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How good does your English need to be to become a U.S. citizen?

On Behalf of | Sep 3, 2022 | Immigration News |

Because you have been a legal permanent resident for years, you probably recognize that people in most places in the U.S. speak English. This means you must be able to read and write in the language to function in society. Put differently, if you are not functionally fluent, you are likely to struggle.

To become a U.S. citizen, most individuals must have a basic competency in the English language. They also must convince a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer they can speak and write in English. Fortunately, though, you do not need to have perfect English to qualify for naturalization.

Some naturalization applicants are exempt

According to the USCIS, some naturalization applicants are exempt from the English-language component. If you are older than 50 and have been a legal permanent resident for many years, you should ask your attorney about your eligibility for an exemption. If you qualify, you can bring an interpreter with you to your naturalization interview and answer questions in the language with which you are most comfortable.

You can retake the test

If you do not qualify for an exemption, you must demonstrate your English competency both verbally and in writing. Your attorney can recommend strategies for preparing yourself for your naturalization interview. Nevertheless, if you do not pass the English section of your interview, you have an opportunity to try again. The USCIS officer should schedule a follow-up interview within 90 days for your repeat attempt.

Ultimately, because of the many benefits that come with being a U.S. citizen, you should not let small issues with your English fluency discourage you from applying for naturalization.


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