N-400 for Elderly Client with Language Barrier

N-400 for Elderly Client with Little English Skills

Applicant: Ms. Huang
Nationality: Chinese
Applying For: N-400, Naturalization
Time: 7 months

  • Very elderly client
  • Low proficiency in English
  • Low education level
  • Little knowledge about the naturalization process


Possibly the scariest part of attempting the naturalization process for many permanent residents is the fear of the unknown. All anyone hears about attempts at securing green cards or naturalization is the horror stories, where something goes very wrong and someone’s life gets ruined. People also hear about how hard it is to pass all the various requirements for naturalization, and they just don’t look into it any further. Few get to the point of actually learning what the requirements are, they just hear it is difficult and they think that being a permanent resident is enough to get by on. And when there is a language barrier, the difficulty seems even greater. Our client, Ms. Huang, a more than eighty-year-old housewife who did not speak English well, had all of these difficulties facing her. Although fearful of naturalization, she was determined to become naturalized in the United States because this is where her life was now.

Ms. Huang needed to find a law firm where she could fully trust they would do everything in their power to try to get her naturalized, and that was when she found Tsang & Associates. She heard of our firm and our success with getting clients positive results in these types of cases and she decided to push forward with her attempt at naturalization with us.


Fortunately for Ms. Huang, our reputation for success is well earned. We work with clients from start to finish to ensure that their cases not only end positively but also resolve quickly and smoothly. Many firms are only interested in easy cases, one that checks off all of the boxes and seems predestined to success. However, because we have so much experience with customized and personalized responses to cases, we know the ins and outs of almost every process one could think of going through in terms of immigration. These are the tricks of the trade our firm has been able to pick up only because we have had the experience of working hard on so many different types of cases.

The first step is always explaining to the client the process that we have for getting them prepared for their case. What we do in terms of preparation for our clients is comprehensive. Anyone can hand out a form for a client to fill in. We make sure that we erase the fear of the unknown by explaining every step and preparing our clients for everything that could possibly come their way during their case. This includes interview prep, translation services, and documentation preparation.

Where other firms might have seen Ms. Huang and pronounced her case was too difficult to take on, we knew that the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has specific provisions in place for elderly people who have been in the United States for long periods of time. Specifically, if a person has been a permanent resident of the U.S. for more than twenty years and is sixty-five or older, they qualify for the version of the naturalization test given in their native language. USCIS also has stipulations where people are not required to meet the English language requirement, which Ms. Huang also qualified for. Finally, because of her age and her time in the U.S., Ms. Huang further qualified for a simpler version of the civics test. Normally, the test consists of 10 questions pulled from a list of 100 potential questions, so to be sure you’re going to pass, a person would need to study all 100 questions because any of them could come up. Ms. Huang was able to qualify for a test that only pulled from a list of 20 potential questions, making the studying requirement much less difficult.

Beyond ensuring that she was given all the breaks that she was legally supposed to have, we made sure she was comfortable with the whole process. We made sure she knew exactly how everything was going to happen, she knew where she was going and what was going to be asked of her, and that she knew she would have support on hand. Regularly we provide services to clients such as mock interviews, questionnaires of potential questions, and translation services. We provided her with a translator for her test (a requirement if you are not going to take the test in English) and sent her on her way to her interview and test.


Ms. Huang passed everything with flying colors and will take part in her naturalization ceremony very soon. Ms. Huang’s fear drained from her, and happiness came in. She was elated that she is finally naturalized in the country she calls home. We were pleased we were able to help her achieve this feat despite all of the natural barriers in the way.

*Name changed to protect client privacy