Civics Test Update: Don’t Let the Civics Test Stop You From Becoming a U.S. Citizen

If you are a foreign national seeking to become an American citizen, the naturalization process can be a mixture of stress and excitement. One of the last steps to complete before naturalizing to a citizen is the civics test. Passing the civics test is required to become a citizen. A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer will ask a set of up to 10 civics questions. You must answer at least six of these questions correctly. While this may sound difficult, the good news is that USCIS has published all 100 possible civics questions online for review.  One difficulty that you may face when preparing for this exam is the fact that answers to some of the questions will periodically change based on elections. Questions that vary include identifying U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, the President, the Vice President, the number of justices on the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, state Governors, the political party of the President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. USCIS publishes up-to-date material regarding these civics test updates that foreign nationals should use to prepare for the civics exam.  As a result of the 2018 election, the answers to some questions have or […]
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USCIS Updates Policy Regarding ‘Living in Marital Union’ for Naturalization Applications

On Friday, October 12, 2018, USCIS issued an alert that it will be updating policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify the married and living in marital union requirements under section 319(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  In general, all naturalization applicants filing on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen must continue to be married from the time of filing the application until the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance. In addition, statutory provisions require the applicant spouse to have been married and “living in marital union” (living together) with his or her U.S. citizen spouse for at least three years immediately before he or she filed the naturalization application.  While the law requires the applicant spouse and the U.S. citizen spouse remain married until the time the applicant naturalizes, the new policy memo states that the living in marital union requirement is only required until the time of filing the application. The new guidance supersedes any prior guidance.  The highlights of the policy are as follows: The policy clarifies that the applicant spouse and his or her U.S. citizen spouse must have been living in marital union for at least three years immediately […]
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USCIS Modernizes Administration of Naturalization Test Through Use of Digital Tablets

USCIS announced that as a part of its ongoing modernization efforts, English reading and writing tests during naturalization interviews will now be administered on digital tablets. This change was unveiled on October 1st. While tablet usage is not completely new to USCIS processes, this step greatly expanded the use of this technology. Previously, digital tablets were used mainly to sign or verify certain parts of applications. In certain circumstances, paper tests are still available for use, determined on a case-by-case basis.  Applicants should note that eligibility requirements and subject matter of the naturalization test has not changed. The only change is regarding how the test is administered. Immigration Services Officers (ISO) will instruct applicants on how to use the digital tablets and styluses before administering the tests. ISOs will give the following instructions prior to the commencement of a test: For the reading test, a sentence will appear on the tablet and the ISO will ask the applicant to read it. For the writing test, several lines will appear on a tablet, replicating the appearance of a piece of blank paper. The ISO will read the sentence aloud and ask the applicant to write it on the tablet. Despite this […]
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