Can some immigrants become citizens without an English test?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2021 | Citizenship And Naturalization |

You have to take multiple steps to become a naturalized citizen. You typically need to have lived in the United States for multiple years. Limiting your international travel is also an important qualification. 

The naturalization process requires an interview, a background check and tests in civics and the English language. Part of the test will be written; the rest will be oral. Both written and spoken proficiency in English is an expectation most immigrants must meet. 

However, certain people who want to become citizens may not have to learn English or submit to testing. After all, the English language is very hard to learn compared with other languages. It also becomes harder to learn languages when people get older. When can someone become a citizen without taking the naturalization test?

Older, long-term residents may be exempt from testing requirements

When someone has lived in the United States for years, they may be exempt from the naturalization test requirements. To be exempt from the English language test, an applicant must be at least 50 years of age and must have lived in the United States for 20 years. Someone age 55 or older could bypass the English language test if they have lived in the United States for at least 15 years. 

Adults who qualify under this exemption will still need to take the civics test. Other applicants won’t need to take the civics test at all. Those with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities or mental impairments may be exempt from all testing. Other individuals may qualify for support during the testing process because of their medical conditions. 

Learning more about naturalization requirements can make the process a little easier for you.