Revised Form N-648 to Remove Barriers for Applicants with Disabilities
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced an updated policy regarding medical certification for disability exceptions (form N-648) to make the naturalization process more accessible for applicants with disabilities by providing more streamlined and efficient process and reducing the burden on the applicants and medical professionals.
The process of naturalizing to U.S. citizenship typically requires passing a two-part test to prove English language proficiency and knowledge of U.S. civics. However, individuals with physical or developmental disabilities, or mental impairments, may be eligible for an exemption from the English and civics tests. To receive an exemption, a licensed medical professional must complete and certify form N-648, and the applicant must then file the form with the USCIS.
The recent revisions to the form are intended to make the process more streamlined and efficient for applicants and medical providers. Some of the changes include:
- USCIS is now authorized to accept form N-648 after the application for naturalization (form N-400) has already been filed.
- Elimination of dates of diagnosis and description of the severity of the disability
- Elimination of the medical professional’s past relationship with the applicant.
- Elimination of redundant questions
While these changes will benefit people with disabilities who wish to become U.S. citizens and help to reduce barriers they may face while applying, it is important to note that the use of Form N-648 is discretionary, and that the USCIS has the final decision to grant or deny a waiver based on the medical certification provided