Have you been thinking that maybe your mom and dad might be perfect for getting their citizenship but they’re older and they’re really nervous about taking the test in English? I’m here to tell you that maybe they don’t have to take it in english and they can take it in their own language. I´m Hillary Walsh, I’m in immigration lawyer in Phoenix Arizona and New Frontier Law is my law firm and I’m helping immigrants across the United States with their lawful residency and become citizens of this amazing country. Today I’m going to tell you a few ways that we can help your mom, your dad or perhaps yourself get your citizenship without having to do it in English.
We have a lot of clients that come to me and we have a very very bilingual staff. If you have an
y questions, I know I’m writing in English but that’s what I’m comfortable with and with that said I totally get that you want to speak in a language that you are most comfortable with. Especially in a situation where your citizenship in this country is at stake. Especially my elderly folks, people who have been residents of this country for so long. I am talking to people like you, it’s time for us to get your citizenship so you can be a citizen of the country and that you pay taxes in, that you watch the elections in, you saw people come and go in the political arena. You have a better pulse of what’s going on in this country than most US citizens at any given room. I want to tell you that you can take (if you meet these exceptions, if you meet these rules) the test in your language. You also don’t have to do the written component. People who can’t read or write often think they can’t pass the naturalization test. We’ll bring the translator to help you and it’s going to be a really fun process and at the end of it I hope they’re going to be standing you in another room full of other immigrants saying Pledge of Allegiance and hearing Lee Greenwood singing I’m proud to be an American.
The 50/20 Exception
First there’s something called the 50/20 exception. Here’s what the 50/20 exception is: if you’re 50 years and older and you are a lawful permanent r
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esident you had your green card for 20 years you do not have to take the Naturalization exam in English. You get to take it in a language that you’re most comfortable in and we go from there you also don’t have to write in English. So for people who can’t read or write this is an amazing thing. You’ve been here, you are 50 years or older and you have been a lawful permanent resident for more than 20 years. Tell your mom and dad who have been stressing about the Naturalization exam that this is no longer a stress. The English component is no longer a stress, the writing components no longer worry.
The 55/15 Exception
The other component is a 55/15 exception. So this basically bumps up the age but reduces the amount of time you need to have your lawful permanent residency. I’ll explain it here. If you’re 55 years old or older and for a minimum of 15 years you have been a lawful permanent resident of the United States of America, you don’t have to take the Naturalization exam in English. You can bring a translator, you don’t have to do any of the writing components. You don’t have to show that you can write English and you are good to go.
The 65/20 Exception
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Here’s the bonus round. I’m talking to anyone who is 65 years or older, perhaps your parents are. 65 years or older and you are a lawful permanent resident for 20 years you actually have a simplified Civic exam. So as many of you know or perhaps you don´t know (it’s okay if you don’t), you have to take what’s essentially a History exam of the United States. You’re given a pool of questions that are made public and you can study.
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I know when my father-in-law who was born in Canada and now is a US citizen, was practicing for his exam he studied every single one of those Civics questions and knew them like the back of his hand. So when the USCIS officer asked the first three words of the question my father in law already knew the answer. You get a simplified version if 65 years or older and you’ve been allowed for permanent residence for more than 20 years. You’ve had your green card for a minimum of 20 years. When you get to take the simplified version you don’t have to do any of the writing components. I don’t think this is because they don’t think that you can do it. I think it’s because we all know that you know more about American Civics and the rest of us but we don’t want to really want to be put to shame.
Go For It!
If you have a parent or grandparent who fits these rules either 50, 55 or 65 and you want to give them the amazing of becoming a U.S. citizen by helping them. Let them know they don’t have to take this exam in English.