U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced updates to their naturalization policy guidance as it pertains to applicants with disabilities. The naturalization form and policy updates aim to reduce application barriers for those with disabilities and make the naturalization process more accessible for all.
As part of the U.S. citizenship process, applicants are generally required to undergo and pass a two-part test to prove English language proficiency and civics knowledge. However, there are certain exceptions that exist based on disability, and applicants with long-term medical conditions can apply for exemptions. To receive an exemption, those with physical or developmental disabilities or mental impairment must file Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions with the help of a certified medical professional.
To help ease the filing process for applicants themselves and medical providers, USCIS’ recent announcement contains the following revisions to Form N-648:
-Irrelevant or redundant form questions have been removed
-Dates of diagnosis requirement removed
-Disability severity description requirement removed
-Medical professional’s previous relationship with applicant requirement removed
-Updated guidance for telehealth medical examinations
-Option to also include oath waiver request
-USCIS can now accept an applicant’s Form N-648 after they file a naturalization application
The specific revisions and updated process are part of a wider initiative by the Biden administration to remove naturalization barriers for underserved populations and to encourage all eligible green card holders to apply for citizenship. According to USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou, “This is a wonderful example of how USCIS is listening to the public it serves in order to better address their needs, while fulfilling our responsibilities as an agency.”