Exception To The Naturalization Test


Generally, an applicant for naturalization is required to take a naturalization test that includes demonstrating knowledge of the English language where he/she should have the ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage, and also have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and government of the United States.

To implement these naturalization test requirements, the USCIS tests each applicant’s ability to read, write, and speak English words in ordinary usage and to answer basic questions about the government and history of the US (civics). However, there is a law that allows an exception to the English and civics testing required for naturalization in the case of an applicant who is unable to comply “because of physical or developmental disability or mental impairment”.

Form N-648 for Claiming Exception to the Naturalization Test

Form N-648 is used by citizenship applicants who need an exception to the English and civics testing requirements for naturalization “because of physical or developmental disability or mental impairment”.

However, naturalization applicants who are capable of learning or demonstrating the required knowledge and understanding of basic English and civics are not eligible for an exception from the naturalization test and should not submit Form N-648.

Naturalization applicants have to submit Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, along with their completed Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, if they are seeking an exception from the English and civics requirements. Form N-648 is for applicants with medical condition(s) that are long-term (lasting 12 months or longer) and so severely affecting that they are incapable of meeting the English or civics requirements. The USCIS will evaluate the completed Form N-648 to determine whether the applicant qualifies for an exception from those requirements.

All sections of this form (except for the “Applicant Attestation” in Part I of the application) have to be completed by a currently licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or clinical psychologist (a “medical professional”). The doctor should have professional expertise in diagnosing and evaluating an applicant for a physical or developmental disability or impairment that makes the applicant not able to meet the English or civics requirements.

If necessary, an employee who is under the direct supervision of the certifying medical professional may fill in the form with information directly provided or verified by the certifying medical professional. However, the certifying medical professional who signs the form remains responsible for the accuracy of its contents.

The licensed medical professional signing this form should have training and experience in the field of the applicant’s claimed disability or impairments. The medical professional who makes the certification should normally be “the treating physician”, that is, the medical professional who has been regularly treating this particular applicant for the claimed disability or impairment. If he/she is not the applicant’s regular treating physician, the reason for the substitution should be explained in item 4 of Part II in the application, as well as information regarding the future plan of treatment for the applicant.
He/she must provide an accurate assessment of the applicant’s disability or impairment so that USCIS can determine whether the applicant qualifies for an exception from the English and civics requirements..

If the medical professional does not provide all required information, USCIS may consider Form N-648 as insufficient.

The USCIS considers that there may be exceptional circumstances that do not make it possible for the completed Form N-648 to be attached to Form N-400 when it is filed. In such circumstances, the completed Form N-648 must be submitted to USCIS at the time of the applicant’s interview. It is important to remember that though USCIS will accept delayed submissions, such claims may delay the adjudication of the naturalization application.

Generally, an applicant for naturalization is required to take a naturalization test that includes demonstrating knowledge of the English language and the fundamentals of the history and government of the United States. Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

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