Chapter 2 - Accommodation Policies and Procedures
USCIS has established policies and procedures for handling and processing accommodation requests, which include:
Providing information locally as needed on how to request accommodations;
Designating a point-of-contact to handle accommodation requests whenever possible;
Responding to inquiries and reviewing accommodation requests timely;
Establishing internal processes for receiving and for properly filing requests; and
Processing requests and providing accommodations whenever appropriate.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to request an accommodation in advance, each time an accommodation is needed. Generally, the applicant, his or her attorney or accredited representative, or legal guardian should request an accommodation concurrently with the filing of the naturalization application. However, an applicant may also call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY: 1-800-767-1833), use the online accommodations request form in order to request an accommodation, or request an accommodation with the field office at any time during the naturalization process.
The field office’s ability to provide an accommodation on the date that it is needed may be affected by the timeliness of the accommodation request. Some types of accommodations do not require advance notice and can be immediately provided. This may include a USCIS employee speaking loudly or slowly to an applicant, or allowing additional time for an applicant to answer during the examination. Other types of accommodations may be difficult to provide without advance planning. This may include providing a sign language interpreter, additional time for the examination, or scheduling an applicant for an off-site examination.
USCIS evaluates each request for an accommodation on a case-by-case basis. While an applicant is not required to include documentation of his or her medical condition, there may be rare cases where documentation is needed to evaluate the request.
If an accommodation is warranted, a field office should provide the accommodation on the date and time the applicant is scheduled for his or her appearance. The field office should aim to provide the requested accommodation without having to reschedule the applicant’s appointment. If an accommodation cannot be provided for the scheduled appointment, the applicant and his or her attorney or accredited representative should be notified as soon as possible. The applicant’s appointment should be rescheduled within a reasonable period of time.
[^ 1] Officers should contact local USCIS counsel prior to contacting the applicant and his or her attorney or accredited representative for further information.
29 U.S.C. 794 - Nondiscrimination under federal grants and programs
6 CFR 15 - Enforcement of nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in programs or activities conducted by the Department of Homeland Security
8 CFR 334.4 - Investigation and report if applicant is sick or disabled
Before October 29, 2019, USCIS considered children of members of the U.S. armed forces or U.S. government employees, who were stationed outside of the United States, to meet the requirement of “is residing in” the United States for the purpose of acquiring citizenship under INA 320. This interpretation was consistent with the definition of “residence” for purposes of naturalization under INA 316. Based on this treatment of U.S. government employees and their children in the context of naturalization under INA 316, USCIS determined that “residing in the United States” for purposes of acquisition of citizenship under INA 320 should likewise be interpreted to include children of U.S. military and government employees stationed outside of the United States who were residing with their parents.
This interpretation, however, was inconsistent with other provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), including the definition of “residence” at INA 101(a)(33) and language in INA 322(a) and INA 322(d), which suggested that the citizenship of military children residing outside of the United States should be considered under that provision rather than under INA 320. Effective October 29, 2019, USCIS amended its policy guidance to address these concerns, and determined that children of members of the U.S. armed forces or U.S. government employees stationed outside of the United States would not be eligible for citizenship acquisition under INA 320.
On March 26, 2020, the Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act was enacted, amending INA 320, so that a child residing with his or her U.S. citizen parent, who is stationed outside of the United States as a member of the U.S. armed forces or a U.S. government employee, or is residing in marital union with a member of the U.S. armed forces or a U.S. government employee who is stationed outside of the United States, acquires citizenship under INA 320 if all requirements of INA 320(c) and INA 320(a)(1)-(2) are met. In line with the statute, USCIS rescinds its previous guidance, clarifying that these children are eligible to acquire citizenship under INA 320 if all other requirements under INA 320 are met.
The amendment to INA 320 applies to children who were under the age of 18 on March 26, 2020.
[^ 1] Even though the child of a member of the U.S. armed forces or U.S. government employee stationed outside of the United States may be eligible to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship under INA 322 since he or she resides outside of the United States, USCIS interpreted the child to meet residency requirements under INA 320 as well, which formerly required the child to be residing in the United States with his or her parent to acquire citizenship.
[^ 2] For example, U.S. government employees, including members of the U.S. armed forces, are eligible to apply for an exception to the continuous residence requirement for naturalization under INA 316 as long as their residency outside of the United States was on behalf of the U.S. government. See INA 316(b). See INA 316(a). See Part D, General Naturalization Requirements, Chapter 3, Continuous Residence [12 USCIS-PM D.3].
[^ 3] See Policy Manual Technical Update, Child Citizenship Act and Children of U.S. Government Employees Residing Abroad (July 20, 2015); and Acquisition of Citizenship by Children of U.S. Military and Government Employees Stationed Abroad under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), No. 103, issued May 6, 2004.
[^ 4] See USCIS Policy Alert, Defining “Residence” in Statutory Provisions Related to Citizenship [PA-2019-05] (PDF, 308.45 KB). This Policy Alert has been superseded by Policy Manual updates to reflect changes made under Pub. L. 116-133 (PDF).
This technical update incorporates references to Braille-related accommodations for the naturalization test.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating and incorporating relevant Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) content into the USCIS Policy Manual. As that process is ongoing, USCIS has moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding USCIS Policy Manual Part, in PDF format, until relevant AFM content has been properly incorporated into the USCIS Policy Manual. To the extent that a provision in the USCIS Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the USCIS Policy Manual prevails. To find remaining AFM content, see the crosswalk (PDF) between the AFM and the Policy Manual.
This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].
USCIS is issuing updated and comprehensive citizenship and naturalization policy guidance in the new USCIS Policy Manual.