Are there exceptions to language and civics testing requirements for citizenship?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Citizenship And Naturalization |

In order to become a U.S. citizen, immigrants must meet certain educational requirements. This includes knowledge of the English language, as well as knowledge of civics topics related to this nation.

There are some exceptions to language and civics testing, and it is important for immigrants to understand these exceptions going into the process. Here are a few key points to keep in mind.

Requirements related to English language and civics

Naturalization tests have two important components. First, test-takers must show proficiency in speaking, writing, and reading the English language. Second, applicants must undergo civics testing to establish their understanding of the government and related topics.

Applicants will have two chances to satisfy these requirements. The first occurs during an initial exam, and the second occurs during a re-examination.

Exceptions to these requirements

Some immigrants will not need to satisfy the English language portion of naturalization testing. This includes people who are 50 or older and have been lawful permanent residents of the U.S. for at least 20 years. Similarly, lawful permanent residents aged 55 or older that have lived in the country for at least 15 years are also exempt, as are people aged 65 or older who have lived in the U.S. for at least 20 years.

Despite these language exceptions, applicants must still undergo civics testing as part of the naturalization process. In this case, those taking naturalization tests will receive them in their preferred language, as opposed to English. Applicants must also arrive with an interpreter that speaks English as well as their preferred language.

Applicants can also receive a specialized test in some instances. This is the case with people who are 65 or older and have lived in the country for a minimum of 20 years.