Overview on educational requirements to obtain citizenship status in US.

USC requirement


Understanding of the English language which includes ability to read, speak and write the words used ordinarily must be shown by applicants filing for citizenship status in US
. Also civics, the knowledge and good understanding of the fundamentals of the history and principles and form of the US government must be also demonstrated by applicants. English and civics are the requirements for naturalization. This applies for persons applying for American citizenship online also.

To the English requirements the applicant may be eligible for an exception if the applicant is of a certain age and for a good certain period of time applicant has been a lawful permanent resident. From both the English and civics requirements additionally certain applicants having physical or any developmental disability or any mental illness may be eligible.

Character requirement

Good moral character (GMC) is one of the requirements for naturalization. Important to show that the applicant has previously been and will continue to be a person of good moral character for naturalization. During the five year time period prior to filing the naturalization application and up to the time of the Oath of Allegiance generally the applicant must show GMC. Also prior to the five-year period whether the applicant meets the conduct requirement also may impact naturalization.

To naturalize prior to 1906 requirements like English knowledge, civics, history or understanding of the constitution principles were all not required. The applicant would become a US citizen if the court decides that he/she was a law abiding and productive person with good moral character. Unless an applicant understood provisions of the constitution it was found way back in 1908 by former Immigration Service and the Courts that proof to show attachment to the constitution which is required for naturalization was not possible to be ascertained.

Customizing language test

Amendments which included the English language requirement and based on age and residence some exemptions were made by Congress in 1940. This also included a provision in which based on understanding of their constitutional principles questioning the applicants were allowed.

Applicants who were not able to meet the educational requirements for naturalization because of a medical disability were in 1994 provided an exception by a legislation enacted by Congress. Based on age and residence Congress also amended the exceptions to the English requirement that are current today. United States citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) had redesigned the English and civics test on October 1, 2008.USCIS ensured with this redesigned test, that testing experience for all applicants were the same and opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of English and civics were provided equally.

Legal authority details

For educational requirements for naturalization in the Immigration and Nationality Act Part 312 Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (INA 312; 8 CFR 312) details were given. And for the general requirements for naturalization the Immigration and Nationality Act Part 316 Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (INA 316; 8 CFR 316) lists the details.

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