Can a Parent or Relative Qualify for a Disability Exception to the U.S. Naturalization Test?

Helping a parent or relative while he or she is applying for Disability Exceptions is a great responsibility. If you plan on helping a parent or relative to file for U.S Citizenship, specifically if that individual is of age and or has medical conditions or you might be worried that he or she might not be able to take or even pass the Naturalization tests, find an immigration attorney to help you.

Becoming a U.S. citizen requires applicants to pass examinations that prove they can speak, read, and write English, and that they can accurately respond to questions about U.S. history, civics, and geography. Luckily, there is a “disability exception” to these citizenship test requirements for persons who have significantly medical problems, such as dementia, that greatly affect their ability to learn.

Under the disability exception, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will excuse an applicant from taking the citizenship tests if the person has a disability or impairment that makes him or her unable to do so. (See I.N.A. § 312(b).).

How to File for Disability Exception

To request a disability exception, an applicant must submit not only the usual Form N-400, Application for Naturalization (used when applying for naturalized U.S. citizenship) but must also complete a Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. Only a U.S. licensed medical doctor or osteopathy, or clinical psychologist who is authorized by USCIS can fill out Form N-648 on behalf of the applicant. USCIS will then grant a request for disability exception only if the form is correctly completed and if the doctor provides a clearly detailed description of the connection between the applicant’s disability and inability to take the citizenship test.

In less words, it is not sufficient for the doctor to say something to the extent like, “Mr. Hernandez has had a stroke and qualifies for a disability waiver.” It is even better for the doctor to provide details about the diagnosis and its link to the demands of the test. The doctor’s conclusion should be such as, “Mr. Hernandez recently had a stroke that had a major impact on his cognitive abilities, including his memory, which makes it unimaginable for him to learn the English and/or U.S. History or Civics exams.

Being that only a medical doctor or a psychologist can help with completing Form N-648, the best way to decide whether your parent or relative might stand a chance for a disability exception is to talk to his or her doctor. You must give the doctor a copy of the Form N-648 and the USCIS instructions that come along with it.

Petitions for disability exception, specifically among the elderly are often based on disease and medical impairments such as Alzheimer’s dementia, vascular dementia, and major depressive disorder. Nonetheless, every person’s situation differs, and cognitive difficulties can be the outcome of many different diseases and medical illnesses, or combination of medical issues. As a result, there is no set rule regarding which disabilities, diseases or impairments will or will not make the applicant eligible for disability exception.

If a specific situation is burdensome to explain within the N-648 Form, request a separate letter from the doctor. This is an excellent idea if, for instance, the applicant can maintain a job. The medical expert then can provide a vivid explanation as to why the applicant can perform work projects but is unable to learn, retain and illustrate knowledge of the English language by reading, writing, and speaking and even of the U.S. history, civics, and geography.

The USCIS interviewing officer will decide on the Form N-648 and will give the applicant the opportunity to continue in English if the officer decides that the applicant’s Form N-648 cannot be approved.

Seek Legal Help

Before you start applying for disability exceptions for a parent or relative, ask a legal representative for advice. You want to make sure every question is answered correctly and that your application form is complete. Call Gambacorta Law Office, at 847-433-9303, today to get the help you need.