640 and biometrics fee $85)
  • When filing, you can also change your name without any extra cost
  • If you are a permanent resident and you are getting close to the minimum time of 5 years (or 3 for those who are married to an American), you may file your N-400 as early as 90 days before your minimum time requirement fulfills
  • The actual structure of the test has not changed; you’ll still be tested for understanding, writing and reading English as well as the civics portion
  • Once you pass your test, you’ll get invited to an oath ceremony (this might look different in different states and with COVID restrictions. The invitation you’ll receive will have all the needed information though)
Oath of Allegiance
Oath of Allegiance.(picture source from USCIS free webinar)
American flags on empty chairs
Oath Ceremony might look different with Covid-19 regulations.
  • After the oath ceremony you are eligible to apply for the US passport – immediately!
  • Please note: USA does not recognize dual citizens, however, they will not be asking for your Finnish passport either
  • When you travel, remember to travel with both of your passports

Remember always to check the current elected officials before your test, because those might have changed prior to your appointment time. All the updated study materials, questions, and answers can be found on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website and are free for you to study. However, if for any reason you do not pass on your first attempt, not to worry – you have a total of 2 attempts of the test. And on your second attempt, you’ll be only re-doing that test part you failed. However, do know that if you fail the second attempt as well, that means your application is automatically denied. This doesn’t mean that you cannot reapply for the citizenship, but it does mean that you have to start the process all over again, apply with new N-400 form, as well as pay the required fees again. This will be time consuming and costly so be prepared for your test.

USCIS Webinar information with American flag
USCIS organizes free webinars to provide you the latest information regarding the Naturalization process.

USCIS organizes free webinars for you to attend and during which, you’ll receive the most resent information regarding citizenships and the naturalization process. You may also ask questions at the end of the information session regarding your case.

Free Naturalization Information Sessions. Remember to select Florida as your preferred state (if residing in FL that is) and you’ll see a list of the upcoming webinar dates and times.

Good luck in your naturalization process and completing your American dream!

 

Read the full presidential action, which prompted the changes in the naturalization process:

Joe Biden, Presidential Actions, White House, Briefing Room: Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans