USCIS N-648 Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions

To become a United States citizen, applicants are required to 1) take an English test and a civics test, 2) support the constitution and form of government of the United States and 3) recite the "oath of allegiance". Some people have disabilities that make it impossible for them to learn a new language and learn and remember facts that will be on the civics test.

What is a Disability Waiver?

Individuals who can document certain disabilities not caused by substance abuse may receive a medical waiver that excuses the citizenship test requirement and/or the requirement to recite the oath of allegiance. In some cases, they may instead qualify to get an accommodation that will help them with these test requirements if they do not qualify for a full waiver. Dr. Farmilant has 20 years of experience conducting psychological and diagnostic evaluations, and has completed dozens of N-648 evaluations.

Not Everyone Qualifies for the Disability Waiver.

An applicant with a minor disability will not qualify to have the language or civics test waived. The USCIS will look for ways to modify its standard testing procedure to allow the applicant to effectively meet these requirements. In cases of minor disabilities, workable adjustment can be made. An individual who can learn and remember facts, even if they do not know how to read and write will not qualify for a disability exception.

An applicant who has become disabled because of the use of drugs or alcohol will not qualify for a disability waiver. They must have a medical or psychological disorder that renders them unable to pass the test under any circumstances.

Who Does Qualify For a Disability Waiver?

For an applicant to receive an disability waiver, the person must provide documentation of a developmental, physical or developmental disability or a mental impairment that makes him or her unable to learn a new language and memorize facts for the civics test. A doctor must discover and documet evidence that supports the claimed disability or impairment.

How Do I Know If An Evauation is Needed?

Friends and family members of impaired individuals usually know if a person is experiencing a disabling condition. There are observable clues that indicate the person is in distress. Click this link for a Screening Questionnaire you can bring to your appointment with Dr. Farmilant.

How to Request a Disability Waiver

To request a disabilty waiver, you must submit Form N-648. The N-648 form can only be completed by medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or clinical psychologist licensed in the United States.

Not all doctors know how to complete the N-648 form. USCIS interviewers look for specific information presented in a specific way before they approve a request for a disability waiver. In order to fill out the form accurately and honestly, the doctor must complete a thorough evaluation to determine 1) if a disability exists, 2) how long it has existed, 3) how long the disability will impair the applicant, and 4) how they arrived at the diagnosis. Applicants must be careful to choose a doctor who will conduct a thorough and honest evaluation, rather than simply compelet and sign the form for a fee.

What happens during the evaluation?

Dr. Farmilant will meet with the applicant and a family member and/or friend who knows the applicant to assess the presence and severity of a disabling condition. The interview consists of a two to three hour examination that will include an interview and psychologial testing of the applicant, an interview with the person who brings the applicant to his office, and review of pertinent records and any medications. The family member or friend can act as an interpreter as needed.

Once the evaluation is complete, Dr. Farmilant will fill out the N-648 form and forward it to the applicant's attorney.

What Will Happen at the Interview?

The USCIS officer will review the N-648 and determine if it justifies approval of a waiver. The interviewer will ask the applicant questions, but is not permitted to ask diagnostic questions. USCIS has decided to rely on the doctor's sworn statements about the applicant's inability to take the citizenship exam.

If the USCIS officer asks inappropriate questions, your attorney will challenge the questions or ask to speak with a supervisor.

What if the Waiver Request is Refused?

The USCIS officer may refuse to approve the request for an oath waiver because of some technical error in the applicant's oath waiver request. Although it is rare, when this happens, the doctor will correct the form and your attorney will schedule a second appointment with USCIS.