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At Kasturi Law, LLC, our Naperville immigration and nationality law attorney and law firm founder, Shobhana Kasturi, believes her calling is helping fellow immigrants navigate the complex legal process of becoming citizens in the U.S.

Shobhana Kasturi is a proud first-generation immigrant who knows that the immigration journey to become a U.S. citizen requires a few extra steps for those who seek and qualify for naturalization.

As part of the naturalization interview, applicants must demonstrate their ability to read, write, speak, and understand English unless they qualify for an exemption based on age and the length of time they have been a permanent resident.

Here is what immigrants seeking naturalization need to know about the process.

language requirements in the U.S. naturalization process

 What are the Language Requirements When Seeking Naturalization in the U.S.?

To follow are the critical aspects of the language requirements in the U.S. naturalization process:

English Language Proficiency

  • Reading and Writing Test

Applicants are tested on their ability to read and write in English, including correctly reading and writing a sentence.

  • Speaking Test

Applicants are also tested on their ability to speak English.  During the naturalization interview, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer will ask questions to assess the applicant’s spoken English.

Exemptions from Language Requirements

  • Age and Time as a Permanent Resident

Applicants 50 or older when filing for naturalization and have been permanent residents (green card holders) for at least 20 years are exempt from the English language requirement.

Applicants 55 or older who have been permanent residents for at least 15 years when filing for naturalization are exempt from the English language requirement.

  • Medical Disability

Some applicants may qualify for an exemption from the English language requirement and the civics test based on a medically determinable physical or mental impairment.

Applicants with medical disabilities who prevent them from fulfilling the English language requirement may request an exception or waiver. A licensed medical professional must document the medical disability.

Civics Test

In addition to the language requirement, applicants must pass a civics test, which assesses their knowledge of the U.S. government and history. The civics test includes questions about the principles of American democracy, the U.S. Constitution, and the history and government of the United States. Applicants must answer several questions correctly to pass the civics test.

How Can I Prepare for the U.S. Naturalization Language and Civics Test Requirements?

Overall, demonstrating proficiency in English is an integral part of the naturalization process.

You can gain experience by:

  • Engaging in conversations in English with native speakers, friends, or language exchange partners to improve speaking and listening skills.
  • Utilizing language learning resources, such as language learning apps, online courses, or language exchange programs, to enhance language proficiency.
  • Considering enrolling in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes offered by community colleges, adult education programs, or community organizations.
  • Watching English videos, movies, or TV shows to expose yourself to natural speech patterns, vocabulary, and accents.
  • Using online platforms that offer language practice exercises and quizzes designed explicitly for English.

For the civics portion of the naturalization test:

At Kasturi Law, LLC, our Naturalization Lawyers in Naperville & Schaumburg are personally committed to being a trustworthy legal partner for each of our clients and will stand by your side throughout the immigration process, including the naturalization process.

We will be in your corner from start to finish, providing end-to-end legal solutions that allow you to build your life in the U.S. with the dignity, respect, and integrity you deserve.

Contact us today to learn how our Illinois immigration attorney can help you. We provide in-office, phone, and Zoom consultations to help you understand your legal rights and options so you can make informed decisions about your immigration journey.