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Revised U.S. citizenship test will require immigrants to answer more questions

Immigrants seeking to become U.S. citizens will soon be required to answer more questions about American history and politics as part of a revised civics test announced last month by the U.S. immigration services agency.

Starting December 1, 2020 applicants for U.S. citizenship will have to correctly answer at least 12 of 20 questions posed by immigration officials. The current civics test requires immigrants to correctly answer 6 questions out of a total of 10. Most applicants also undergo another test to demonstrate their ability to read, write and speak basic English. Most applicants also undergo another test to demonstrate their ability to read, write and speak basic English.

The civics test is one several required steps immigrants need to fulfill before becoming naturalized U.S. citizens — a process administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

For the updated civics test, immigrants will be instructed to study a collection of 128 potential questions on topics ranging from the structure of the U.S. government and the Constitution, to the founding fathers and wars with American involvement.

Some immigration experts said the revised test is more difficult than the previous one and could make it harder for certain immigrants to become U.S. citizens. "There is no reason to make the citizenship test longer and more difficult," Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, a policy counsel for the American Immigration Council, told CBS News. "It is unnecessary and will lead to even greater backlogs and delays in the citizenship process."

Doug Rand, a former immigration adviser to President Obama, agreed that Friday's changes make the civics test "harder"

"It's one thing to have to study 100 straight-forward questions and get six out of 10 right. It's another thing entirely to study 128 much more complicated questions and get 12 out of 20 right," Rand, who currently leads a Seattle-based firm that helps immigrants with immigration petitions, told CBS News.

Applicants who fail the civics test are afforded another opportunity to take it again during a second appointment.

U.S. citizenship test questions and answers

On this page you will find the U.S. citizenship test questions and answers in translated languages. This is also known as the civics or naturalization test.

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