U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services propose updates to U.S. Citizenship Test
The federal Department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has proposed updates for the U.S. citizenship test.
In December 2022, U.S. authorities announced that the test was due for an update, which it normally receives every 15 years.
The proposed update was released on Wednesday, which would add a speaking section to the test in attempt to assess English language skills. An officer would show photos of ordinary scenarios, such as weather or an activity, and the applicant would have to verbally describe the photos.
In the current test, one’s speaking ability is evaluated during the naturalization interview, where applicants verbally answer questions they have already answered on paper.
Gissel and her brother, Sunset Park residents, took their citizenship test in 2020. Gissel says she doesn’t think her brother would have passed the test if it had these proposed changes.
"I feel like a lot of people come into the country planning on [passing] the test, and they build their knowledge on what the test has and not on the speaking portion,” said Gissel. “Mainly because they can't adopt the English language in such a short amount of time."
The permanent updates are expected to be put in place by late 2024, but these proposed changes have not been approved yet.