How to take the US Citizenship exam in another language

What are the Requirements to qualify for English Language exemption?

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 for 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. Secondly, they must have been a permanent resident for 20 years in the United States.


  •  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 legally obtained their immigration status.

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. First, if a person is low income or receives a federal benefit, like Medical, they might qualify for an exception. 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.

Preparing for the 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. 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.

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.

Helpful Links

  1. N-400 Application for Naturalization
  2. Instructions for N-400 form
  3. Document checklist, current fees, and naturalization eligibility worksheet
  4. Citizenship exemptions and accommodations