Is it possible to have a Translator at the Citizenship Interview?

In general, the citizenship interview and test is intended to test your knowledge of US history and civics as well as your knowledge of written and spoken English. Many applicants worry about the English portion of the citizenship interview, but it is important to note that if you live and work with the English language every day, you may already have the skills you need. Attending citizenship classes can help you understand how much English you need to know and can help prepare you for the writing, reading, and speaking portion of the citizenship interview.

Since the citizenship interview is intended to test your knowledge of English and US civics, you will generally need to know English well enough to take part in this interview without any help. In most cases, an interpreter or translator is not permitted. However, there are a few important exceptions. For example, if you have been a lawful permanent resident of the US for over twenty years and are over 50 years of age, you may be able to bring an interpreter and take the citizenship interview in your native language. Alternatively, if you have been a lawful permanent resident for more than fifteen years and are older than 55 years of age, you are also permitted to bring an interpreter. If you are older than 65 years of age and have been a lawful permanent resident of the US for over two decades, you may not only bring an interpreter but may also qualify for a shorter US civics exam in your native language.

If you qualify to be exempt from the language requirements of the citizenship exam, you must clearly state on your citizenship application that you qualify and you must alert the USCIS ahead of time that you will be bringing an interpreter with you to the citizenship interview. This is important, since the USCIS must be ready to provide you with an interview and exam in your native language. You can select your own interpreter or have one chosen for you by the USCIS. If you choose your own interpreter, make certain that it is someone with excellent skills and someone you can understand well. Your interpreter will need to bring identification to the citizenship interview as well.

If you are applying for US citizenship but have a disability that prevents you from meeting the requirements of the US citizenship interview, you may also be exempt from the language and US civics requirements. If you do have this type of disability, you must bring Form N-648 with you to your citizenship interview. This form must be carefully filled out by a medical professional, explaining your condition in great detail and why it prevents you from taking the US citizenship interview in the traditional manner. If the form is not filled out correctly, it will be rejected and your citizenship process will likely be delayed.