Published December 14, 2016
With few exceptions, eligibility for U.S. naturalization depends on an applicant: 1) having accumulated a minimum number of years of lawful permanent residence, 2) demonstrating good moral character for the statutory period and 3) passing a basic test of English proficiency (writing and reading) and knowledge about the U.S. government and history (civics).
The following classes of individuals are exempt from the English language portion:
Applicants 50 years of age and older, and with more than 20 years of lawful permanent residence, OR 55 years of age and older, and with more than 15 years of lawful permanent residence – are exempt from the English reading and writing portion of the exam, and are allowed to take the Civics portion in their native tongue. In such cases, applicants should bring an interpreter to the naturalization interview.
Applicants who are 65 years of age and older, and with more than 20 years of lawful permanent residence only need to demonstrate mastery of a reduced list of specified civics questions.
The following class of individuals are exempt from the English language and/or History/Civics portion:
Applicants who are unable to learn English and/or U.S. history/civics due to a “medically determinable physical or developmental disability or mental impairment” and the disability is expected to last at least 12 months (and the disability is not the result of illegal drug use), are exempt from both the English and Civics test requirements.
In such cases, applicants must include with their N-400 applications a physician or clinical psychologist completed Form N-648 – a document which features, among other details, the professional’s assessment of the applicant’s physical or mental disability and how that disability is connected to the applicant’s inability to satisfy the English language and/or civics portion of the naturalization test. Such applicants will be eligible to have a relative or guardian accompany them into the interview.
PUBLISHED December 14, 2016– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2016, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois