Guidelines for the disability exceptions from naturalization requirements have been updated


Starting February 12, USCIS is updating its guidelines for those seeking certain exceptions from the English language and Civics requirements for naturalization. The naturalization process traditionally requires applicants to demonstrate both facility with the English language and basic knowledge of American Civics, as evaluated by a USCIS officer. In 1994, Congress created exceptions to these requirements for those with physical or developmental disabilities, as well as those with mental impairment.

Requesting an exception involves the filing of Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. The majority of this form must be filled out and certified by a licensed medical professional attesting to the applicable disability or impairment. The new policy changes affect when and how Form N-648 must be submitted, and clarifies certain circumstances under which a USCIS officer can deny Form N-648.

The most pertinent changes include the following:

  • Form N-648 must be submitted with your naturalization application, Form N-400 and accompanying documents.

  • USCIS may consider a late filing if there is a credible explanation.

  • A USCIS officer may find your Form N-648 insufficient if there is found to be credible doubt, discrepancies, misrepresentations, or fraud regarding eligibility for exception.

  • If your Form N-648 is found insufficient, you may decline the English and Civics tests or discontinue the interview, but it will count as a Failure of both requirements.

If you or a loved one are looking to naturalize and have concerns about these requirements or any other issue, our office will be happy to help. Call us at 414-533-5000 to make an appointment.