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  • Writer's pictureMauricio Torres Sanchez

Exceptions for Citizenship Applicants due to Age and Disabilities

The law has established certain requirements for anyone to apply for Citizenship or Naturalization. Two of these requirements are:

  1. Being able to read, write, and speak basic English; and,

  2. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government.

The law has also provided some exceptions and modifications to these two requirements for certain older, long-time lawful permanent residents as well as for those applicants with disabilities.


1. Exceptions due to age


A naturalization applicant who has turned a certain age may be eligible for exceptions of the English test and special considerations regarding the civics test requirement. These are the current exceptions:

If you are…

English Test

Civics Test

50/20 Exception

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

You DO NOT need to take English test and may bring an interpreter to your interview

You are required to study the 100 questions of the civics test, but may take the test in your native language

55/15 Exception

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

You DO NOT need to take English test and may bring an interpreter to your interview

You are required to study the 100 questions of the civics test, but may take the test in your native language

65/20 Exception

Age 65 or older and have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years at the time of filing for naturalization

You DO NOT need to take English test and may bring an interpreter to your interview

You are required to take the civics test but will only have to study 20 questions; you may take the test in your native language

2. Exceptions to English and civics testing due to disabilities


Some naturalization applicants find it extremely difficult to fulfill the English and civics testing requirements to become citizens due to their physical or developmental disabilities or mental impairments. These applicants may file Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions to request an exception to those requirements. The form must be completed and certified by a medical professional.

Just recently, on October 19, 2022, USCIS updated policy guidance to provide guidance for telehealth medical examinations and to allow medical professionals to indicate if an applicant needs an oath waiver. USCIS also indicated that medical professionals no longer need to explain how each relevant disability affects specific functions of the applicant’s daily life (such as the ability to work or go to school) and they do not need to have a pre-existing relationship with the applicant.


You can submit your Form N-648 as an attachment to your naturalization application. However, USCIS should also accept the form after you have already filed your naturalization application.


To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys and discuss your questions regarding the exceptions to English and civics testing for naturalization applicants, please click HERE.

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