The federal government has certain educational requirements for naturalization, which include literacy requirements and knowledge of the history and government of the United States. The literacy requirements state that in order to become a naturalized citizen, a person must be able to demonstrate his or her understanding of the English language through reading, writing, and speaking.

Naturalization Literacy Examination

The literacy exam consists of the following parts:

  • Verbal. The applicant must demonstrate an ability to speak English through answering questions with a designated testing examiner.
  • Reading and writing. The applicant is tested on his or her reading and writing skills. The test consists of excerpts from parts of the Federal Textbooks on Citizenship. These publications are available free of charge at many public educational institutions.

If an applicant for naturalization fails the literacy exam or the history and government exam, he or she may take the test again within 90 days after the first exam as the application for naturalization is pending.

A person may be exempt from this exam if he or she:

  • Is over the age of 50 and has been living as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. for a total of at least 20 years.
  • Is over the age of 55 and has been living as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. for a total of at least 15 years.
  • Has been medically determined to be physically or mentally unable to demonstrate an understanding of English despite reasonable testing accommodations.

A qualified immigration attorney can further explain these and other requirements for becoming a United States citizen.

To learn more about immigration law, visit the website of the Austin immigration attorneys at the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC.