Quality Immigration Law Services Since 1978

  1. Home
  2.  | 
  3. Immigration Law
  4.  | Is mastery of the English language required for naturalization?

Is mastery of the English language required for naturalization?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2022 | Immigration Law

Becoming a naturalized citizen is the final step in the immigration process. After lawfully living in the country for years, immigrants can apply to become naturalized citizens. If they are successful, they never have to worry about removal. They can run for political office and vote in future elections. They will also have an easier time helping their family members immigrate.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review someone’s paperwork, perform a background check and arrange for an immigration interview. During that interview, naturalization applicants will typically need to pass to tests. One involves proving Proficiency in the English language, and the other demonstrates an understanding of United States civics.

Does every naturalization applicant have to speak English fluently?

Technically, the tests require solid English language skills

The test on the English language requires that someone speaks and listens effectively. They also have to demonstrate the ability to read and write in English. They will also have to take a Civics test where they answer aloud questions about the history and government of the United States. In most cases, a strong grasp of the English language is necessary to perform well at the naturalization interview.

Some older residents make qualify for exemption from the language test. Those who have lived in the United States for quite some time and who still do not feel comfortable with the English language can potentially become United States citizens despite the language barrier.

If an applicant is 50 years of age or older and they have had a green card for at least 20 years, they can request an exemption from the English language test. Those who are age 55 or older and who have lawfully lived in the United States with a green card for 15 years or longer could also qualify for an exemption from the English language test.

These applicants will still have to complete the Civics test, but they can take it in a language in which they are proficient. Studying for a test that looks at an understanding of history and government may be far less intimidating than studying for a language test. Learning about exemptions for yourself or a family member might inspire you to finally seek naturalization.