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Title 8 Part 312

Title 8 → Chapter I → Subchapter C → Part 312

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 8 Part 312

e-CFR data is current as of September 17, 2018

Title 8Chapter ISubchapter C → Part 312


Title 8: Aliens and Nationality


PART 312—EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR NATURALIZATION


Contents
§312.1   Literacy requirements.
§312.2   Knowledge of history and government of the United States.
§312.3   Testing of applicants who obtained permanent residence pursuant to section 245A of the Act.
§312.4   Selection of interpreter.
§312.5   Failure to meet educational and literacy requirements.

Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1103, 1423, 1443, 1447, 1448.

Source: 56 FR 50481, Oct. 7, 1991, unless otherwise noted.

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§312.1   Literacy requirements.

(a) General. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person shall be naturalized as a citizen of the United States upon his or her own application unless that person can demonstrate an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language.

(b) Exceptions. The following persons need not demonstrate an ability to read, write and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language:

(1) A person who, on the date of filing of his or her application for naturalization, is over 50 years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totalling at least 20 years subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence;

(2) A person who, on the date of filing his or her application for naturalization, is over 55 years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totalling at least 15 years subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence; or

(3) The requirements of paragraph(a) of this section shall not apply to any person who is unable, because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments which has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months, to demonstrate an understanding of the English language as noted in paragraph (a) of this section. The loss of any cognitive abilities based on the direct effects of the illegal use of drugs will not be considered in determining whether a person is unable to demonstrate an understanding of the English language. For purposes of this paragraph, the term medically determinable means an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities which can be shown by medically acceptable clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques to have resulted in functioning so impaired as to render an individual unable to demonstrate an understanding of the English language as required by this section, or that renders the individual unable to fulfill the requirements for English proficiency, even with reasonable modifications to the methods of determining English proficiency, as outlined in paragraph(c) of this section.

(c) Literacy examination. (1) Verbal skills. The ability of an applicant to speak English will be determined by a designated immigration officer from the applicant's answers to questions normally asked in the course of the examination.

(2) Reading and writing skills. Except as noted in 8 CFR 312.3, an applicant's ability to read and write English must be tested in a manner prescribed by USCIS. USCIS will provide a description of test study materials and testing procedures on the USCIS Internet Web site.

[56 FR 50481, Oct. 7, 1991, as amended at 62 FR 12923, Mar. 19, 1997; 62 FR 15751, Apr. 2, 1997; 64 FR 7993, Feb. 18, 1999; 76 FR 53797, Aug. 29, 2011]

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§312.2   Knowledge of history and government of the United States.

(a) General. No person shall be naturalized as a citizen of the United States upon his or her own application unless that person can demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States. A person who is exempt from the literacy requirement under §312.1(b) (1) and (2) must still satisfy this requirement.

(b) Exceptions. (1) The requirements of paragraph (a) of this section shall not apply to any person who is unable to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government of the United States because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, that already has or is expected to last at least 12 months. The loss of any cognitive skills based on the direct effects of the illegal use of drugs will not be considered in determining whether an individual may be exempted. For the purposes of this paragraph the term medically determinable means an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities which can be shown by medically acceptable clinical or laboratory diagnosis techniques to have resulted in functioning so impaired as to render an individual to be unable to demonstrate the knowledge required by this section or that renders the individuals unable to participate in the testing procedures for naturalization, even with reasonable modifications.

(2) Medical certification. All persons applying for naturalization and seeking an exception from the requirements of §312.1(a) and paragraph (a) of this section based on the disability exceptions must submit Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, to be completed by a medical or osteopathic doctor licensed to practice medicine in the United States or a clinical psychologist licensed to practice psychology in the United States (including the United States territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands). Form N-648 must be submitted as an attachment to the applicant's Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. These medical professionals shall be experienced in diagnosing those with physical or mental medically determinable impairments and shall be able to attest to the origin, nature, and extent of the medical condition as it relates to the disability exceptions noted under §312.1(b)(3) and paragraph (b)(1) of this section. In addition, the medical professionals making the disability determination must sign a statement on the Form N-648 that they have answered all the questions in a complete and truthful manner, that they (and the applicant) agree to the release of all medical records relating to the applicant that may be requested by the Service and that they attest that any knowingly false or misleading statements may subject the medical professional to the penalties for perjury pursuant to title 18, United Stated Code, Section 1546 and to civil penalties under section 274C of the Act. The Service also reserves the right to refer the applicant to another authorized medical source for a supplemental disability determination. This option shall be invoked when the Service has credible doubts about the veracity of a medical certification that has been presented by the applicant. An affidavit or attestation by the applicant, his or her relatives, or guardian on his or her medical condition is not a sufficient medical attestation for purposes of satisfying this requirement.

(c) History and government examination—(1) Procedure. The examination of an applicant's knowledge of the history and form of government of the United States must be given orally in English by a designated immigration officer, except:

(i) If the applicant is exempt from the English literacy requirement under 8 CFR 312.1(b), the examination may be conducted in the applicant's native language with the assistance of an interpreter selected in accordance with 8 CFR 312.4 but only if the applicant's command of spoken English is insufficient to conduct a valid examination in English;

(ii) The examination may be conducted in the applicant's native language, with the assistance of an interpreter selected in accordance with 8 CFR 312.4, if the applicant is required to satisfy and has satisfied the English literacy requirement under 8 CFR 312.1(a), but the officer conducting the examination determines that an inaccurate or incomplete record of the examination would result if the examination on technical or complex issues were conducted in English, or

(iii) The applicant has met the requirements of 8 CFR 312.3.

(2) Scope and substance. The scope of the examination will be limited to subject matters prescribed by USCIS. In choosing the subject matters, in phrasing questions and in evaluating responses, due consideration must be given to the applicant's:

(i) Education,

(ii) Background,

(iii) Age,

(iv) Length of residence in the United States,

(v) Opportunities available and efforts made to acquire the requisite knowledge, and

(vi) Any other elements or factors relevant to an appraisal of the adequacy of the applicant's knowledge and understanding.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 1115-0208)

[56 FR 50481, Oct. 7, 1991, as amended at 58 FR 49912, Sept. 24, 1993; 62 FR 12923, Mar. 19, 1997; 62 FR 15751, Apr. 2, 1997; 64 FR 7993, Feb. 18, 1999; 76 FR 53797, Aug. 29, 2011]

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§312.3   Testing of applicants who obtained permanent residence pursuant to section 245A of the Act.

An applicant who has obtained lawful permanent resident alien status pursuant to section 245A of the Act, and who, at that time, demonstrated English language proficiency in reading and writing, and knowledge of the government and history of the United States through either an examination administered by USCIS or the INS or a standardized section 312 test authorized by the USCIS or the INS for use with Legalization applicants as provided in section 245A(b)(1)(D)(iii) of the Act, will not be reexamined on those skills at the time of the naturalization interview. However, such applicant, unless otherwise exempt, must still demonstrate his or her ability to speak and understand English in accordance with 8 CFR 312.1(c)(1) and establish eligibility for naturalization through testimony in the English language.

[76 FR 53798, Aug. 29, 2011]

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§312.4   Selection of interpreter.

An interpreter to be used under §312.2 may be selected either by the applicant or by the Service. However, the Service reserves the right to disqualify an interpreter provided by the applicant in order to ensure the integrity of the examination. Where the Service disqualifies an interpreter, the Service must provide another interpreter for the applicant in a timely manner. If rescheduling of the interview is required, then a new date shall be set as soon as practicable so as not to delay unduly the adjudication of the application. The officer who disqualifies an interpreter shall make a written record of the reason(s) for disqualification as part of the record of the application.

[60 FR 6651, Feb. 3, 1995]

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§312.5   Failure to meet educational and literacy requirements.

(a) An applicant for naturalization who fails the English literacy or history and government test at the first examination will be afforded a second opportunity to pass the test(s) within 90 days after the first examination during the pendency of the application.

(b) If an applicant who receives notice of the second scheduled examination date fails to appear without good cause for that second examination without prior notification to the Service, the applicant will be deemed to have failed this second examination. Before an applicant may request a postponement of the second examination to a date that is more than 90 days after the initial examination, the applicant must agree in writing to waive the requirement under section 336 of the Act that the Service must render a determination on the application within 120 days from the initial interview, and instead to permit the Service to render a decision within 120 days from the second interview.

[56 FR 50481, Oct. 7, 1991, as amended at 58 FR 49912, Sept. 24, 1993]

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