Vickerstaff Law Office

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Vickerstaff Law Office

Call For An Initial Consultation

Local: 502-442-2039
Toll-Free: 888-832-2944

Louisville, Kentucky, Immigration Lawyer

Louisville, Kentucky, Immigration Lawyer

Exemptions to the English requirement for U.S. citizenship

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | immigration law

For a lot of immigrants, getting admitted to the United States on a visa is just one step toward their ultimate goal of naturalized citizenship.

Unfortunately, a lot of immigrants struggle with some of the basic requirements for citizenship. In particular, the language proficiency test can be very difficult. Proficiency in English is a standard requirement – unless you meet one or more exemptions.

Age-based exemptions

These are the most commonly granted exemptions, in recognition that younger people (thanks to brain plasticity which fades as you age) have an easier time learning new languages than people in their middle age or beyond. 

You may qualify for a 50/20 exemption if you have lived in the U.S. for 20 years or longer with a green card. If you’re 55 or older, you may qualify for the 55/15 exemption, which means that you must have lived in the U.S. with a green card for at least 15 years before filing for an adjustment of status. 

In both situations, you’ll be allowed to take the civics test in your native language through the use of a self-provided interpreter.

Medical disability exemptions

If you have a mental, developmental or physical impairment that interferes with your ability to learn proficient English, you may be able to be exempt from not only the language requirement of the citizenship test but also the civics test requirement. 

Ultimately, if the language barrier is holding you back from obtaining your dream of U.S. citizenship, it may be time to explore all of the possibilities. Legal guidance can help you understand if you qualify for an exemption and exactly what steps to take so that you can move forward.