If you are preparing to take your test to become a naturalized citizen of the United States, you have probably experienced at least one example of the immigration process. Perhaps you applied for a green card or visa, or you went through the process of removing conditions after marrying a U.S. citizen. In any of these cases, you understand the process can be tedious and complex.
However, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services knows that sometimes the terms and conditions applicants must meet are too difficult because of special circumstances. Rather than deny citizenship to those people, USCIS allows limited accommodations and exceptions so the process is more accessible to them. You may qualify for one or more of these accommodations.
Do I qualify for an exemption?
To qualify for exceptions or accommodations, you will need to file a special request form, some of which include certification from an approved physician. For example, you may have a physical or mental disability that would prevent you from meeting some of the requirements for naturalization, such as learning the English language. Your disability may prevent you from appearing in person to take the oath of allegiance, but you must complete the proper forms to gain this exception.
Learning to speak and understand English is an important part of the naturalization process. Your interview will be in English, as will your civics test. However, you may qualify for an exemption from this requirement, for example:
- If you have a physical or mental impairment, you may be eligible to seek an exemption from the English or civics requirements, or both.
- If you have lived in the U.S. as a green card holder for 20 years and are at least 50 years old, USCIS does not require you to know English.
- If you have been in the U.S. lawfully for 15 years and are older than 55, you are exempt from the English requirement.
You will still have to take the civics portion of the test, but you may take it in your native language by bringing an interpreter who is fluent in your language and in English. You can request a special exemption from the civics test if you are older than 65 and have lived in the U.S. 20 years or more.
Seeking accommodations may mean the difference between struggling and possible rejection of your naturalization petition or receiving the exciting news that you have passed all phases of the process and are now a citizen of the United States. To maximize your chances of success, you may find the guidance of a Texas attorney to be helpful.