Green card holder passes naturalization exam even after qualifying for disability waive

Green card holder passes naturalization exam even after qualifying for disability waive

We recently represented a man who had applied for citizenship and had been denied.  We took the case through the volunteer lawyer program at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.

The man had sufered some horrendous trauma during awar in his home African country.  He had received psychotherapy in the U.S. for about a year.  We began working on obtaining a medical disability waiver for him.

At his naturalization ceremony, something very interesting happened.  To find out, watch this video.


Hi I’m Jim Hacking, immigration attorney here in St. Louise, Missouri. Today we’re talking about Simon. Simon was a fellow who came to see us; he had his green card for about ten years. In fact, when he came to see me he brought his whole family’s stack of green cards. He had six or seven children and they each had their own green cards. His wife had a green card, and I’ll never forget it, because he carried them all around with a rubber band around them like you would any other business cards or anything.

He had everyone’s green cards, he had his green card, and he wanted to apply for citizenship. He had applied once before, but he had been in a war back in his home country in Africa and he had some medical conditions that were preventing him, he thought, from being able to learn English sufficiently in order to be able to take the civics and the English portion of the exam.

We sat down with Simon, we looked at the records that he had. We had him sign a medical authorization to allow us to get all of his records from all of his treaters. We gathered all those records up and then we took a look at it. We then took the records and brought them to an expert, that we deal with from time to time, who is familiar with the N6 48 disability portion of the N400. The N6 48 is the medical waiver that allows people who have medical conditions, diagnosable conditions, that keep them from being able to learn English; to not have to take the English and civics portion of the exam.

We brought those records to the doctor, she looked them over. She met with Simon on several occasions, and she felt comfortable, at that point, certifying that Simon was not going to be able to learn English or civics due to the trauma that he had sustained back in Africa. We refiled  the N400, we submitted the N6 48 with all the medical records, and we were really sure that we had a strong case.

Now, the St. Louise field office doe an interesting thing when it comes to N6 48’s. They will still try and ask the people to pass the English or civics exam even if they’ve submitted evidence that they’re not going to be able to do it medically. I was convinced, after having talked to the doctor and having spoken with Simon on several occasions, that he too was not going to be able to pass the exam due to his medical condition.

Lo and behold the exam started off with Simon getting six out of the first seven questions right. Six is all that you need in order to pass the naturalization exam. The waiver, even though he had done all this work, and I should say we were doing this work pro bono; it was a case we took from legal services. He passed the exam, and Simon was able to naturalize without having to rely on the waiver.

The waiver is definitely a tool that’s in the immigration practitioners toolbox; if you or your parent or someone that you care about want to become a citizen but is worried about the medical portion, I’m sorry about the English portion of the exam. Make sure that they take the time to come meet with us. Give us a call 314-961-8200. We can walk you through what it takes to get the medical waiver. We can talk with your doctor, if need be, to help you gather the evidence that you need in order to get the waiver. It’s not just that it’s hard for someone to learn English, it’s they are medically diagnosable as being incapable or learning English sufficient to comply with that portion of the naturalization process. You can also shoot me an email, [email protected] or give us a call and we’d be happy to help you out just like we did for Simon, thanks.