Naturalization Applicants with Disabilities

If you are applying for Naturalization and have a physical or mental impairment that makes it difficult for you to complete the citizenship process, the USCIS will make accommodations or certain modifications under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1973. The USCIS will make accommodations for such applicants with disabilities for whom the process needs certain modifications in order to demonstrate their eligibility.

Waivers for Citizenship Applicants

If you are using a wheelchair, the USCIS will make sure that you are fingerprinted, interviewed, and sworn in at a location that is accessible to a wheelchair. If you are hearing impaired, the USCIS officer interviewing you will speak loudly and slowly, or will co-ordinate with you in arranging for a sign language interpreter. If you require a sign language interpreter during the oath ceremony, you should mention it in the N-400 US citizenship application in the section where you are asked if you need an accommodation for a disability. If you are using a service animal (guide dog), you can bring your dog along with you to the interview and oath ceremony.

The USCIS takes utmost care to make sure the naturalization process is easier for citizenship applicants with disabilities. If you need some kind of accommodation, you have to write a letter explaining your requirements and send it to the USCIS district office that will interview you after you receive your interview notice. If you have a physical or mental impairment because of which you cannot learn or demonstrate the required knowledge of English and civics, you can apply for an exemption to the tests. To request an exemption, you are required to file a “Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions” (Form N-648). If you are eligible, get in touch with a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor or licensed clinical psychologist and he/she has to complete and sign your N-648 form.

If you are eligible for a waiver of the English proficiency requirement, you have to bring an interpreter along with you. To qualify for a disability exception, your disability has to be at least one year old (or be expected to last one year) and not caused by illegal drug use.

The USCIS needs enough advance notice to respond to accommodation requests. You have to state you need in the place provided in the naturalization application. Even if you are eligible for an exception to the English and civics requirement, you still have to take the Oath of Allegiance to the US. If you are not able or cannot establish an understanding of the meaning of the Oath because of your physical or mental disability, the USCIS may excuse you from this requirement.

While taking the Oath, you must promise to renounce all foreign allegiances while becoming a US Citizen and promise to support and defend the principles of the Constitution and the laws of the US. As and when required, you must be willing to fight in the US Armed Forces, perform noncombatant service in the US Armed Forces, and perform civilian service for the US.

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