The civics exam required for citizenship has made headlines this week after Arizona became the first state in the nation to require students to pass this portion of the U.S. citizenship exam in order to graduate. This test is the same civics test that all immigrants must pass in order to become U.S. citizens. If signed into law, this legislation, called the American Civics Bill, will be implemented in the 2016-17 school year.
Beyond Arizona, 18 other states join a growing list of those proposing legislation of this kind. Many of these bipartisan bills are part of an effort by the national Civics Education Initiative, an affiliate of the Arizona-based Joe Foss Institute. Foss, who died in 2003, was a former South Dakota governor and Marine Corps pilot who founded the nonprofit institute with his wife in 2001 to teach students the value of American freedoms and public service.
The initiative formally launched in September 2014 with legislative efforts in seven states. Participants in this initiative are advocating for all 50 states to require their high school students pass the U.S. naturalization civics test by a target date of September 17, 2017, the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution’s signing.
If you think it seems odd that U.S. citizens should have to pass a test about their home country, you might reconsider after watching this video.
The civics exam is an oral test that comprises any 10 out of 100 questions about U.S. history, geography and government. An applicant must answer at least six questions correctly to pass this portion of the naturalization exam.
How well do you think you’d do? Try this quiz to find out.
What are the other components of the naturalization exam?
While USCIS reports that 91 percent of applicants pass the civics test on the first try, achieving naturalization also involves paperwork, fees and three other components of the exam: speaking, reading, and writing tests.
Luckily, USCIS provides study materials and other resources to help immigrants prepare for the speaking and civics tests, including booklets, flash cards and interactive practice exercises and quizzes, as well as audio and video resources.
And don’t forget about us. The New Americans Campaign is available to answer questions about the application process and fees. New Americans Campaign partners provide application support in many places across the U.S., and you can find other immigration legal support near you by clicking here. Contact us today!