Citizenship Disability Exemption Form Requirements
People with a mental or physical disability lasting 12 months or longer don't need to meet the English and civics requirements for United States naturalization.
The disability must be "medically determinable", and a medical professional must sign a disability exception form confirming this no more than 6 months before the application is filed. Illiteracy and old age do not qualify as "medically determinable".
It is up to the applicant to prove that their disability prevents them from meeting the English and civics requirements.
Filing the Citizenship Disability Exemption Form
The Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions (Form N-648) must be filed at the same time as the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400).
However, a form can be filed later for reasons such as a severe change in the person's medical condition. In such cases, you should consult an immigration attorney if you haven't already.
Difference Between Disability Exception and Accommodation
An exception means the person is exempt and they don't need to complete the English requirement, the civics requirement, or both.
An accommodation just means the way that the person completes the English and civics requirements are changed. They still need to do them.
Examples include using a sign language interpreter, extending the time allowed to complete the requirements, or completing them at another location.
Authorized Medical Professionals According to the USCIS
Only the following people can sign the disability exemption form, and they must be licensed in the United States or select territories.
- Medical doctor
- Doctor of osteopathy
- Clinical psychologist
They must examine the applicant in person at least once and fulfill other requirements, such as explaining how the condition affects the applicant's ability to meet the English and civic requirements for naturalization.
Review of Your Citizenship Disability Exemption Form
The immigration officer will review the form and decide if you are eligible for the disability exemption. If approved, an officer may still question you later during the naturalization interview.
Additional disability documentation from another doctor may be requested if the original medical exemption form is questionable. And an officer may reject a form if they find problems with credibility, fraud, or other discrepancies. An immigration attorney should be contacted in the event of any such findings.
What Happens if Your Citizenship Disability Exemption Form is Rejected?
If you still meet the English and civics requirements, you can proceed with the naturalization process. However, the officer may question you further about the exemption form.
If you fail the English and civics requirements, the issues with your form are addressed in writing and a second exam is scheduled for between 60 and 90 days after the first exam.
A newly submitted exemption form will be reviewed along with the original form. If found eligible for the medical exemption, you continue the process without needing to complete the English and civics requirements.
If found ineligible for the medical exemption, you still get a second chance to take the English and civics tests. Failing these tests results in your naturalization application being denied.
If your naturalization application is denied, you can file a form (within 30 days) to request a hearing, where you can present additional documentation to support your case.
The Best Way to Apply for a Citizenship Disability Exemption
Considering the complexities and potential for misunderstandings, it is best to contact an immigration attorney to guide you through the application process.
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