Anyone applying for U.S. citizenship will have to complete the naturalization application process. While this process typically involves background checks and interviews, other phases of the process may be altered for certain petitioners, based on their circumstances, needs and possibly even their limitations.
Clarifying just when accommodations and exemptions may be made for some citizenship seekers, below is an overview of the common exceptions available for those moving through the U.S. naturalization process.
Naturalizing in the U.S.: Exemptions & Special Accommodations
- Testing exceptions – Most people applying for U.S. citizenship will have to take (and pass) an English language test and a civics test. Exceptions for both of these testing requirements are available as follows:
- Petitioners who are 50+ when pursuing naturalization and who have lived as green card holders for at least 20 years in the U.S. (or those who are 55+ and who’ve been green card holders for at least 15 years in the U.S.) can be exempt from the English language requirement but will still have to take the civics In other words, they can take the civics test in their native language.
- Petitioners who are at least 65 and who have been U.S. green card holders for at least 20 years can be exempt from both testing requirements.
- Petitioners of any age who have physical and/or mental impairments that prevent them from completing this testing can also be eligible for exemptions (via submission of Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions to USCIS).
- Continuous residency exceptions – Another requirement that may be subject to accommodations for citizenship applicants is the continuous residency requirement (which essentially mandates that applicants have lived in the U.S., uninterrupted, for a minimum period of time).
Those for whom this exception may be available include petitioners employed in certain (and specific) overseas occupations (such as, but not limited to, employees of the U.S. government, the U.S. military or a U.S. government contractor).
- Exceptions for disabled petitioners – Disabled citizenship seekers in the U.S. can also be eligible for a range of other exemptions or accommodations, based on their limitations, needs and circumstances. USCIS does not specify exactly what these exceptions may be, but they encourage disabled petitioners to detail their impairments and needs on Form N-400 so the appropriate accommodations can be made for them.
- Oath-related exceptions – For those who are ultimately granted U.S. citizenship, the final step of the naturalization process is to take the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Modifications to this requirement can also be made when impairments and/or circumstances prevent new citizens from being able to take/recite this Oath.
For additional details about the accommodations available for citizenship petitioners, click here. Or simply contact the Law Office of Peter Duong today to get advice and information specific to you and your situation.
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