8 U.S. Code § 1423 - Requirements as to understanding the English language, history, principles and form of government of the United States

(a) No person except as otherwise provided in this subchapter shall hereafter be naturalized as a citizen of the United States upon his own application who cannot demonstrate—
(1) an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language: Provided, That the requirements of this paragraph relating to ability to read and write shall be met if the applicant can read or write simple words and phrases to the end that a reasonable test of his literacy shall be made and that no extraordinary or unreasonable condition shall be imposed upon the applicant; and
(2) a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States.
(b)
(1) The requirements of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to any person who is unable because of physical or developmental disability or mental impairment to comply therewith.
(2) The requirement of subsection (a)(1) of this section shall not apply to any person who, on the date of the filing of the person’s application for naturalization as provided in section 1445 of this title, either—
(A) is over fifty years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least twenty years subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence, or
(B) is over fifty-five years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least fifteen years subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence.
(3) The Attorney General, pursuant to regulations, shall provide for special consideration, as determined by the Attorney General, concerning the requirement of subsection (a)(2) of this section with respect to any person who, on the date of the filing of the person’s application for naturalization as provided in section 1445 of this title, is over sixty-five years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least twenty years subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence.

Source

(June 27, 1952, ch. 477, title III, ch. 2, § 312,66 Stat. 239; Pub. L. 95–579, § 3,Nov. 2, 1978, 92 Stat. 2474; Pub. L. 101–649, title IV, § 403,Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 5039; Pub. L. 102–232, title III, § 305(m)(2),Dec. 12, 1991, 105 Stat. 1750; Pub. L. 103–416, title I, § 108(a),Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4309.)
Amendments

1994—Pub. L. 103–416designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), struck out “this requirement shall not apply to any person physically unable to comply therewith, if otherwise qualified to be naturalized, or to any person who, on the date of the filing of his application for naturalization as provided in section 1445 of this title, either (A) is over 50 years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least 20 years subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence, or (B) is over 55 years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least 15 years subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence: Provided further, That”, after “Provided, That”, substituted “this paragraph” for “this section” after “requirements of”, and added subsec. (b).
1991—Pub. L. 102–232substituted “application” for “petition” in introductory provisions and par. (1).
1990—Par. (1). Pub. L. 101–649substituted “either (A) is over 50 years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least 20 years subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence, or (B) is over 55 years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least 15 years subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence” for “is over fifty years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least twenty years subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence”.
1978—Par. (1). Pub. L. 95–579substituted “person who, on the date of the filing of his petition for naturalization as provided in section 1445 of this title, is over fifty years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least twenty years subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence” for “person who, on the effective date of this chapter, is over fifty years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least twenty years”.
Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Pub. L. 103–416, title I, § 108(c),Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4310, provided that: “The amendments made by subsection (a) [amending this section] shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 25, 1994] and shall apply to applications for naturalization filed on or after such date and to such applications pending on such date.”
Effective Date of 1991 Amendment

Pub. L. 102–232, title III, § 305(m),Dec. 12, 1991, 105 Stat. 1750, provided that the amendment made by section 305(m) is effective as if included in section 407(d) of the Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101–649.
Regulations

Pub. L. 103–416, title I, § 108(d),Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4310, provided that: “Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 25, 1994], the Attorney General shall promulgate regulations to carry out section 312(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act [8 U.S.C. 1423 (b)(3)] (as amended by subsection (a)).”
Abolition of Immigration and Naturalization Service and Transfer of Functions

For abolition of Immigration and Naturalization Service, transfer of functions, and treatment of related references, see note set out under section 1551 of this title.
Hmong Veterans’ Naturalization

Pub. L. 106–207, May 26, 2000, 114 Stat. 316, as amended by Pub. L. 106–415, Nov. 1, 2000, 114 Stat. 1810; Pub. L. 107–77, title I, § 112,Nov. 28, 2001, 115 Stat. 765, provided that:
“SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
“This Act may be cited as the ‘Hmong Veterans’ Naturalization Act of 2000’.
“SEC. 2. EXEMPTION FROM ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT FOR CERTAIN ALIENS WHO SERVED WITH SPECIAL GUERRILLA UNITS OR IRREGULAR FORCES IN LAOS.
“The requirement of paragraph (1) of section 312(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1423 (a)(1)) shall not apply to the naturalization of any person—
“(1) who—
“(A) was admitted into the United States as a refugee from Laos pursuant to section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1157); and
“(B) served with a special guerrilla unit, or irregular forces, operating from a base in Laos in support of the United States military at any time during the period beginning February 28, 1961, and ending September 18, 1978;
“(2) who—
“(A) satisfies the requirement of paragraph (1)(A); and
“(B) was the spouse of a person described in paragraph (1) on the day on which such described person applied for admission into the United States as a refugee; or
“(3) who—
“(A) satisfies the requirement of paragraph (1)(A); and
“(B) is the surviving spouse of a person described in paragraph (1)(B) which described person was killed or died in Laos, Thailand, or Vietnam.
“SEC. 3. SPECIAL CONSIDERATION CONCERNING CIVICS REQUIREMENT FOR CERTAIN ALIENS WHO SERVED WITH SPECIAL GUERRILLA UNITS OR IRREGULAR FORCES IN LAOS.
“The Attorney General shall provide for special consideration, as determined by the Attorney General, concerning the requirement of paragraph (2) of section 312(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1423 (a)(2)) with respect to the naturalization of any person described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of section 2 of this Act.
“SEC. 4. DOCUMENTATION OF QUALIFYING SERVICE.
“A person seeking an exemption under section 2 or special consideration under section 3 shall submit to the Attorney General documentation of their, or their spouse’s, service with a special guerrilla unit, or irregular forces, described in section 2 (1)(B), in the form of—
“(1) original documents;
“(2) an affidavit of the serving person’s superior officer;
“(3) two affidavits from other individuals who also were serving with such a special guerrilla unit, or irregular forces, and who personally knew of the person’s service; or
“(4) other appropriate proof.
“SEC. 5. DETERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY FOR EXEMPTION AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATION.
“(a) In determining a person’s eligibility for an exemption under section 2 or special consideration under section 3, the Attorney General—
“(1) shall review the refugee processing documentation for the person, or, in an appropriate case, for the person and the person’s spouse, to verify that the requirements of section 2 relating to refugee applications and admissions have been satisfied;
“(2) shall consider the documentation submitted by the person under section 4;
“(3) may request an advisory opinion from the Secretary of Defense regarding the person’s, or their spouse’s, service in a special guerrilla unit, or irregular forces, described in section 2 (1)(B); and
“(4) may consider any documentation provided by organizations maintaining records with respect to Hmong veterans or their families.
“(b) The Secretary of Defense shall provide any opinion requested under paragraph (3) to the extent practicable, and the Attorney General shall take into account any opinion that the Secretary of Defense is able to provide.
“SEC. 6. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION AND PAYMENT OF FEES.
“This Act shall apply to a person only if the person’s application for naturalization is filed, as provided in section 334 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1445), with appropriate fees not later than 36 months after the date of the enactment of this Act [May 26, 2000]. In the case of a person described in section 2 (3), the application referred to in the preceding sentence, and appropriate fees, shall be filed not later than 36 months after the date of the enactment of this sentence [Nov. 1, 2000].
“SEC. 7. LIMITATION ON NUMBER OF BENEFICIARIES.
“Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the total number of aliens who may be granted an exemption under section 2 or special consideration under section 3, or both, may not exceed 45,000.”

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8 CFR - Aliens and Nationality

8 CFR Part 312 - EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR NATURALIZATION

22 CFR - Foreign Relations

22 CFR Part 50 - NATIONALITY PROCEDURES

 

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