Medical Waiver for Naturalization Interview

Medical Waiver for Naturalization Interview

Applicant: Pai-han Lin
Applying for: Naturalization, Medical Waiver, and fee waiver
Case Type: N-400, N-648, I-912
Time: 8-12 months

  • Petitioner unable to communicate for himself so he cannot the pass test to become a naturalized citizen
  • The waiver requires a doctor’s evaluation
  • Younger sibling didn’t know his options due to his limited knowledge of immigration law


Since they were small boys in Taiwan, Cheng-han had to look after his older brother Pai-han. He didn’t know the clinical reason why Pai-han was “different,” he just understood that he couldn’t speak nor behave like all of the other children in their village. However, he loved his brother deeply and was always going to be there to protect him.

Pai-han is now in his 70s and spends his day housebound. Cheng-han wanted his big brother to finally become a U.S. citizen so he could benefit from the advanced healthcare and facilities in this country. Cheng-han knew his brother lacked the mental capability to pass the naturalization testing that included conversing in English and passing the English language civics test and he had very little knowledge about his brother’s options. He was hoping that he could find a law firm that knew what to do in these types of situations. Fortunately, he reached out to the immigration experts at Tsang and Associates.


One of the requirements for becoming a U.S. citizen is taking the naturalization test to demonstrate one’s ability to read, write, and speak English and show a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics). Tsang and Associates understood Pai-han was a unique case and developed a plan to help Cheng-han secure citizenship for his big brother. A petitioner has the right to file for a waiver from the English language and civics tests under defined medical parameters. Pai-han could be eligible for an exemption due to a developmental or mental impairment that has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or more (N-648).

The first step was to find a Chinese-speaking doctor to evaluate Pai-han and provide an official diagnosis. The doctor’s subsequent report provided two definitions for Pai-han’s mental condition based upon the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Medical Disorders IV (DSM IV).

The first definition was categorized as DSM IV 318.0 Moderate Mental Retardation. Moderate level retardation is a lifelong intellectual disability where the intellectual learning level is well below average and significantly limits daily level skills and adaptive functioning. The second definition was categorized as DSM IV 299.80 PDD-NOS Non-Verbal Communications. PDD-NOS is a general umbrella term for severe and pervasive impairment in the development of reciprocal social interaction or communication skills. In this case, non-verbal communication is a disorder characterized by the ability to speak, and otherwise communicate verbally.

Tsang and Associates accompanied Pai-han and Cheng-han at their United States Citizenship and Immigration Services hearing along with providing an interpreter.


Tsang and Associates were able to secure an exemption for Pai-han to avoid having to take the English language and civics tests. He also qualified for the fee waiver (I-912). Tsang and Associates were honored to help Cheng-hai fulfill his dream of seeing his elder brother become a U.S. citizen and cannot wait to see where their new life takes them.

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