Can I be exempt from taking the English and civics requirements for Naturalization even if I do not have a medical disability?
The short answer is yes. Immigration law allows older applicants to request an exemption of the English exam and to request an easier civics exam. There are three types of exemptions.
1) The green card holder is 50 years old and has had the green card for 20 years
2) The green card holder is 55 years old and has had the green card for 15 years
3) The green card holder is 65 years old and has had the green card for 20 years
The first two types of exemptions “50/20” and “55/15” exempt the applicant from taking the English exams. However, the applicant must still take the civics exam, but may take that exam in his/her native language by using an interpreter. The applicant must supply his/her own interpreter at the time of the interview. The interpreter does not have to be a paid professional but can be a family member or friend who is fluent in the native language and English.
The third exemption, “60/20”, exempts an applicant from taking the English exam as well. However, the exemption also allows the applicant to take a simplified version of the civics exams in his/her native language by using an interpreter. This applicant only needs to study 20 questions rather than the 100 questions that most other naturalization applicants must study. They will still need to answer ten questions and answer six correctly to pass.
The applicant must request any of these exemptions by checking the correct box in the naturalization application.
Note that these exemptions are different than the medical disability exemption where a form N-648 must be completed by a doctor and filed with the application. The age-related exemptions do not require form N-648 to be completed or any attestation from a doctor. They are simply age related and an applicant is eligible based upon their age and how long they have been green card holders.
Please contact our office at (248) 557-3645 for a free telephone consultation to discuss your eligibility for naturalization.