Can I get a waiver of the requirement that I pass the English and civics exam for naturalization?

Can I get a waiver of the requirement that I pass the English and civics exam for naturalization?

USCIS requires lawful permanent residents to pass an English quiz by writing a sentence in English and reading one as well.  Immigration also requires a naturalization applicant to pass a civics exam.

This video discusses the exemptions that exist for the English and civics exam.  We also discuss the medical disability waiver for these requirements.


Does everyone have to take the naturalization exam and pass both the civics and the English portion if they want to naturalize and become a US citizen? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking; immigration attorney here in St. Louise. Most people are pretty aware that when you take the naturalization exam that part of the interview process is that you have to take an English exam and a civics exam.

On the English side you have to do the writing of a sentence in English and reading a sentence in English of the USCA officer’s choosing. On the civics side you’re going to get asked ten questions and you have to get six right. There are certain situation where people can receive a little bit of extra help during that part of the process.

If you’re 50 years old and you’ve been a green card holder for 20 years or if you’re 55 years old and have been in an LPR for 15 years, then you can take the exam in your own language. You do need to bring an interpreter with you and that interpreter needs to bring an ID with them to show who they are. I If you’re over 65 and you’ve had your green card for 20 years or more then you can take shorter tests and you can also an interpreter.

Those are the exemptions for people who’ve been here for a long time and have had a green card for a long time. It’s really meant for people who’ve been here for quite sometime who, because of age usually, are not going to be able to learn English sufficiently to pass the two part to the exam.

Now there is another part of the exemptions that exist for these cases. That’s for people with permanent disabilities. This give you an exemption from the exam all together. In order to obtain a medical disability you’re going to have to get a doctor to certify on form N6 48; that you are medically incapable of learning English sufficiently to take the exam. It can’t just be that English is hard or that it’s hard for people to learn English. You have to show and document that it’s medically impossible for you to pull this off.

The N-648 has to be filled out completely and a doctor has to certify it. It can’t just be filled out by the attorney or a by a family member. The real question is whether this doctor is willing to say that because of medical conditions in your brain that you’re not going to be able to learn English for the test. The doctor has to certify the origin, the nature, and the extent of the disability. That means where did the disability come from, how severe is it, and how long pending will it be. Those are the things that have to be included in the N-648 or it’s just going to be denied.

We’ve had a lot of cases where people come to see us, they’ve had an N-648 denied because they really didn’t do a good enough job of explaining, with a doctor’s help, what the extent of the condition is. A lot of times we’ll include medical or psychiatric records with the N-648 so that the officer really has no choice but to approve it. The doctor has to explain how the disability prevents them from learning English.

If you have any questions about waivers from the English and civics portion of the naturalization process, give us a call, 314-961-8200 or shoot me an email [email protected] We’d be happy to walk you through it. Thank you.