Washington LawHelpWashington LawHelp

How Do I Get a Disability-Based Waiver? Citizenship Application Help

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project LSC Funded

To become a citizen of the U.S., most applicants must show the USCIS that they speak, understand and write basic English. Applicants also must pass a test in U.S. government and history. If you have a disability that makes you unable to learn or remember new information like English and history, you can apply for a Disability Waiver. If the Waiver is granted, you will not be required to speak English or take the history tests and can still become U.S. citizen. #8129EN

Contents
Download | Printer-friendly Read Online Related Resources

Download | Printer-friendly

Read Online

 

What is the Disability-Based Waiver?

To become a United States citizen, usually you must show the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) that you speak, understand, and write basic English. You also must pass a test in U.S. government and history.

If you have a disability making you unable to learn or remember new info like English and history, you can apply for a Disability Waiver. If USCIS grants the Waiver, you do not have to speak English or take the history test. You can still become a citizen.

Who can get a Waiver?

It is very hard to get. It is ONLY for people with disabilities that make you unable to learn or remember new info. Do NOT apply for the waiver if these things are just hard for you.

What kind of disabilities qualify for the Waiver?

Examples include: 

  • stroke

  • Alzheimer’s

  • severe mental illnesses like depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • learning disabilities

This is not a complete list.

How do I apply for a Waiver?

Ask your doctor to complete USCIS Form N-648. (It is available at https://www.uscis.gov/.)  It asks the doctor to explain

  • What kind of disability you have.

  • How it makes you unable to learn or remember new info.

You can hand this form in with your citizenship application, USCIS Form N-400, OR bring it to your interview. Get help from a community organization or legal services office to fill out your application and go with you to your citizenship interview.

*For help with your application, visit a lawyer in person or get advice from one by calling a legal hotline. If you are low-income and do not live in King County, call CLEAR at 1-888-201-1014. If you live in King County, call the King County Bar Association’s Neighborhood Legal Clinics at (206) 267-7070 9:00 a.m. - noon, Monday – Thursday, to schedule a free half-hour of legal advice.

 

How does USCIS decide if I get a Waiver?

At your citizenship interview, the USCIS officer reviews your doctor’s Form N-648. Your doctor’s statement should do all these:

  • Describe your disability.

  • Explain clearly how it keeps you from learning.

  • Give all info USCIS requires.

If it does these things, the examiner should approve the waiver. Then you can have your interview in your native language and skip the history test.

What happens if the hearing officer is not satisfied with my doctor's statement?

They will not approve the waiver. They may ask you to get more info and return for a second interview. They may do the interview in English and have you take the history test.

USCIS did not approve my Waiver. What should I do?

Get help from a community organization or legal services office. (See box on page 1 for contact info.)  They can review your application and determine if other info could improve it.

I applied for a Waiver. Do I have to take the Oath of Citizenship?

Yes. Every adult must understand and take the oath to become a citizen. If the USCIS officer finds that you do not understand that you are applying for citizenship, s/he will not approve your application. Then you cannot become a citizen.

 

(Permission for copying and distribution granted to the Washington State Alliance for Equal Justice and to individuals for non-commercial use only.)

8129EN

Last Review and Update: Dec 21, 2017
YouTube