The process of becoming an American citizen is challenging enough if you are in good health, but you may fear naturalization will be out of your reach if you suffer from a disability. The truth is that the U.S. government understands the plight of disabled immigrants and may provide you with accommodation as you undergo naturalization.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website explains how the government helps disabled immigrants during the naturalization interview, the naturalization test and the Oath of Allegiance.
Naturalization interview accommodations
Your disabilities may make it hard to respond during the naturalization interview. The USCIS provides sign language interpreters if you cannot hear questioning. Some immigrants suffer physical disabilities that prevent them from going to a field office. If this is the case for you, an immigration officer may come to your home, hospital or place of assisted living to conduct the interview.
The USCIS also provides help for immigrants with mental disabilities. In the event you have a mental impairment or a developmental disability, you may not be able to testify under oath about your eligibility to become a citizen. If you qualify, a legal guardian, surrogate or designated representative may complete the naturalization process on your behalf.
Naturalization exam accommodations
If you have a disability that makes it difficult to complete the naturalization exam, the USCIS may help you in various ways. If you have impaired sight, you may receive a reading test in large print. If you are blind, you can take a test in Braille. A sign language interpreter may help you if you cannot hear spoken questions. In the event a disability has made it hard for you to use your hands, you may respond to verbal questioning instead of writing down answers.
Oath of Allegiance accommodations
Your disability may limit your ability to take the Oath of Allegiance. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, a sign language interpreter may assist you. If you have limited speaking abilities, the USCIS may simplify the oath language for your benefit. The government may also expedite the ceremony for taking the oath so you do not have to attend a later ceremony.
All of the options available to disabled immigrants may help you attain your dream of becoming an American citizen even if you suffer from a disability. Check in advance to be sure that the U.S. government will meet your specific needs.