Before a legal permanent resident can become a U.S. citizen, they must meet certain eligibility requirements which include taking and passing an English and civics test. While most individuals are required to take these two tests in addition to meeting other requirements, under certain circumstances will U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allow an individual to exempt themselves from taking the English portion of the test. However, it is important to note that most are still required to take and pass the civics test.
English Language Exemptions
USCIS allows certain individuals to exempt themselves from taking the English test, but not the civics test. Those who qualify for this exemption include:
- Those who are age 50 or older at the time they file for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident (i.e. Green Card holder) in the U.S. for 20 years. USCIS refers to this exemption as the 50/20 exception.
- Those who are age 55 or older at the time they apply for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the U.S. for 15 years. When an individual qualifies for this exemption, it is referred to as the 55/15 exception.
Regardless of whether an individual qualifies for a 50/20 or 55/15 exception, most will need to take the civics test in order to qualify for naturalization. In the event an individual is 65 years of age or older and has been a Green Card holder for at least 20 years at the time they file for naturalization, USCIS says they will be given “special consideration” regarding the civics requirement.
Medical Disability Exceptions
A Green Card holder who has a medical disability may be eligible to receive an exception to the English and civics requirements given they cannot comply with them because of a “physical or developmental disability or a mental impairment.” An individual can request a medical disability exception by submitting Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions.
Preparing for an English or Civics Test
Whether an individual qualifies to be exempt from the English portion of the test or is required to take both the English and civics sections, they should speak with a Texas immigration attorney before doing so. There are many ways a Green Card holder can prep for these tests, and they can start by scheduling a consultation with an immigration lawyer in Texas. The Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen is an immigration law firm that provides an array of legal services to individuals in need of assistance with immigration-related matters. To learn more about why it benefits to hire an attorney to prep a Green Card holder for their naturalization test, they can contact the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen at 210-503-2800.
The Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen can be reached at:
310 South St. Mary’s Street, Suite 2100
San Antonio, Texas 78205