Immigration Law Is All About Family

Who can bypass the English language test for naturalization?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2023 | Naturalization/Citizenship

For many immigrants, the ultimate goal is United States citizenship. They dream of living in the country forever and enjoying all the rights that come with citizenship. Naturalized citizens can vote and help their loved ones immigrate. In some cases, they can even run for certain public offices.

Naturalization is an admirable goal, but it is also a very challenging one for people to achieve. They must remain in the United States for a long time, avoid criminal violations that would make them ineligible for naturalization and complete a complex application process. Naturalization requires paperwork and a background check.

Applicants must also attend a naturalization interview conducted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). That interview will involve not just personal questions but also two tests. One of those tests assesses an applicant’s English proficiency. However, some applicants can bypass this particular test.

Some people qualify for exemptions

English is actually a very difficult language to learn. It has a lot of irregular verbs and many rules and words derived from other languages. People may worry that they will not be able to pass the English language test even if they feel confident that they understand the government and history of the United States well enough to pass the Civics test.

If someone has been in the United States for long enough and is old enough, they may qualify for an exemption. Those who are at least 50 years old and who have been in the country for 20 can take the Civics test but not the English language test. If someone is 55 and has been in the country for 15 years, they would also qualify for an exemption. Their interview will occur in the language of their choice, and they will not need to prove proficiency in English.

Some people can receive accommodations

A small percentage of immigrants may qualify for medical accommodations during their interviews. Those with documented medical conditions that could impact their test performance may qualify for special accommodations during the testing process. They may still need to complete both English and Civics tests. However, they can have certain forms of support provided during the testing process. Other times, they may be able to secure an exemption from both tests.

Learning more about the test requirements for naturalization may benefit those who want to become United States citizens.