It takes years to become a United States citizen if you were born in another country. There are several stages in the immigration process. The first is often securing a visa for legal entry into the country. The next will be applying for a green card so that you are a lawful permanent resident. Some people can get a green card upon entry because of family relationships.
Finally, you can apply for naturalized citizenship. Becoming a naturalized citizen requires that you undergo an extensive immigration interview that includes two tests. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will administer two mostly verbal tests during your immigration interview. One focuses on your command of the English language and the other on your understanding of United States government and history, which they call the Civics test.
For many people, the testing is the most frightening aspect of the naturalization interview. Can you ever qualify for an exemption from the testing requirements?
Older adults can ask for testing exemptions
Those who have been in the country for some time as lawful permanent residents can qualify for an exemption so that they can become citizens without those tests. Those over the age of 50 who have been in the country as lawful permanent residents for at least 20 years may qualify for an exemption for the English language test.
Those who are 55 or older and have been in the country lawfully for 15 years may also be exempt. Those who are age 65 or older may qualify for an English language test exemption and special testing options for the Civics test. In general, most applicants will have to take the Civics test even if they qualify for an exemption for the English language test.
Those with medical conditions may qualify for support
The USCIS will provide medical accommodations for those with documented disabilities, like visual impairments. You need to understand the exemptions available to get the support you need to pass the test and become a naturalized citizen. You may also require support during the application process to make easier work of the USCIS forms.
Learning more about how to become a naturalized citizen can help you permanently stay in the United States.