Form N-648 is filed by citizenship applicants who need an exception to the English and civics test because of “physical or developmental disability or mental impairment.” However, other naturalization applicants who are able to learn or demonstrate the required knowledge and understanding of basic English and civics are not eligible to claim an exception from the citizenship test and cannot submit form N-648.
If eligible for an exception, you have to submit Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, along with your completed Form N-400, the citizenship form. You can file this form only for medical condition(s) that are long-term (lasting 12 months or longer) and so severely affecting that you cannot meet the English or civics requirements. The USCIS will review the submitted Form N-648 and pass their decision whether you qualify for an exception from those requirements.
All sections of this form (except for the “Applicant Attestation” in Part I of the application) have to be completed by a currently licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or clinical psychologist (a “medical professional”). It is important that the doctor has professional expertise in diagnosing and evaluating an applicant for a physical or developmental disability or impairment that makes the applicant not able to take the English or civics test.
There is another option where an employee who is under the direct supervision of the certifying medical professional may fill in the form with information directly provided or verified by the certifying medical professional. However, the certifying medical professional who signs the form is totally responsible for all the information given in the form.
The medical professional signing this form should have adequate training and experience in the field of the applicant’s claimed disability or impairments. The medical professional should be the one who has been regularly treating this particular applicant for the claimed disability or impairment. If the professional is not the applicant’s regular treating physician, the reason for the substitution should be explained in the application, as well as information regarding the future plan of treatment for the applicant. The professional is required to provide an accurate assessment of the applicant’s disability or impairment so that USCIS can determine whether the applicant qualifies for an exception from the tests.
The USCIS may consider Form N-648 as insufficient if sufficient information is not given in the form. The USCIS considers that there may be exceptional circumstances that do not make it possible for the completed Form N-648 to be attached to Form N-400 when it is filed. In such circumstances, the completed Form N-648 must be submitted to USCIS at the time of the applicant’s interview. It is important to remember that though USCIS will accept delayed submissions, such claims may delay the Naturalization application process.