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Information for Medical Professionals Completing Form N-648

About Form N-648

Naturalization applicants with a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment may seek a waiver of the English language and/or the knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government of the United States (“civics”) requirement(s) in the naturalization process. Waiver requests must include a certification by a medical professional regarding the disability. To complete a certification, the medical professional must use Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. USCIS grants medical waivers to applicants whose condition(s) render them unable to learn or demonstrate knowledge of English and/or U.S. history and government. Illiteracy in the applicant’s native language is insufficient, by itself, to support a finding of inability to learn and/or demonstrate knowledge.

The purpose of this page is to summarize the main points covered by Form N-648 and its accompanying instructions (PDF, 320.3 KB), and provide additional information for medical professionals to consider when completing the form.

Summary of Form N-648

When completing Form N-648, the medical professional needs to:

  1. Identify, describe and certify the applicant’s diagnosis;
  2. Explain how you, as a medical professional, diagnosed the anatomical, physiological, or psychological impairment, including citation to any and all medically acceptable clinical or laboratory diagnostic tests or methods you used to form the diagnosis;
  3. Describe the severity of each disability or impairment;
  4. Describe how each relevant disability or impairment affects specific functions of the applicant’s daily life (including the ability to work or go to school) that may be related to the ability to learn civics or the ability to learn to read, write and speak words in ordinary usage of the English language; and
  5. Explain how the condition(s) affects the applicant’s ability to learn or demonstrate knowledge of English and/or U.S. history and government, particularly focusing on the connection between the disability, impairment, or combination of impairments and the applicant’s inability to demonstrate knowledge of English and/or U.S. history and government.

Distinguishing a N-648 From a Reasonable Accommodation Request

There are applicants whose disabilities do not render them unable to learn or demonstrate knowledge, but which make it difficult to learn or demonstrate knowledge. We will not grant such applicants a waiver of the English and/or U.S. history and government testing requirements. Under the law, an applicant’s difficulty in fulfilling the testing requirements on other bases is not sufficient to warrant a waiver. Instead, the applicant may be eligible under the Rehabilitation Act for an accommodation to fulfill these requirements. No form is required for this. If your patient falls within these parameters, you should not complete Form N-648. In contrast, applicants who are unable to complete the English and/or Civics exams, even with an accommodation, will need to file Form N-648.

Additional Background Information

The following are examples of accommodations/modifications for the English and/or U.S. history and government tests:

  • Extended examination time and breaks;
  • Sign language interpreters for deaf or hard of hearing applicants;
  • Oral examinations for applicants with physical impairments, including limited use of hands if they cannot write sentences; and
  • Large print or braille for applicants who have low vision or are blind or deafblind.
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