How to take the US Citizenship exam in another language

What Are The Requirements To Qualify For the English Language Test Exemption?

if you do not speak English, you are probably wanting to know how you can become an American citizen and take the exam in Spanish, Vietnamese, or your native language. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires all applicants to take an in-person exam and submit an N-400 application. It should be noted that individuals may be eligible to take the citizenship test in their native language if the satisfy the English language exemption. This means that they are exempt from the English test requirements if they meet one of the following criteria:
  • The 50/20 exception. This has two requirements. First, a person must be 50 years of age or older when applying for the naturalization test. Secondly, they must have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years in the United States.
OR
  •  The 55/15 exception. This also has two requirements. First, a person must be 55 years of age or older when applying. Additionally, they must be a permanent resident for 15 years in the Unites States.
A permanent resident is a green card holder who lives and works permanently in the United States. They must have also legally obtained their immigration status and remained in status.
You do not need to submit any sort of application for request to take the test in you native language. You just select a box on the N400 application.

Obtaining A N-400 Application And The Fees For Citizenship Application

Individuals can access and complete the required USCIS N-400 naturalization application form on USCIS here. Additionally, individuals are required to submit USCIS fees. The fee is for filing the naturalization application and biometric service fees. As of July 31, 2021, the current naturalization fee is $640.00 and biometric services fee is $85.00, for a total of $725.00. For the most up to date filing fees for immigration, click here.
A few exceptions exist for the filing fee. First, if a person is low income or receives a federal benefit, like Medical, they might qualify for an a filing fee waiver. Additionally, it’s important to know that no filing fee is required for naturalization based on your service in the United States Armed Forces. Lastly, no biometric services fee required if 75 years or older, or if the applicant served in the United States Armed Forces.

Green Card Holder and Preparing For The US Citizenship Interview And Civics Exam

Individuals qualifying for exemption are allowed to take the civics test in their native language, with a self-provided interpreter. The interpreter must be fluent in English and the applicant’s native language. Remember, if you are eligible to have the civics test in your native language, you should have an interpreter ready. Although USCIS may provide one, it is not a guarantee that they will give you an interpreter.
The oral exam consists of 100 potential questions that test basic U.S. history, civics, and current events. As you prepare for the exam, know the names of current appointed officials serving at the time of your interview. If you are exempt, you will not take the English reading and writing part of the exam. USCIS provides a practice civics test for individuals to use, found here.

Can I Leave the US While Waiting for the Citizenship Interview?

Yes, you can travel and leave the USA while waiting for your citizenship interview. That said, you should not be outside of the USA for more than 180 days. If you are outside for more than 180 days, USCIS msay conclude that you have not resided continously in the US for that last 180 days and it can make you ineligible to become a US Citizen. On top of this, USCIS will look at the last 5 years you have been here in the USA. You also have to show that during this time, you have been physically present in the US for the last 5 years. If you have been outside of the USA for more than 180 days or 365, this can have immensely negative consequences. USCIS discusses this in more detail here.

Conclusion On Taking The Citizenship Test in My Native language

Immigration law is constantly changing. When Trump was in office, they tried to make the citizenship exam more difficult. Now is the time to become a citizen and the process will be easier than if a new president change the rules.
If you would like more information or need help with the process of becoming a Unites States citizen in your native language, or with any other legal questions, call the Law Offices of Jesus Martinez today to schedule a consultation at (559) 777-6587.