Overview of the Medical Disability Exception for Naturalization English Exam

All applicants for naturalization must pass the English and Civics examination unless they fit within an exemption. One of these exemptions is the medical disability exception. An applicant for naturalization can be excused from taking the English and Civics tests if he/she has a medical disability that prevents him/her from being able to take the examination. The applicant can apply for the exemption by filing form N-648 with the naturalization application (form N-400). The N-648 form must be properly completed by a licensed U.S. doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or a clinical psychologist.
Depending on the extent of the disability, if the exemption is approved, the applicant may be excused from taking both the English and Civics exams. Furthermore, they can complete the eligibility portion of the interview in their native language using an interpreter.
In order to be successful, the doctor must provide a detailed explanation of the medical disability and the nexus, or connection, between the medical disability and the inability to learn English and/or U.S. history. The usual types of medical disabilities are Alzheimer’s, dementia, severe depression, etc. These are the types of medical issues where, if proven, may prevent an applicant from being able to study English and/or US History. However, there is no specific set of defined medical disabilities. As such, it is important for an applicant to speak to their doctor or psychologist to determine whether their medical disability may qualify them for the medical disability exemption.
During the naturalization interview, the adjudicating officer will review and decide whether the N-648 will be approved. If it is denied, the applicant will be allowed to continue with the interview and examinations in English, if the applicant chooses to do so.
USCIS has been scrutinizing N-648 applications due to an increase in fraudulent applications. As such, it is important to choose a doctor or psychologist that will provide the applicant with a complete and honest assessment whether his/her specific disability qualifies them for the medical disability exemption. It is also recommended that an applicant discuss his/her doctor’s findings with an experienced immigration attorney.
Although an applicant may qualify for the medical disability exemption based on his/her disability, there are many pitfalls in filing such applications. We are very experienced in all immigration matters and can help Please contact our office at (248) 557-3645 for a free telephone consultation to discuss your eligibility for naturalization.

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