Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements.
Qualification Requirements for Naturalization
- You have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements.
- You have been a permanent resident for 3 years or less and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen.
- You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements.
- Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met.
The Naturalization Test : English & Civics
During your interview, a USCIS officer will test your ability to read, write, and speak English and your knowledge of civics. You must read one sentence out of three sentences correctly in English, and you must write one sentence out of three sentences correctly in English. Your ability to speak English is determined during your interview on your naturalization application. Finally, you must answer 6 out of 10 civics questions correctly to achieve a passing score.
You will be given two opportunities to take the English and civics tests and to answer all questions relating to your naturalization application in English. If you fail any of the tests at your initial interview, you will be retested on the portion of the test that you failed (English or civics) between 60 and 90 days from the date of your initial interview.
English Language Exemptions
You Are Exempt From The English Language Requirement, But Are Still Required To Take The Civics Test If You Are:
- Age 50 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States for 20 years (commonly referred to as the "50/20" exception). OR
- Age 55 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 15 years (commonly referred to as the "55/15" exception).
Even if you qualify for the "50/20" or "55/15" English language exceptions listed above, you must still take the civics test. You may be permitted to take the civics test in your native language, but only if your command of spoken English is insufficient to conduct a valid examination in English. If you are age 65 or older and have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years at the time of filing for naturalization, you will be given special consideration regarding the civics requirement.
Medical Disability Exceptions to English and Civics
You may be eligible for an exception to the English and civics naturalization requirements if you are unable to comply with these requirements because of a physical or developmental disability or a mental impairment.