English is a difficult language to master because it has many irregular verbs and influences from many other languages. It can be very hard for someone who grew up speaking another language to become fluent in both written and spoken English.
However hard it may be, learning English is one of the key requirements for those who want to become naturalized citizens. Those born in another country who want to become a citizen will have to meet certain criteria. Among the requirements are the ability to pass an English test and civics test.
The English test has a combination of written and spoken components. Is it possible for someone to naturalize without taking it?
There are exemptions for people in special circumstances
Most people seeking naturalization will have to pass the English test administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A few individuals with special situations are exempt from the English language requirement for naturalization.
Older adults who have been in the country for a long time can become citizens without taking the language test. Those who are 50 and have been in the U.S. for at least 20 years or are a lawful permanent resident can skip the language test. The same is true of those over 55 who have been legal residents of the U.S. for 15 years or longer.
Those over the age of 65 who have been lawful permanent residents for 20 years or longer may also qualify to skip the English test and can even have accommodations for the civics test. Finally, those with medical disabilities may qualify for an exemption from one or both test requirements.
Immigrants with special circumstances, including medical disabilities, may need help protecting their rights as they seek citizenship through naturalization.