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Having Trouble Passing the English Part of the Citizenship Exam?

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
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Most applicants for naturalization are required to demonstrate a basic knowledge of reading, writing, and speaking English. However, there are some exceptions to this requirement.

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Most applicants for U.S. citizenship must demonstrate a basic knowledge of reading, writing, and speaking English. There are some exceptions to this requirement.

If one of these is true for you, you do not have to take the English test and can have an interpreter at your interview:

  • You are over 50 years old and have been a lawful permanent resident (or"green card" holder) for at least 20 years.

  • You are over 55 and have been a lawful permanent resident (or "green card" holder) for at least 15 years.

  • You have a disability and your doctor has completed an N-648 form (also called a "disability waiver") for you. This form is for people who have medical problems keeping them from learning English. Have someone trained to review N-648s look at your doctor's completed form before you send it to CIS with your naturalization application. The form is available here: https://www.uscis.gov/n-648.

*Do not be ashamed to ask your doctor if you qualify for an N-648. You may have a medical problem you do not know about. You may not know if your medical problems get in the way of learning. If you are having problems learning English, have your doctor look at the N-648 form to see if you qualify.

None of the exceptions applies to me. What else can I do?

You can get a list from your community organization of programs to help people learn English. Some may provide one-on-one English instruction.  Search for local English as a Second Language classes at this website: https://www.literacydirectory.org/.

*You do not have to show that you speak, read, and write English perfectly. You must only show a basic knowledge.

Last Review and Update: Nov 28, 2016
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