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Do you have to take the English test during naturalization?

Part of the naturalization test is an assessment of your understanding of the English language. Questions will test your knowledge of grammar, spelling and fundamental concepts of the English language.

In some cases, you may not need to take the English portion of the test. Understanding the criteria for exemptions may help you know where to turn your focus as you study and prepare for your naturalization test in New York.

Age and residency

The two primary determining factors which influence whether or not you need to take the English portion of the test include your age and how long you have legally resided in the United States. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, if you are 55-years-old or older, have maintained a valid green card and have lived in the United States for at least 15 years, you may qualify for an exemption.

If you are 50-years-old, have maintained a valid green card and have lived in the United States for at least 20 years, you may also qualify for an exemption. You may notice the use of the terms “50/20” or “55/15” to reference those exceptions.

Additional advantages

If you fit the criteria aforementioned, you may also have the chance to take the civics portion of the test in your native language. If approved, you will need to supply your own translator who can effectively speak both English and your native tongue. It is important to remember that regardless of whether or not you need to take the English portion of the test, you must still complete and pass the civics portion to maintain eligibility to become a U.S. citizen.

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