I am unable to read and write in my native language. Do I still have to be able to read and write English when I apply for US citizenship?
QUESTION: When I apply for naturalization, to become a US citizen, can I get a waiver of the requirement to read and write English based on the fact that I am unable to read and write in my native language?
THE IMMIGRATION ANSWER MAN – ARI SAUER: The requirement to read and write English can only be waived if either:
a) the application is over 55 and has lived in the US for 15 years after becoming a US Permanent Resident (green card holder);
b) the applicant is over 50 and has lived in the US for 20 years after becoming a US Permanent Resident;
c) the applicant’s inability to learn to read and write in English is caused by a physical or developmental disability, or a mental impairment, which would qualify the person for an N-648 waiver.
Unfortunately, the fact that the applicant is illiterate in their native language is not, by itself, a reason for USCIS to waive the requirement to be able to read and write in English for the application for naturalization.
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