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Exceptions to naturalization requirements

Immigration Services

Holding a green card in the United States has provided you with many benefits. You can live and work in Kentucky or any other state. You can take advantage of government protections. You can attend public schools and access federal health care programs. However, perhaps you feel that the current climate for immigrants in this country places even your permanent residency at risk. Maybe you would like to participate in the next upcoming election.

Are you hesitating to take the test that will determine your eligibility for citizenship? If you have reasons for putting off your citizenship, you may be interested in knowing that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services offers exceptions and accommodations to many who qualify under certain conditions.

Seeking accommodations

The naturalization process includes several parts. After you complete your application and submit your fingerprints and photo, you must undergo an interview. The interview is in English, and you will answer questions about yourself and your application. You will also take a test of your knowledge of English and of U.S. civics. These tests are not very long, but even those few questions can be intimidating if your grasp of English is not good or if you have a medical disability. Fortunately, the USCIS offers the following exceptions and accommodations:

  • If you are 50 years or older and have been a green card holder for at least 20 years, you will not have to take the English test.
  • You may bring an interpreter to help you with your interview and to assist you with the civics portion of the test.
  • If you have lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident for only 15 years, you may qualify for this exception if you are 55 or older.
  • If you are older than 64 and have lived here as a green card holder at least 20 years, the USCIS may modify the civics portion of your test.
  • If you have a medical disability that prevents you from complying with the requirements of the naturalization interview, you may request an exception with the help of your doctor.
  • The USCIS may also modify the interview and tests for those who apply for special accommodations because of disabilities, such as vision or hearing impairments or others.

If you feel your age, health or other factors will prevent you from meeting your goal of successfully completing the naturalization process, you may be surprised at the options available to you. However, for many accommodations, you must complete and submit the appropriate forms and perhaps provide evidence of your need for an exception. You may wish to reach out to an immigration attorney for help in this area.

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