August 21, 2000
Hmong Veterans’ Naturalization Act of 2000
The Hmong Veterans’ Naturalization Act of 2000, which became
law on May 26, 2000, provides an exemption from the English
language requirement and special consideration for civics
testing for certain refugees from Laos applying for naturalization.
This benefit is limited to no more than 45,000 eligible refugees
from Laos who properly file a naturalization application (Form
N-400) on or before November 26, 2001.
Who is Eligible?
The law, Public Law 106-207, applies to refugees from Laos
who served with a special guerrilla unit, or irregular forces,
operating from a base in Laos in support of the United States
military at any time during February 28, 1961 through September
18, 1978. The law extends this benefit to the veteran’s spouse
only if the spouse was married to the veteran on the day the
veteran applied for admission into the United States as a
refugee, and the spouse was also admitted into the United
States as a refugee from Laos.
How Can Applicants Apply for this Benefit?
Eligible applicants–including those who currently have pending
naturalization applications–can request this benefit at the
time of their naturalization interview. There are no additional
forms to be completed and no additional fee.
How Can Applicants Establish Eligibility?
At the time of their naturalization interview, applicants
must establish with INS qualifying service with a special
guerrilla unit or irregular forces. If an applicant testified
to this military service at the time of refugee processing,
the required documentation should already be in his immigration
file. If not, applicants can bring to their INS interview
- Original documents;
- An affidavit of the serving person’s
- Two affidavits from other individuals
who also were serving with such a special guerrilla unit,
or irregular forces, and who personally knew of the person’s
- Other appropriate proof.
Although not required, it is helpful if applicants bring
with them to their INS interview the family’s copy of the
Voluntary Agency family history that was prepared during refugee
What Is the Exemption from the English Language Requirement?
Eligible applicants will not need to demonstrate that they
read, write and speak English. They will not be tested on
their English language ability.
What is the "Special Consideration" for Civics
Eligible applicants will be given the modified civics test
that is currently provided to elderly applicants who are over
65 years of age and have been living in the United States
as permanent residents for periods totaling at least 20 years.
They can take the test in the language of their choice and
may bring a qualified interpreter to translate for them.
[The list of 25 sample questions for elderly applicants is
available in INS’ "Guide to Naturalization" (Form
M-476) and on the INS website www.ins.usdoj.gov.]