Need exception from test after filing US citizenship application?

 

USCIS interpreters

Due to a disability an accommodation for taking the English and civics tests may be required by an applicant who has filed US citizenship application.In order to meet the applicant’s specific needs appropriate accommodation should be used by USCIS officer. Applicants could also opt to for applying for American citizenship online. For an exception from taking these naturalization tests also some applicants with disabilities may be qualified additionally.

Reading Test in Large Print if required

For applicants who are partially blind or with low vision the latest naturalization reading test version in larger prints should be provided by an officer.

Writing Test orally

Physically impaired applicants should be allowed to take writing test verbally by officer thus causing less or no use of hands. By spelling out words from the writing test the applicant may satisfy the writing requirements.

Nonverbal Communication

Actions like blinking, shaking or nodding of head, tapping, or other effective forms of communication that are nonverbal should be accepted by officer during the naturalization examination.  To answers on the application the officer should also allow the applicant to point and to the civics test if the applicant is not able to communicate verbally allow the applicant to write out the answers. Form of communication should be decided upon by the officer, the applicant, and also the applicant’s representative if present before the start of the naturalization examination.

Sign Language Interpreters

For applicants with hearing difficulties like being deaf or hard of hearing their requests should be given primary consideration by USCIS while deciding the type of accommodation to a person with disability. An English sign language interpreter should be provided for a deaf or applicant who is hard of hearing by the field officer on his or her request provided the applicant doesn’t opt to bring an interpreter of his or her own choice. As required the officer should use any communication aids available for the deaf or hard of hearing. Also the applicant must be permitted to read lips and also be allowed to answer in writing the officer’s questions.

Unable to take the Oath of Allegiance?

Some applicants may find it difficult to take the Oath of Allegiance at the oath ceremony due to a disability or medical impairment. Accommodations to the Oath of Allegiance are also available. For a waiver of the Oath of Allegiance also some applicants may qualify.

1.       For agreement to the Oath language is simplified

For better understanding of the questions regarding to the oath in a clear, simplified language and a slow manner the officer may question the applicant about the Oath of Allegiance. To agree to the Oath of allegiance and in order to understand that he/she is becoming a US citizen this approach will help the applicant to understand.

2.      Oath schedule is expedited

Due to a medical impairment in case an applicant will never be able to attend the oath ceremony a field office should expedite administration of the Oath of Allegiance. Ceremony on the day of examination itself or as an off-site visit the expedited process may occur.

3.      Oath taking with sign language interpreter

For a judicial ceremony during which a court is not able to provide an English sign language interpreter or during an administrative oath ceremony for an applicant who is deaf or is hard of hearing a field office should provide an English sign language interpreter.

4.      Administration of Oath off-site

Immediately after the off-site examination of an applicant who is unable to attend because of the medical conditions Oath of allegiance should be administered by a field officer. Due to worsening condition some applicants who may have appeared at the field office for the examination might not be able to attend the oath ceremony. To administer the Oath of Allegiance an off-site visit may be scheduled for such cases.

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USCIS helps special US citizenship applicants!

USC in US

USCIS provides many types of accommodations to disabled applicants who file for US citizenship Normally the accommodation relates to the naturalization interview, naturalization test or the Oath of allegiance. Important to remember that all applicants, normal or with type of disabilities, should meet all requirements that decide their eligibility for naturalization. Including any pre- examination procedures to any aspect of the naturalization process each accommodation may apply as required. Some applicants may need one while others as recognized by USCIS may require more than one accommodation.

Online information to get to know the citizenship status is also available with USCIS. For applicants with disabilities the field offices are able to provide accommodations during the naturalization examination.

1.      Additional examination time and breaks

For applicants with disabilities who have requested for this accommodation type an USCIS officer may provide additional time for the examination and allow breaks if necessary since USCIS is aware that more than the regularly scheduled time some applicants require more time.

2.      Accommodations applicants with hearing problems

As per the applicant’s request the field office should provide applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing an English sign language interpreter in case the applicant doesn’t choose to bring one on her/his own. Any communication aids which are available for the deaf or the hard of hearing applicants should be used by the officer and if required in writing applicant should be allowed to answer officer’s questions.

3.      Assistance during examination and form signing by relatives

With the applicant to attend the examination officers may allow a family member or legal guardian in cases where an applicant is disabled. During the examination this may help the applicant to remain calm and approachable. The officer may remove the person at any time from the examination if his/her presence is causing some trouble to the examination. If applicant is not able to proceed at that time the officer reschedules examination. If applicant is unable to sign on the naturalization application or any document applicant can make a mark. For attesting on a naturalization application a family member can assist applicant to sign, make a mark or initial. No one except for the applicant should sign the naturalization application.

4.      Presence of designated representative or legal Guardian during examinations 

In person all applicants need to appear currently and statement should be given as to their naturalization eligibility under oath. Due to any physical, mental or developmental disabilities when an applicant is unable to undergo an examination a legal guardian, substitute, or an eligible nominated representative completes the naturalization process for the applicant. Accommodation like off-site examination along with oath waiver is provided additionally if required.

Order of priority by which USCIS will recognize one designated representative is first preference for Legal guardian or substitute (highest priority), then the spouse who is US citizen, next parent who is US citizen, next adult son or daughter who is US citizen and lastly adult brother or sister who is US citizen with the least priority provided they have documents in support as proof like Administration documents, affidavits or evidence of U.S. citizenship.

5.      Nonverbal Communication is allowed

During the naturalization examination blinking, shaking or nodding of head, tapping, or other effective forms of nonverbal communication may be accepted by an officer as nonverbal communication. The applicant must also be allowed to point to answers on the application and also be allowed to write down answers to civics test questions if applicant cannot verbally say it. The form of communication should be agreed upon prior to the start of the naturalization examination by the officer, the applicant, and also the applicant’s representative if required.

6.      Examination done off-site

At the applicant’s residence, nursing home, any hospital or a center for senior citizens whichever is appropriate an officer may conduct a naturalization examination. When it’s inappropriate for an applicant to appear in person at a field office because of medical illness or disability this applies.

For any assistance in the process of becoming a citizen request USCIS!

old women

 

Applicants going through the naturalization process may have some disabilities for which USCIS could help them so that they can complete the process of becoming a citizen hassle free.  Normal applicants follow the normal course of action in order to gain US citizenship. Few others though meet all the requirements to become US citizen might have problems like a physical disability. Personal problems might also be a reason and thus expand the duration of time of how long to become citizen in US. Such applicants can seek USCIS accommodation.

For the accommodation requests the policies and procedures USCIS has established to process and handle them include the following:

  • Information about accommodation requisitions should be provided locally  
  • As and when possible a point-of-contact should be designated to handle accommodation requests
  • On a timely basis response is must to inquiries and also up to date reviewing of accommodation requests.
  • Uniform systematic internal procedures for receiving and also for properly filing of request have been established.
  • As and when appropriate requests are processed and accommodations are provided

Steps of accommodation requisition

1. Request submission

Each and every time the applicant needs an accommodation it is their responsibility to request for one in advance. Along with the naturalization application simultaneously the applicant, his or her attorney or qualified representative or his/her legal guardian should generally request an accommodation. The National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 (TDD: 1-800-767-1833) however also could be called by the applicant to request an accommodation.  Otherwise at any time during the naturalization process with the field office too applicant may request an accommodation.

2. Request on time

If the request of accommodation is not made in advance or in a timely manner it can affect the ability of the field office to provide an accommodation on the required date. Advance requests may not be required for some types of accommodations and could be provided immediately. Requests of the applicant like the need for the USCIS employee to speak louder or slowly to him/her or while answering during the examination more time required to answer etc are such examples.  But without advance planning other types of accommodations may be difficult to be provided.  Provision of a sign language interpreter, more time for the examination or an off-site examination scheduling etc are some examples.

Evidence and support documents

On a case by case basis each request for an accommodation is evaluated by USCIS. In order to evaluate a request for some rare cases documents may be needed but mostly an applicant is not required to include his or her medical condition proof documents.

Provision of requested accommodation

On the date and time when the applicant is schedule to appear a field office should provide the accommodation if it has been a reasonable one. Without any changes to the appointment of the applicant the field office should plan to provide the requested accommodation. As soon as possible the applicant and his or her attorney or qualified representative should be notified in case an accommodation cannot be provided for the scheduled appointment. Also within a reasonable period of time the applicant’s appointment should be rescheduled.

USCIS accommodates disabled applicants also for US citizenship.

USC accomodation

To the naturalization process modifications are made by USCIS in order to house US citizenship applicants with disabilities. For the successful completion of the naturalization process USCIS aims to provide equal opportunities to applicants with disabilities. Without making any type of major modification because of which there would a fundamental change in the naturalization process or cause undue burden to the agency USCIS would make every effort and make adjustments for naturalization applicant with disabilities. Also such applicants could check citizenship status sitting at home online.

USCIS and applicants with disabilities

As adjustments vary pertaining to the applicant’s disability and it nature on a case by case basis USCIS evaluates the disability adjustment requests accordingly. To requests of the person with a disability USCIS gives the primary consideration while determining what type of accommodation is necessary.

Wherever appropriate the unique needs of the applicant are addressed when USCIS provides requested accommodation or an effective option to the applicants with disabilities.

At the time of filing the naturalization application or at any other time during the naturalization process accommodation may be requested by the applicants.

Programs for disabled

In the administration of the programs and benefits of the all federal agencies its mandatory to provide reasonable adjustments to the persons with disabilities according to the Rehabilitation Act. From its programs or activities thus based on their disability USCIS does not exclude persons with disabilities. To have an equal opportunity to participate in the USCIS programs, including the naturalization process, they are provided with accommodations by USCIS in order to help applicants with any type of disabilities. Therefore the Rehabilitation Act and the implemented Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations are met by USCIS.

How do accommodations and waivers differ?

From the legislative waivers or exceptions the accommodations are different. The applicant is excused from meeting that educational requirement, for example, if an officer grants a waiver from the educational requirements in the naturalization process.

For an applicant with any kind of disability to take part in the naturalization process the modification done to an existing practice or procedure is what is referred to by an accommodation.

No excuse from the responsibilities to be able to satisfy all the applicable requirements for naturalization is provided by the accommodation though to the applicants with disabilities.  Just a modification to the way any applicant would prove his/her ability to be meeting the requirements is what the accommodation is all about.

Information on legal acts for naturalization

The following acts and rules are implemented during the naturalization process especially for the disabled applicants.

  • According to the section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation act all applicants must be ensured to get an equal opportunity to federal programs.
  • Under any federal grants and programs no discrimination should be done among applicants according to United States Code Title 29 Section 794.
  • For persons who access Department of Homeland Security programs or activities based on their disability no discrimination is allowed according to federal regulations of DHS according to Code of Federal Regulations – Title 6 part15.
  • For applicants who are sick or with disabilities examination and off site visits are allowed according to Code of Federal Regulations -Title 8 part 334.4 (8 CFR 334.4).

Important to file for US citizenship application hearing on time.

USCIS n336

The request is considered improperly filed if an applicant files a hearing request 30 days after receiving the denial notice by USCIS on a US citizenship application. If USCIS mail it the applicant is given 33 days of time. There is also an option of applying for American citizenship
online
. The hearing request is treated as a motion if the untimely hearing request of the applicant meets either the motion to reopen or the motion to reconsider requirements. In such instances based on the merits of the case USCIS renders a decision. The request is rejected without a fee refund if the request does not meet the motion requirements of the USCIS.

Request for hearing is treated as motion to reopen?

If applicant presents new evidences and facts the USCIS will treat the request filed late as a motion to reopen and only if request is based on the following:

  • There was no issue with the eligibility for the requested evidence which lead to the denial of the application;
  • The required initial evidence was submitted with the application, or the request for initial evidence or additional information or appearance was complied with during the allotted period; or
  • To wrong address USCIS sent the relevant correspondence or before USCIS sent the correspondence change of address was filed by the applicant in a timely manner.

Applicant request for hearing, even though it was filed late, is treated as a motion to reconsider by USCIS if:

  • Reasons for reconsideration is explained by the applicant
  • based on an incorrect application of law or USCIS policy only relevant standard decisions establish that the decision to deny was; and
  • At the time of the decision based on the evidence of record the applicant establishes that the decision to deny was incorrect.

If unauthorized person or entity filed requests USCIS considers the hearing request improperly filed. Without refund of filing fee USCIS rejects these requests.

Authorized person files requests improperly?

Without properly filing a notice of entry appearance permitting that person as applicant’s representative if an attorney or authorized person files request for hearing USCIS considers a hearing request improperly filed. For such cases within 15 days the officer must ask the attorney or representative to submit a proper filed notice.

The hearing request is considered properly filed if the attorney or representative replies with a properly executed notice within 15 days by the USCIS officer. Through the officer’s own motion to reopen the officer may nevertheless make a new decision favorable to the applicant without notifying the attorney or representative if the attorney or representative fails to do so.

After hearing with a USCIS officer if the naturalization application is denied a naturalization applicant may request judicial review before a United States district court. Before the United States District Court having jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence the applicant must file the request. As a new trial the district court reviews the case de novo and after its fact findings makes conclusions based on law.

Opt to apply for hearing in the process of becoming a citizen in US.

us citizenship application denial

 

After filing and review for some reasons the naturalization application may get denied by USCIS during the process of becoming a citizen in US. If the naturalization application of the applicant is denied, the applicant or his/her representative can request before an officer for a USCIS hearing. Within 30 days of receipt of the denial the applicant or the authorized representative should file with USCIS the hearing request. The naturalization process is a complex one and so utmost care should be taken while applying for hearing.

Important to request timely review

  1. Schedule hearing within 180 days

Within 180 days USCIS will schedule a hearing after receiving a request from applicant in a timely manner. This adds to the time of how long to become citizen in US. Other than the original officer who conducted the initial examination or who denied the application, a different officer should conduct the hearing. Officer should be one who is classified at a grade equal or above the officer who conducted initial examination.

  1. Application review by different officer

Type of review method could be new trial or a less formal procedure of applicant’s naturalization application and this is decided based on the following:

  • Depending on how complex the issues are which require to be determined or need a new trial  review (de novo review) and
  • According to naturalization requirement the need for more examination if necessary is to be conducted.

If officer conducts a new and full review of the naturalization application its referred to as de novo review, new trial. Following authority and right the officer who is conducting the review will have:

  • All aspects of the naturalization application is reviewed and a new examination of applicant
  • As part of the examination review any record, file or report created
  • relevant to the applicant’s eligibility receive new evidence and testimony and
  • Denial of the previous officer has to be affirmed or as a whole or in part the decision is re-determined.

Hearing conducted by the officer is to decide either one of the following:

  • Findings in the denial is affirmed and the original decision to deny is maintained;
  • Based on the newly found reasons of ineligibility the original decision is re-determined and application is denied. or
  • The naturalization application is approved after the original decision is re-determined and from denial the original decision is reversed.
  1. Hearing for English and Civics Testing

On the basis of not able to meet the educational requirements which include English and civics tests if there are hearings on naturalization application denials, the tests the applicant previously failed has to be administered by the officer. At the hearing only one opportunity is given to pass the tests of the portion the applicant has failed. If applicant fails the tests again the whole process should be repeated. These tests are to check the English in order to ascertain if the applicant is able to speak and interact with ease and the civics test is to test the knowledge about US history and also to check the applicant’s interest and commitment towards US.

US citizenship application could be approved,denied or examination continued.

congratulations_us_citizenship

 

On a US citizenship application the USCIS has 120 days to decide from the initial naturalization interview date. In a district court the US citizenship applicant can apply for judicial review if decision is not taken within 120 days since the interview. Based on the laws, governing policies, regulations and precedent decisions the officer must make a decision.

As outcome the officer may decide one of the following:

  • The application is approved
  • Office might not make a decision and continue with the examination and for more information will reschedule applicant or for other appropriate reasons
  • The application is denied.

At the end of the interview the applicant will be provided a notice of results by the officer for whatever the result may be. Information about the result of the interview would be provided in the notice along with steps to be followed for cases which require continuation of examination.

Naturalization Application is approved?

The application goes through necessary internal procedures if an officer approves a naturalization application. Then the USCIS office schedules a ceremony for the administration of the Oath of Allegiance for which the applicant should appear. A revaluation of approved application for quality is included in the internal procedures. Re-verification is done by a different officer not the one who conducted the interview. After conducting the re-verification of the US citizenship application the officer does not deliver judgment but any eligibility issues may be raised by him. After approval of the application for cases where USCIS identifies potential information for which it is disqualified the USCIS does not schedule an applicant for the Oath of Allegiance. USCIS will issue a motion to reopen and reanalyze the US citizenship application if the disqualifying information is not resolved and the applicant is not eligible for naturalization.

Examination is to be continued?

Request for more evidence:

In case additional information is needed in order to make a perfect decision on the application the officer issues a written request for evidence to the applicant. To respond to a request for evidence USCIS generally permits a period of 30 days for the applicant.

Following should be included in the request for evidence:

  • According to request of officer the specific documentation or information
  • The applicant might respond  in which ways; and
  • In order to reply the time period given to the applicant.

Within the specified time the applicant must respond to the officer’s request for evidence. On the timely submission of the requested evidence the officer will make a decision on the eligibility of the applicant. Based on the available evidence for the application the officer will be deliver a judgment if evidence as requested is not submitted on time.

Re-examination schedule

A second opportunity must be provided by the officer to the applicant to the test within 60 to 90 days from the initial date of examination if the applicant fails in any portion of the naturalization test.  Based on other grounds if the applicant is legally ineligible this is not possible. To resolve any issues on eligibility also an officer should schedule a re-examination. Subsequently the officer will approve, continue examination or deny the US citizenship application based on the reexamination results.

The application will be denied based on the applicant’s failure to meet educational requirements for US citizenship if the applicant fails to appear for the re-examination and also USCIS does not receive a timely or reasonable request to reschedule.  Within the denial notice other areas of ineligibility also should be included by the officer.

Naturalization Application is denied?

Within 120 days after the initial interview for naturalization application denial notice should be issued by an officer based on ineligibility or lack of prosecution to the applicant and his or her attorney or representative.  The following should be included in the written denial notice:

  • To support decision a clear and brief statement of the facts,
  • Specific details of eligibility requirements the applicant failed to meet should be mentioned, and
  • To request a hearing on the denial the necessary information for the applicant.

US citizenship status check available online.

pledge-of-allegiance1

 

After US citizenship application is filed and once it is approved the applicant becomes a US citizen following other formalities. For one reason or other there is a delay in processing of the application or its denial. Unless the naturalization certificate is received the citizenship status is unpredictable in some cases. Possibility of a US citizen losing the status because of a marriage fraud or any other reason also happens. Sometimes an application could be approved after initial examination but before the administration of oath of allegiance there is possibility of the application being reopened and denied also. The option of applying for American citizenship online also could have been used.

What motion to reopen means?

A previously approved naturalization application could be reopened by a motion executed by an officer if offensive information about the applicant is received or USCIS gets to know prior to the Oath of Allegiance administration but after application is approved. Also without any valid reason for at least two Oaths of allegiance ceremonies the applicant fails to appear.

Through the motion to reopen notification is sent to the applicant after information her/him about the offensive information received or for not appearing for more than two ceremonies of Oath of Allegiance administration. To prevail over the offensive information received or to explain a valid reason for not appearing at the Oath ceremony and in response to the motion to reopen the applicant is given only 15 days time.

The officer will deny the motion to reopen the case and schedule an Oath of Allegiance ceremony in which applicant could appear if applicant explains her/himself about the derogatory information and hence qualifies for naturalization. The motion to reopen is granted by officer and based on its qualities application is denied if the applicant fails to prevail over the derogatory information.

If USCIS has received or gets to know about offensive information about an applicant administration of Oath of allegiance should not be scheduled by them. Once the matter is resolved in favor of applicant only then USCIS must not administer the Oath of Allegiance to the applicant.

Intention to be naturalized is abandoned if to at least two ceremonies to administer the Oath of allegiance the applicant fails to appear without providing a valid reason of good cause. In par with the receipt of offensive information USCIS will consider the failure to appear though the naturalization application is already approved.

Can open administratively closed application?

From the date the naturalization application was closed administratively within a period of one year by submitting a written request to USCIS the applicant may request to reopen it. No additional fees are required to be paid by the applicant in such cases. The date the request to reopen the naturalization application is received by USCIS from the applicant is considered as the date of filing the naturalization application in order to determine the naturalization eligibility. For both approval and denial of the motion to reopen the naturalization application the applicant is sent a notice by USCIS.

Time to how long to become citizen in US depends on application approval.

USA Form N-400

 

After going through the initial process of becoming a citizen in US the main reason for denying a US citizenship application by USCIS includes one or more of the following:

  • Not able to establish lawful permanent resident admission
  • Not meeting continuous or/and physical residence requirement
  • In the same state or service district residence for 3 months
  • Good moral character
  • English knowledge
  • US history and government knowledge
  • Lack of examination

The denial adds to the time of how long to become citizen in US caused due to mistakes from the applicant’s side.

Excluding the above there are other reasons for denial also as follows:

Fail to appear at initial interview results in administrative closure.

If applicant fails to appear for the initial examination for naturalization without informing USCIS a reason for it within 30 days of the scheduled appointment it means that the applicant has abandoned his/her application.  Without making a decision on the qualities of the application the officer will administratively close it if on a timely manner the applicant doesn’t notify.

Within one year of time the application was closed in order to reopen the administratively closed application the applicant should submit a written request to the USCIS. For naturalization eligibility determination purposes the date of the applicant’s request to reopen an application becomes the date of filing the naturalization application. From the date the application is closed if the applicant does not request reopening of an administratively closed application USCIS will consider that the application for naturalization is abandoned and without further notice to the applicant the application is dismissed.

No response to request for evidence.

Officer will judge the application on the qualities in case within 30 days to a request for evidence or for a reexamination the applicant fails to appear or respond.  While analyzing a subsequent motion to reopen the case any written explanation submitted by applicant for failing to appear or respond for an examination must be considered by an officer as an exception.

Application withdrawal

To withdraw the application the applicant must request in writing.  The withdrawal of application will mean no further hearing to the application and this must be informed by the officer to the applicant. Without any kind of discrimination the applicant can submit application again if USCIS accepts the withdrawal. Regarding the naturalization application further notices will not be sent by USCIS. Based on the merits of the application a decision is made by the officer if consent to the withdrawal is not given by the District Director.

Applicant is in Removal Proceedings?

The naturalization application of an applicant who is in removal proceedings cannot be judged by USCIS. Until the final order of removal or termination of removal proceedings is ordered by the immigration judge generally USCIS will hold the application in abeyance.  The procedure to be followed in such cases by the field offices should be based on the advice of local USCIS counsel.