Law Offices Of Hugo Pina
Law Offices Of Hugo Pina
Experienced Immigration And Criminal Defense Lawyers Serving South Texas
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Is English fluency required for naturalization in the U.S.?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | Naturalization |

If you’ve been a green card holder for a while and are now ready to become a U.S. citizen, you’ll want to make sure that you fulfill all the requirements for naturalization.

You might wonder if fluency in English is an absolute requirement for U.S. citizenship. Being proficient in the English language is generally a requirement for this process. However, fluency isn’t always the benchmark. Exploring the extent to which proficiency is necessary can help you manage your expectations and prepare for the journey ahead.

What is English proficiency?

When you want to integrate into any new society, it’s advantageous to communicate effectively with their language. This is the basis for the requirement for English proficiency during naturalization. The requirement is meant to help green card holders to successfully integrate into American society as they take the leap toward citizenship. The United States Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) wants to be sure that you can:

  • Maneuver daily life interactions
  • Access essential services as a U.S. citizen
  • Have the language capacity to participate actively in your community
  • Understand your rights and obligations as a U.S. citizen

That’s why you’ll be required to take tests to demonstrate your English proficiency. Essentially, the test will test you on basic English to help ensure you can write, read and speak the language.

You will also sit another test to demonstrate your civics knowledge. Without understanding the law of the land, you might unknowingly get into legal trouble or miss opportunities to engage in the democratic process.

Exceptions and accommodations

The USCIS acknowledges that language acquisition can be a challenge for older adults and those with certain disabilities. As such, there are exceptions and accommodations to help ensure such individuals aren’t locked out of the naturalization process.

Green card holders who have lived in the U.S. for 15 to 20 years are exempt from this requirement if they’re applying for citizenship at the age of 50 and 55. Additionally, applicants who have mental impairments that compromise their learning capacity may be exempt from the requirement if they provide pertinent documentation backing up their limitations.

If you are worried about the English fluency requirements, you can relax to a degree because it’s not a particularly strict requirement. The USCIS only tests basic English knowledge to help better ensure new citizens can successfully integrate into U.S. society. If you have more questions about naturalization requirements, a reliable legal team can clear up any concerns you might have.