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Getting old can be gratifying and rewarding — especially if you live in this part of the world.

On a light note, though, I wish to say that nobody probably likes to have wrinkles, grey hair or to be outwitted by your grandchildren in using the remote control. But, then, aging can be a thing of the past as this can be easily camouflaged by the latest cosmetic products.

But despite the problems caused by aging, the senior population in this country is still a potent force in society, a privileged group with a “strong and effective voice” in the formulation of government policies.

Let me tell you what is good about getting older in the immigration arena.

Do you know that being over the hill (just kidding) has its “perks” when one decides to become a US citizen?

Filipinos who are above 50, 55 or 65 years old, depending on the number of years as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or green card holder, are generally acknowledged as proficient English speakers, but many still experience “trauma” when they take the English and civics test during the interview for US citizenship.

English has been the medium of instruction in the Philippines since the Thomasites went to our native country in 1901, but Filipino applicants for US citizenship still suffer from the fear of failing the English test. This is especially true to the older generation of immigrants who learned Spanish before they switched to English.

But as I mentioned earlier, seniority has its perks in the immigration field. Following are the rules on the benefits for seniors:

[accordion][acc title=”A”]Age 50 and above with at least 20 years as LPR – no need to take the English test, and they can take the civics test (standard 100 questions and more) in the language of their choice;[/acc][acc title=”B”]Age 55 and above with at least 15 years as LPR – no need to take the English test, and they can take the civics test (standard 100 questions and more) in the language of their choice; and,[/acc][acc title=”C”]Age 65 and above with at least 20 years as LPR – no need to take the English test, and they can take the modified civics test (consisting of 25 questions instead of 100 or more; six out of 10 questions asked should be answered correctly, instead of seven out of 10) in the language of their choice.[/acc][/accordion]

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If you fall under any one of the three age brackets and LPR qualifying conditions, do not worry about understanding and speaking English because you can converse with the interviewer in the dialect or language of your choice.

There will be an interpreter or a USCIS officer who will listen and speak to you, but note that you still need to study and learn, by heart, US history and government. But one thing good is that if you are 65 years old and older, there will be fewer facts to memorize.

Truly, this nation understands and adjusts to what is right and appropriate.[box type=”default” size=”medium”]Note: Maria Rita Reyes-Stuby is a licensed attorney in Michigan. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law. She is also a licensed attorney in the Philippines. She specializes in immigration practice. Please call her @702-403-4704 or email her at [email protected] for any questions on this article.[/box]