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Does the U.S. accommodate disabled naturalization applicants?

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2022 | Immigration Law

Passing your naturalization exam is a major step forward in your dream of becoming an American citizen. Still, you may have concerns because you possess a physical or mental disability. You may fear that completing the exam will be difficult or perhaps impossible because of your condition.

The good news is that U.S. authorities understand that some immigrants have challenges when it comes to speaking, hearing or getting around. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, you may seek one or more accommodations for your naturalization exam if you are eligible.

Use other means to take your test

In the event you have hearing difficulties, you may have a sign language interpreter assist you in answering questions. An immigration officer could also work out other means of giving answers without you having to speak. These include:

  • Tapping
  • Nodding your head
  • Blinking

Another option is for the officer to point to questions and let you write out the answers. You should work out your communication choices with the officer in advance or have a representative work it out for you.

Let outside parties attend

Depending on your situation, you might need relatives at the exam site to help you. A loved one can calm you down if you have an emotional disorder. If your physical disability limits your ability to write, a relative or friend could assist you in signing or applying a mark on your test.

Some immigrants have a mental or developmental disability that does not allow them to take the naturalization exam at all. In this case, a surrogate or legal guardian can speak for the immigrant and help them complete naturalization.

Take the test in a different location

It may not be medically feasible for you to travel to a field office to take your exam. If so, the USCIS could permit you to take the test in your home or a place where you are staying such as a nursing home or an assisted living center.

Remember that the USCIS allows for retesting opportunities, so do not worry that you have only one shot at your dream. Between accommodations and your own preparation, becoming a U.S. citizen may be a very attainable goal.