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Naturalization exceptions for qualified applicants

Applicants for citizenship who qualify may be exempt from certain requirements, while those with disabilities could be accommodated. Individuals applying for naturalization in California and having trouble meeting all of the requirements might be able to take advantage of these exceptions. There is a continuous residence requirement to become a U.S. citizen, but this could be waived if the applicant is engaged in certain overseas employment situations. All applicants who are approved for citizenship must take the Oath of Allegiance. In special circumstances, it could be modified to accommodate the applicant.

USCIS provides accommodations for applicants who are mentally or physically impaired. These changes are made to requirements that make it hard for the impaired applicant to complete the process of naturalization. For example, an applicant who has a developmental disability might get an exemption from the English and civics test requirements. The individual's physician or clinical psychologist can request this exemption on Form N-648.

English language exemptions are also available to applicants 50 and older who have lived in the country as permanent residents for 20 years. It is also available to applicants 55 and other who have lived as permanent residents for 15 years. However, these individuals are still required to take the civics test. The test may be taken in the applicant's native language if the individual does not sufficiently understand spoken English.

It may be difficult for naturalization applicants to determine the appropriate documents to file and where to file them if they have trouble with speaking or reading English, or if they are mentally or physically impaired. These individuals may seek out citizenship attorneys to help them through the process. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also offers a guide to naturalization and a policy manual that may help other applicants.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Exceptions & Accommodations", accessed on Jan. 28, 2015

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