USCIS November Policy Update Alerts

People holding American flags after passing their immigration test.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has provided guidance on updates in their policy manual regarding applications for naturalization and adjustment of status. The following are brief summaries for individual policy alerts made by USCIS throughout the month of November. An in depth explanation of these policy updates can be found here.

11/13 – Civics Educational Requirement for Purposes of Naturalization

USCIS has redesigned the civics test for naturalization applicants from its previous version implemented in 2008. The revised edition will test applicant’s knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and civics. The new test questions will become effective on December 1, 2020 and applies to all applications filed on or after that date.

Policy highlights include the following:

  • The general bank of the civics test questions has increased from 100 to 128 questions. The number of questions asked on the exam has increased from 10 to 20 questions. The number of correct answers has also increased from 6 to 12 questions. This change does not alter the required passing score of 60 percent.
  • USCIS will continue to ask 10 questions, requiring 6 answered correctly, to applicants who qualify for special consideration. This includes any applicant who is 65 years or older and has been a lawful permanent resident for at least 20 years.
  • USCIS officers will ask all 20 questions on the test even after a passing score has been reached; 10 questions asked to special consideration applicants.

You can visit our Naturalization page to learn more about other general requirements in applying for citizenship.

11/13 – Age and “Sought to Acquire” Requirement under Child Status Protection Act

USCIS has clarified existing guidance on the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) to address how USCIS will calculate age for child beneficiaries of immigrant visas and adjustment of status. The CSPA protects children’s eligibility through aging during their immigration process and does not alter the definition of “child” (an unmarried person under twenty-one years of age) under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The CSPA calculates an alien’s age for immigration purposes and is referred to as “CSPA age.” This guidance update supersedes prior guidance related to this topic.

Policy highlights include the following:

  • This guidance provides application of the CSPA to derivatives of widows and widowers.
  • Provides guidance for which immigrant petition is used to calculate the CSPA age for adjustment of status applicants.
  • It also addresses the one-year “sought to acquire” requirement for permanent residence and how applicants may satisfy the requirement.

11/17 – Use of Discretion for Adjustment of Status

USCIS updated existing policy guidance regarding discretionary factors considered for adjustment of status applications. For adjustment of status applications, the applicant must demonstrate that they meet the eligibility requirements. Once that determination is made by a USCIS officer, he or she will conduct a review of additional factors and components that will render an assessment for immigration benefits. The guidance provided for the existing policy is effective immediately.

Policy highlights include the following:

  • The existing guidance on the privileges, rights, and responsibilities of lawful permanent residents has been consolidated.
  • The policy update simplifies the list of discretionary factors for adjustment of status applicants that are considered during a discretionary analysis.

You can visit our Family Based Petitions page to learn more about other general requirements in applying for a green card or adjustment of status.

11/17 – Job Portability after Filing Application to Adjust Status

Since Congress enacted the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act in 2000, certain employment-based adjustment of status applicants had the ability to switch their jobs while their applications were still pending. USCIS issued policy guidance related to the ability of beneficiaries of employment-based immigrant petitions to change occupations after submitting their application to adjust status. The guidance provided for this policy is effective immediately.

Policy highlights include the following:

  • The existing guidance on determining an applicant’s eligibility to transfer to a new job of similar or same classification specified in the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers has been simplified.
  • The updated guidance also explains how job transfer requests are made with USCIS.

11/18 - Prerequisite of Lawful Admission for Permanent Residence under All Applicable Provisions for Purposes of Naturalization

USCIS provided policy guidance to clarify if a naturalization applicant may be found ineligible if they were not admitted lawfully into the United States. A naturalization applicant must prove that he or she entered the United States lawfully for lawful permanent residency and is considered ineligible if lawful permanent residency was obtained fraudulently or incompliant with the law. This update in policy guidance supersedes any prior guidance related to this topic.

Policy highlights include the following:

  • This policy guideline reaffirms that a naturalization applicant is considered ineligible if the applicant did not obtain legal permanent resident status lawfully.
  • USCIS has provided further guidance for situations where an applicant was not admitted into the United States lawfully and is considered ineligible to apply for naturalization.
  • USCIS will review if an applicant abandoned their LPR status during the adjudication process of the naturalization application.
  • USCIS will not consider any naturalization applications filed on or after November 18th, 2020, if the applicant has a pending removal proceeding.


Please note that by reading this blog you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Hubbs Law, P.A. This blog only provides general legal information. Every case is unique and you should request a consultation to ensure that you are getting the correct legal advice for your specific case.

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