Claiming Exception to the Naturalization Test by Filing Form N-648

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Applicants seeking an exception to the English and civics testing requirements for naturalization “because of physical or developmental disability or mental impairment” have to file Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions with the USCIS. But it is important to remember that applicants who are capable of learning or demonstrating the required knowledge and understanding of basic English and civics will not qualify for an exception to the citizenship test.


You have to submit Form N-648 along with your completed Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Note that you will qualify only if the medical condition(s) is long-term (lasting 12 months or longer) and so severely affecting that you will not be able to take the English or civics tests. After reviewing the completed Form N-648, USCIS will finally determine whether you qualify for an exception to the tests or not.


Except for the “Applicant Attestation” in the application, all other sections of this form has to be completed by a currently licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or clinical psychologist (a “medical professional”). The doctor should have professional expertise, that he can diagnose and evaluate you for a physical or developmental disability or impairment that makes you incapable of satisfying the English or civics requirements.


An employee who is under the direct supervision of the certifying medical professional can also fill in the form with information verified by the certifying medical professional. However, the medical professional who signs the form has to take full responsibility for the information provided in the form.


The medical professional who signs the form should have sufficient training and experience in the field of the disability or impairments that you claim to have. He/she should normally be “the treating physician”, which means that he/she has been regularly treating you for the claimed disability or impairment. If he/she is not the applicant’s regular treating physician, the reason for the substitution should be explained in the application, as well as information regarding the future plan of your treatment. In addition, he/she must provide an accurate assessment of your disability or impairment so that USCIS can easily understand and determine whether you qualify for an exception from the English and civics requirements or not.


There are exceptional circumstances where it is not necessary to file the completed Form N-648 along with Form N-400. Under such circumstances, you can submit the completed N-648 to the USCIS at the time of your interview. Though USCIS do accept delayed submissions, such claims may further lengthen the naturalization process.

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