A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Contact: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Medical Exemption from English and Civics Requirements for Naturalization




Applying to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization is a natural path for the majority of legal permanent residents in America. U.S. citizens enjoy many benefits that green card holders do not. For example, only U.S. citizens may vote in federal elections, including the presidential elections.  Only U.S. citizens may apply for jobs with the federal government.  Obtaining a U.S. passport is another privilege of citizens.  Unlike permanent legal residents, U.S. citizens are not required to reside in the United States.  U.S. citizens also enjoy additional federal and state financial and medical benefits.

Medical Exemption from English and Civics Requirements

Naturalization requires the applicant to meet some English and civics requirements. Civics include studies of American government and history. Some applications are not able to learn English or civics due to their physical or mental impediments.  Fortunately, the law makes some medical exemption for disabled applicants for naturalization.  To apply for medical exemption, an applicant must submit a Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions.  As of November 21, 2022, USCIS will only accept the most current version (8/19/22) of the N-648.

Strict Requirements for Medical Exemption

Some applicants mistakenly believe that it would be easy to obtain exemption. All they need is to obtain a signature by a doctor.  This is far from the truth.  There are very strict legal requirements for the I-648 certification. It must be completed and signed by an authorized medical professional, such as a medical doctor, doctor of osteopath, or a clinical psychologist.  The form must be completed within 180 days before the submission of the N-400 naturalization application.  

Medical professionals can only complete and sign the N-648 certification after a thorough medical examination of an applicant.  They must not only identify and describe the specific physical or development disability or mental impairment that affects the applicant's ability to learn English or American government and history on Form N-648; they must also explain how such disability or impairment prevents the applicant from learning English or American civics.  Further, the physical or mental disability must have lasted or expected to least at least 12 months.  Hence, an applicant can not claim "poor memory" or other mild health issues as basis for exemption.  Also, if the disability is related to illegal drug use, then it would also not qualify for exemption. 

New N-648 Allows Remote Examinations and Oath Waiver

The good news is that, the new N-648 form allows telehealth medical examinations.  Hence, for applicants who are not mobile or are inconvenient to travel, they could still be examined by medical professionals. Also, the medical professional may sign the applicant's oath waiver at the same time.  Before this, an applicant must submit a separate application if he or she wants to apply for a waiver of the oath requirements.  An oath is the final step required for an applicant to become a U.S. citizen.  The purpose is to confirm the applicant's loyalty to the United States, and also his/her willingness to serve and to defend the United States if necessary.  

Exemption by Age and Time

If an applicant does not qualify for medical exemption, she must wait to request for exemption.  To take the test in one's native language, an applicant must be 50 or over and has been a resident for at least 20 years, or must be 55 or over and has been a resident for at least 15 years.  Applicants who are 65 or over and have been legal residents for at least 20 years may take a simple civics test in their native language.


(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule a legal consultation.)  

Friday, November 18, 2022

December 2022 Visa Bulletin: EB-2 Retrogresses / EB-1 Expected to Retrogress

                                         

In December's Visa Bulletin, there is no movement with family-based visas, and F2A remains current for all countries. Hence, green card holders can continue to petition for their spouses and minor children for adjustment of status.   

The following are the highlights for Employment Final Action Dates:

  • EB-2 India retrogresses by 176 days to 10/08/2011.
  • EB-2 for all countries (except India and China) will have a cut-off date of 11/01/2022.  
  • Due to increased visa usage, EB-1 for India and China are expected to retrogress in FY2023. 
  • EB-3 advances for both India and China. 
  • The State Department estimated 197,000 employment-based visa numbers for FY-2023, after capturing approximately 57,000 unused family-based visa numbers from FY 2022. 

Please see the following movements for EB-2 and EB-3 India/China:

Employment-Based (Filing Dates)
EB2 China: No movement
EB2 India: No movement
EB3 China: Advances 78 days to 09/01/2018
EB3 Other workers India: Advances 31 days to 08/01/2012

Employment-Based (Final Action Dates)
EB2 China: No movement
EB2 India: Retrogresses 176 days to 10/08/2011
EB3 China: Advances 47 days to 06/08/2019
EB3 Other workers China: Advances 203 days to 06/22/2013
EB3 Other workers India: advances 75 days to 06/15/2012

 

 AD: Dates for Final Action (Green Card Approval)      FD: Dates for Filing Applications Only

      Family

Other Countries

      China

India

Mexico

Philippines

F1

AD

12/01/2014

12/01/2014

12/01/2014

11/15/2000

03/01/2012

FD

08/08/2016  

08/08/2016

08/08/2016

12/01/2002  

04/22/2015

F2A

AD

C

C

C

C

C

FD

C

C

C

C

C

F2B

AD

09/22/2015

09/22/2015

09/22/2015

06/01/2001

10/22/2011

FD

01/01/2017

01/01/2017

01/01/2017

01/01/2002

10/01/2013

F3

AD

11/22/2008

11/22/2008

11/22/2008

11/01/1997

06/08/2002

FD

11/08/2009

11/08/2009

11/08/2009

06/15/2001

11/08/2003

F4

AD

03/22/2007  

03/22/2007

09/15/2005

08/01/2000

08/22/2002

FD

12/15/2007

12/15/2007

02/22/2006

04/01/2001

04/22/2004


1st: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,400 per year).
2A: The 2 “A” preference is for Spouses and Children (under 21 & unmarried) of LPR's.
2B: The 2 “B” Preference is for Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 or older) of LPR's.
3rd: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,400 per year)
4th: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens. (about 65,000 per year)




Employment

Other Countries

China

El Salvador

Guatemala

Honduras

India

Mexico

Philippines

EB1

AD

C

C

C

C

C

C

FD

C

C

C

C

C

C

EB2

AD

11/01/2022

06/08/2019

11/01/2022

10/08/2011

11/01/2022

11/01/2022

FD

12/01/2022

07/08/2019

12/01/2022

05/01/2012

12/01/2022

12/01/2022

EB3

AD

C

08/01/2018

C

06/15/2012

C

C

FD

C

09/01/2018

C

08/01/2012

C

C

Other Workers

AD

06/01/2020

06/22/2013

06/01/2020

06/15/2012

06/01/2020

06/01/2020

FD

09/08/2022

11/01/2015

09/08/2022

08/01/2012

09/08/2022

09/08/2022

EB4

AD

06/22/2022

06/22/2022

03/15/2018

06/22/2022

09/15/2020

06/22/2022

FD

07/22/2022

07/22/2022

04/15/2018

07/22/2022

10/15/2020

07/22/2022

EB5

AD

C

03/22/2015*

C

11/08/2019

C

C

FD

C

01/01/2016*

C

12/08/2019

C

C



1st: Priority Workers (Extraordinary ability aliens, multinational companies executives/managers, outstanding prof./researchers)
2nd: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability.
3rd: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers (Unskilled.)
4th: “Special Immigrants” (Religious & others)
5th: Employment Creation (Investors)

*China EB-5 visa numbers for rural, high unemployment & infrastructure areas/projects are current.

 

(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule a legal consultation.)