The Form N-648, medical certification for disability exceptions, is a disability waiver for US citizenship. If accepted, it will waive the naturalization applicant from:
- Proving they can speak, read, and write in English
- Passing a test in American history and civics
The waiver will allow the applicant to have the interview in his language. Further, USCIS will not do the US government and history test.
Many aspiring Americans have a hard time integrating family members with special needs into their applications. This should not be the case. Working with a top legal firm like HMA will save you a lot of trouble. Here we will tell you what you need to know about the N-648 Form.
How can I receive an N-684?
The USCIS will rely on the medical opinion of the applicant’s physician to decide on the waiver. They usually do so at the naturalization interview. Under a February 2019 policy change, the N-648 must be submitted with the N-400, application for citizenship. Filing an N-648 at the time of the interview can lead to a negative inference and result in a denial of the N-648.
The patient’s doctor is the only one that can complete the N-648 form. Thus, unlike the I-693 form for medical examination of those seeking a green card, there is no list of doctors who can file the form N-648. An N-648 can be any licensed physician as long as he or she:
- Has treated the applicant
- Is an specialist in the disability of the applicant. If the doctor is not a specialist, they should be trained to assess the disability. You can provide your doctor with the n-648 form instructions here, and a form n-648 pdf here.
What should the doctor know?
USCIS has no medical experts. Thus, the doctor should use a plain language. They will review the form in detail and with skepticism. Hence, the best is to be as clear as possible. Yet, it should cover all the needed info.
We have seen many N-648 forms rejected solely because they have vague information from the doctor. Many doctors in the US recommend the DONE method:
Diagnosis: The nature of the illness
Origin: Where the disability comes from
Nexus: The symptoms associated with the illness that does not allow the applicant to learn English and/or US history
Effect: your conclusion
Further, the doctor should consider these:
- Provide specific examples of how the symptoms may affect the applicant’s cognition.
- Use simple, clear, and unambiguous language. The doctor should state directly that because of his disabilities, the applicant is eligible for the waiver.
If an N-648 is denied, it is usually because the doctor failed to answer Question #10 on the form clearly (which asks the doctor to explain why the diagnosis prevents the applicant from learning English or civics.) While USCIS cannot second-guess the medical diagnosis of the doctor, it is very easy for USCIS to say that the doctor didn’t do a good enough job explaining the diagnosis.
What if the applicant does not speak English?
That is not a problem. An interpreter can be used. Yet, if one translates between the applicant and doctor, the Form N-648 should include the interpreter’s name, address, and signature.
Take care that the date the interpreter signs the N-648 be the same date as the visit(s) to the doctor. Any discrepancy in the N-648 will be harshly scrutinized.
Who is eligible for the waiver?
The applicant should comply with three criteria:
- The applicant must have a physical or mental impairment that makes him unable to learn English and/or US history and civics.
- The disability will last at least 12 months.
- The disability is not due to illegal drug use.
If you have a family member trying to become an American citizen, take the Form N-648 of the USCIS seriously. The USCIS looks at these cases with a skeptic’s eye. Thus, a poor Form N-648 can end an application. And if you try to refile it, the second one will be compared with the first – so you have to get it right the first time.
Note also: USCIS has been clamping down on N-648’s. They have gotten harder in more recent years.
You can look at the form N-648 here, but fill out our contact form for more information. We will share our insights with you to help you answer the question: Should I try an N-648?