Exemptions from certain requirements on acquiring United States citizenship by naturalization are in: lawful permanent residence, age, continuous residence and physical presence, English language, and special consideration in civics knowledge.
Exception From Lawful Permanent Residence:
A conditional permanent resident may apply for citizenship, eve if his/her conditional residency had not been removed by grant of Form I-751 petition to remove the conditions of residence, provided he/she has the three-year residence in the United States. The operative word is “apply” for naturalization because actual naturalization cannot be “granted” before the conditional residence status is removed and replace with lawful permanent residence. Moreover, a person who has honorably served in time of war or declared hostilities at a period designated by the President of the United States through an Executive Order is not required to be a lawful permanent resident before applying for citizenship. Thus, an illegal alien who has overstayed nonimmigrant status or who entered without inspection may become a U.S. citizen.
Lastly, a person who dies while serving in the military of the United States may be awarded posthumous citizenship without being a lawful permanent resident.
Exemptions From Age and Continuous Residence and Physical Presence:
The 18-year-old requirement for naturalization application may be waived or lifted because of an applicant’s involvement in military service. Otherwise, only persons 18 years or older may apply for US citizenship. If a lawful permanent resident spouse is married to be a U.S. citizen who has been a citizen for at least three years and have been living in marital union for at least three years, he/she is eligible for U.S. citizenship. This is an exemption from the five years of continuous resident status required of lawful permanent resident. And a lawful permanent resident spouse or child who obtained such status because of battery or extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen spouse or father may also file for citizenship within the 3-years period, although not living in marital union for 3 years. So, the 3-year marital union is waived for a battered spouse.
Persons and spouses as well as children living abroad due to military service are exempted from continuous residence and physical presence in the United States of one-half of the 5 years or 3 years after lawful permanent resident status. Their residence abroad is considered time in the United States. They are also eligible for naturalization abroad.
Exemption From English Language and Special Consideration in Civics Knowledge:
Reading, writing, and understanding the English language at elementary level is a requirement for citizenship. So is knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of U.S. history and government.
Persons who are over 50 years old and have resided in the U.S. for 20 years in lawful permanent resident status, as well as persons who are over 55 years old and have resided in the U.S. for 15 years in lawful permanent resident status are exempted from the English language requirement.
Moreover, persons who are over 65 years old and have resided in the U.S. for 20 years as lawful permanent resident are given special consideration in civics knowledge by testing them with only 10 out of 25 questions in their country’s language and need to answer correctly only 6 questions.
Lastly, persons with physical or developmental disabilities or mental impairment are exempt from both the English language and history and government requirements. A medical doctor, osteopath or clinical psychologist must complete Form N-648, application for medical disability waiver that is filed with the Form N-400 application for naturalization ($595.00 application fee as of November 23, 2010).