If you were born outside the United States, you could become a U.S citizen through the naturalization process. The USCIS officer takes applicants through an English and civics test. During the procedure. The English test entails reading, writing, and speaking, while the civics test focuses on U.S history and government topics.
However, applicants can be exempted from the two tests if they qualify for a waiver because of physical or developmental disability. To determine whether you are eligible for the waiver, you must complete and file Form N648. Today, most applicants leave heartbroken since the administration keenly looks for minor discrepancies to deny applicants the waiver. N648 is now considered a high-risk application.
Luckily, the purpose of this article will be to guide you on how to complete Form N648. After reading, you will better understand the information needed to complete the form sufficiently. You will also understand who qualifies to complete Form N648 and what amount you are to pay during filing.
What Is Form N648?
The N648, or a Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, is a disability waiver that exempts specific American citizenship candidates from proving that they can read, write, and speak English. The waiver allows applicants to interview in their native language and are awarded an exemption from answering questions about U.S. history and governance.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) considers the applicant’s doctor’s medical opinion and the specific facts about the applicant’s physical or developmental disability when determining whether or not to grant the waiver. During the naturalization interview, the USCIS officer decides whether to give or reject citizenship.
Who Can Complete Form N648?
The only person who can complete Form N648 is the applicant’s medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or clinical psychologist. The medical professional must be authorized to operate in the United States. Additionally, they should be authorized in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories of Guam.
Additionally, the doctor completing Form N648 must have the skills, training, and experience needed to assess the said disability. If the physician lacks the said expertise, the applicant should consult a specialist to complete the form.
If the doctor requests their medical staff to help complete the form, they are solely responsible for ensuring the contents of Form N648 are completed and accurate.
Applicants who qualify for a disability waiver must meet these requirements;
- The applicant must be suffering from mental impairment, physical or developmental disabilities such as Alzheimer’s, down syndrome, or physical illness such as cancer.
- The disability hinders the applicant from learning English or civics.
- The condition has been diagnosed as permanent or will or lasted for at least one year.
The applicant should not submit Form N648 if;
- They can undertake English and civics tests despite having a disability.
- Should not seek an exception from English and civics requirements due to advanced age or illiteracy.
- The applicant is capable of meeting the English or civics requirements despite requests for reasonable accommodation.s
How Do I Fill Out Form N648?
You can find Form N648 for free on the USCIS website. Ensure you fill or print the form in its latest version of Adobe Reader. Alternatively, you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 and request them to mail you the form.
As mentioned earlier, Form N648 must be completed by a licensed doctor of osteopathy, clinical psychologist, or medical doctor. Nonetheless, part 1 of the form must be signed by the applicant or their authorized representative.
- The form should be properly signed before submitting it. You should not replace a signature with a written name or stamp. However, USCIS may consider a scanned, photocopied, or faxed copy of the original ink signature. Unless asked to submit original documents, you must attach clear photocopies of the requested records.
Note: the USCIS may destroy your original documents if you submit them when not requested to.
- If you knowingly submit Form N648 with false information or attachment, you risk losing your chance of having Form N648 approved and any other immigration benefit.
- A complete English translation should accompany any document you submit in a foreign language.
- The doctor must answer each question thoroughly and with accuracy. USCIS will return the form if not complete. If the question does not apply to the applicant, answer “N/A” or “none” if the answer is none.
- If you require additional space to answer the questions, the form will expand to accommodate more information if you are using an electronic form.
- If you are completing the form manually, attach a sheet of paper and indicate the item number. The document must also include the applicant’s name, A-number, and the medical professional’s signature. Remember, you must complete the form in black ink.
Items Contained in a Complete Form N648
All the parts should be certified by a licensed medical professional except Part 4. (Interpreter’s Certification) and Part 5. (Applicant’s (Patient’s) Attestation/ Release of Information). Here are some of the information the medical professional must provide about the applicant’s disability or impairment.
Item Number 1
The medical professional must provide a diagnosis of the applicant’s disability that forms the basis of seeking the waiver. They must also avail medical codes where applicable.
Item number 2
The medical professional should provide a brief description of the impairment or disability. For instance, you can explain what Severe intellectual disability is in simple terms.
Item number 5
Give a brief explanation of what caused the medical impairment or disability.
Item number 6
The medical professional must explain the clinical methods they used to diagnose the applicant. For instance, they can state that the applicant’s diagnosis through a Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) revealed chromosomal birth defects that lead to severe intellectual disabilities.
Item number 7
The medical professional must explain how the disability relates to the applicant’s inability. For example, “Severe intellectual disability hinders the applicant from undertaking their daily routine without assistance.
Item number 13
The medical professional must clearly show how the applicant’s ability to demonstrate knowledge of English or civics is affected by the mental or physical disability. For example, the applicant cannot learn a new skill since his liability affects their cognition skills.
Other items on the form include;
- When the medical professional examined the applicant (including the dates)
- A brief description of the doctor-patient relationship. Suppose the medical professional completing the form is not the applicant’s doctor. In that case, they must explain why they are filing the form despite not being the person treating the applicant for the stated condition.
- A brief statement that the stated condition has lasted or is anticipated to last for at least one year.
- The doctor must also provide a statement shedding light on whether the condition results from the illegal use of the drugs.
- The doctor should explain whether they hired the services of an interpreter because the medical professional was not fluent in the language spoken by the applicant.
How Much Does Form N648 Cost?
Filing form N648 at the United States Citizenship and Immigration office is free of charge. However, the applicant has to bear any cost such as medical professional’s attestation charges or any other cost.
Where to Go For More Information on Form N648
You can find any information you may need regarding Form N648 on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office (USCIS) website.
You can also visit the USCIS case status page to view the status of your application 24/7. Always check if the website you seek information from belongs to an official government organization, especially when sharing sensitive data. Alternatively, you can speak to a representative by calling the USCIS Contact Center, Monday-Friday from 8 am to 8 pm except during holidays.
USCIS Checklist For Submitting Form N648
Once you submit Form N648 to the USCIS, an immigration officer starts reviewing the form, checking for its completeness. Here is a list of items they look for;
Is the Submitted Form the Right Edition?
Immigration forms are updated regularly. The new versions contain substantive changes that form part of the basis for Form N648 approval or denial. To get the updated version of Form N648, visit the USCIS official website.
Was Form N648 Submitted at the Same Time as Form N400?
Has the Form Been Filled Out Completely?
The USCIS officer goes through the form to ensure the applicant’s medical professional answered all the questions and completed all sections.
They also check for all the signatures. If Form N648 does not contain all this information, the USCIS officer rejects the waiver request.
If a question does not apply to you, the doctor must fill the space with either “N/A” or none. Leaving one question unanswered can make your Form N648 marked as incomplete.
Is the Connection Clear?
The USCIS officer checks if the doctor made a clear connection between the applicant’s disability or impairment with his inability to read, write, speak English or learn U.S history and civics. The doctor should explain the relationship by providing enough information. Tackling the question with a one-sentence answer may force the officer to mark the form as incomplete.
The doctor should explain how the stated disability or impairment affects the applicant’s cognitive abilities. Additionally, they must explain how the applicant’s daily life is affected by the impairment or disability.
Does Form N648 Have Any Traces of Fraud?
The USCIS officer carefully scrutinizes the form to look for discrepancies, fraud, or misrepresentation. They also review the reasons for the request for a waiver of the citizenship exam to determine whether the doctor is truthful.
During the naturalization interview, the officer asks the applicant several questions. If his or her answers do not relate to those on Form N648, the USCIS officer finds reasonable doubt in the accuracy of the medical certification.
The officer also checks whether the doctor is under investigation for fraud in another disability waiver application. They also go through past medical information that the applicant could have submitted to see if the past and present medical documentation is consistent.
The officer determining if the applicant qualifies for Form N648 relies on the information provided by the doctor. They are not medical professionals whatsoever.
So, the doctor should provide complete information in a layman’s language while defining any medical terminology. They should also make it crystal clear for the officer to see why the applicant cannot take the citizenship exam.