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USCIS Makes it Easier for Applicants with Disabilities to Naturalize

Posted by Hugo Valverde | Oct 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

Photo by Ann H on Pexels

Have you or a close family member wanted to become a U.S. citizen but felt like it was nearly impossible because of the English language and civic exam requirements?

Good news!

USCIS made an announcement a few days ago updating the guidance for its Form N-648, the Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, which is filed with an application for naturalization (N-400) to request an exemption to taking the normally required components of the naturalization test. 

A typical USCIS interview for citizenship includes an English exam comprised of verbal, reading, and writing tests, as well as 10 civics questions chosen from a pool of 100 questions. It is challenging for anyone, let alone someone dealing with a medical condition. 

The revisions to the N-648 for disability exceptions make it easier to qualify for the strict medical certification form, reducing the burden on the applicant, and essentially paving the way for some who would not formerly qualify for naturalization to now apply. 

What are the Specific Form Changes that Would Now Qualify Me to Apply for Naturalization?

The newly revised form sets the following:

  • It no longer requires you to have a date of diagnosis listed;
  • It eliminates questions about how each relevant disability affects specific functions of your daily life; 
  • It eliminates the description of severity of each disability;
  • It negates the need to prove a pre-existing relationship between you and the certifying medical professional;
  • It allows the certifying physician to indicate that you need an oath waiver; and 
  • It allows USCIS to accept your Form N-648 for medical exceptions after you file your N-400 application for naturalization

In a modern showing of how USCIS is trying to adapt to the internet age, the revision also provides guidance for how telehealth medical examinations are to be conducted.

One of the most major and helpful revisions to the N-648 form is that a pre-existing relationship with the certifying medical professional is no longer required. Prior to this form change the applicant had the burden of showing USCIS that the medical professional signing the form had seen the applicant multiple times, and wasn't just being sought after to sign the medical exemption form. That made it quite difficult for people like dementia patients, who may have only seen a neurologist once but have rapidly deteriorating cognitive abilities. 

If you think you or your loved one may be eligible for an N-648 medical exemption and would like help filing for citizenship please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.

About the Author

Hugo Valverde

Hugo's passion for immigration law stems from his own family's immigration experience. His father and mother came to the United States from Peru fleeing political persecution, and as he grew up, Hugo spent many summers in Peru. Hugo uses his experience growing up in an immigrant family and time a...


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