Naturalization is the process by which an eligible immigrant affirmatively applies for U.S. citizenship. An individual becomes a U.S. citizen after they have passed an interview and background checks, and they take the Oath of Allegiance administered by either a federal judge or other qualifying government official. The general requirements for naturalization are:
There are some waivers and exemptions to the general requirement to demonstrate English skills and knowledge of history/civics.
First, there are exemptions based on age and length of residence. If you fall into any of these categories, you are exempt from the English language requirement and may have an interpreter with you for the interview and history/civics test. USCIS will not provide the interpreter for you, however.
Second, there is a waiver available to individuals who are unable to learn English and/or the history/civics questions due to medical reasons. Common reasons may be dementia, Alzheimer’s, or severe depression. For this waiver, a qualifying medical professional must complete a form that details the individual’s medical issues and why they are unable to learn or retain English and new information.
Certain veterans and current members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to apply for naturalization based on their military service and are exempt from many of the typical requirements for naturalization. Spouses of members of the military can be eligible for some special programs as well, such as expedited naturalization if certain requirements are met. Our office is experienced in these special naturalization programs.
Naturalization can be a complicated process, so it is important to speak to an experienced attorney if you have any questions. An application can be complicated by criminal convictions, extended international travel, and issues from previous immigration applications.
We welcome you to contact the Brian M. Wang | Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP to schedule a consultation about how we may be of service in your immigration matter. Based in the Albany, NY Capital District area, we assist clients throughout New York, in all 50 states, and worldwide with United States immigration law.