Law Offices of Janet J. Greathouse
Immigration and Nationality Law
BCIS Begins Development of New Citizenship Test

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (
BCIS) has announced a pilot project to standardize the English, government and Unites States history tests for citizenship applicants.  In a press release posted on the American Immigration Lawyers Association's (AILA) web site, BCIS states that the pilot project will be in two stages, the first of which will focus on the English language examination.  In this stage, consenting applicants will be asked to answer one test question at the end of their naturalization interview.  The applicant's response will not affect the outcome of his or her interview.  The questions will be designed to gauge reading, writing, and speaking skills.

Five cities are scheduled to participate in this first stage: Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Antonio, Atlanta, and Newark.  Over the next three weeks, a BCIS team will travel to these cities to implement the project.

Under the
Immigration and Nationality Act, an applicant for naturalization is required to demonstrate an ability to read, write, speak, and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language, and demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history and of the principles and form of the U.S. government.  Currently, test questions are taken from a pre-approved list, and there is no standardized method of administering the questions.
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