New citizenship test for newly filed N-400

By Atty. Chris Caday Lozano

Starting December 1, 2020, new applicants who filed for naturalization to become U.S. citizens will be required to pass a revised civics test that is longer and potentially more difficult than the previous version that had been in place for more than a decade.

The new version of the civics test could impact an estimated 2.2 million green card holders in California who are eligible to naturalize, the most of any state.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that processes naturalization applications, doubled the length of the oral exam. USCIS officers will now ask citizenship candidates 20 out of 128 possible questions. Applicants must answer 12 questions correctly in order to pass.

In the previous version of the test, candidates were asked up to 10 out of 100 questions. Immigrants who filed their applications before Dec. 1 will continue to take that version.

Immigrant advocates denounced the revision as a last-ditch effort by the outgoing Trump administration to hinder immigrants’ ability to gain the benefits of American citizenship, including the right to vote in local, state and federal elections.

In addition to understanding U.S. civics fundamentals, candidates for citizenship must be adults who can read and write Basic English, and show good moral character, among other requirements. 

By law, USCIS will continue to provide special consideration for applicants who are 65 or older and who have been U.S. lawful permanent residents for at least 20 years. These applicants may study just 20 questions and take the test in the language of their choice.

Nearly 9 million immigrants are eligible to apply for naturalization, according to estimates by the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California. But many decline to take that step, citing a lack of English skills and the price tag of the U.S. citizenship application, which is currently $725.

Advocates are asking President-elect Joe Biden to restore the previous test. They also want the Biden administration to take steps to expand access to naturalization by canceling the proposed fee increases and streamlining the citizenship application process to reduce the backlog of more than 740,000 pending requests.

Note: This is not a legal advice.


1.        For the month of October 2020, we received from USCIS seven approvals of Family petitions, and one Removal of Condition on residence.    

2.        For the month of September 2020, we received three naturalization approvals, four I-130 petition approvals and one DACA approval.

3.        For the month of August 2020, we received three renewals of green card and four naturalization approvals from USCIS.

4.        For the month of July 2020, we received two approvals of Naturalization applications from USCIS.

5.        For the month of June 2020, we received approvals from USCIS two naturalization applications, two renewal of green card and one adjustment of status.

6.        For the month of May 2020, we received approvals from USCIS for three green card renewals, two adjustments of status, and one naturalization application.

7.        for the month of April 2020. We received approval of one adjustment of status, three removal of condition on residence and one renewal of green card.    

8.        For the month of March 2020, we received six Adjustment of Status and three Naturalization approvals from USCIS.

9.        For the month of February 2020, we received approvals from USCIS of five Adjustment of Status applications and three Naturalization applications.

10.      For the month of January 2020, we received approvals from USCIS of five Adjustments of status applications, three N-400 applications for naturalization and three fiancé visa applications.    

11.      For the month of December 2019, we received four approvals of naturalization applications, five approvals of Adjustment of Status applications, two approvals of Petition to remove condition on residence, one renewal of green card approval and one green card application at the U.S. Embassy.           

12.      For the month of November 2019, we received approvals of one naturalization application, one renewal of green card, one Petition to remove condition on residence and one adjustment of status.  

If you have immigration problems the Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano can help you find a solution before your problem gets worse which could lead to deportation and family separation. 

Chris Caday Lozano, Esq. is an active member of the State Bar of California, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and San Francisco Trial Lawyers.  He practices immigration law, bankruptcy and personal injury law since June 1999.  His contact phone is 1-877-456-9266, email: 

Toll Free 1-877-4LOZANO for free consultation or Schedule an Appointment