If you have applied for US citizenship through the naturalization process, you will have to start preparing for the US citizenship test as soon as you file your petition. That is because, the US citizenship test, is one of the most important steps in the naturalization process and people who do not get through the English and the civics components of the naturalization test, may not be granted US citizenship. However, under certain circumstances, people who have filed Form N-400, Naturalization Application for US citizenship, may be allowed to apply for a waiver of the civics and the English tests. US immigration laws require the naturalization applicants to prove that they are proficient in English and that they are aware of the country’s history and laws. But there are some people who are eligible for US citizenship but unable to comply with the US citizenship requirements due to various reasons such as age and physical or mental disability and the USCIS grants waivers to such applicants.
Exceptions for Seniors
You may not be required to take the English test, if you are above age 50 and if you satisfy all the US citizenship requirements and if you have been living in America as a lawful resident for a period of 20 years and more. Similarly, if you have been a Green Card holder for a 15 year period, you may not be required to take the English test, if you are above age 55. In both these cases, though you may not be required to take the English test, you will have to take the civics test but you can take this test in your native language. If you prefer to take the civics test in your native language, you will have to bring with you, an interpreter who is good in English and in your native language. Moreover, special consideration will be given and specially designated civics test forms will be administered to seniors above age 65, who have been living in America as Green Card holders for 20 years and more.
Exceptions for People with Disabilities
Apart from seniors, people who may not be able to take the US citizenship test due to physical or mental disability, will also be granted waivers and such applicants will not be required to take the English and the civics tests. If you are disabled, you will have to submit Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions and this petition must be completed by an authorized doctor or a psychologist and this form must be filed in order to establish that you are eligible for the exception. Similarly, you must also prove that your impairment is preventing you from meeting the naturalization requirements and Form N-648 must be completed and filed along with your naturalization application.
At the same time, you must also remember that requesting an accommodation is different from requesting an exception to the naturalization requirements. If you request an exception, you will not be required to take the English test or the civics test or both the tests, if you are eligible for an exception and an accommodation will only modify the way in which you take these tests.