ILRC Advocacy Letter on Oath Waiver and Accommodations for Naturalization Applicants with Disabilities

Citizenship and Naturalization
Publication Date

The ILRC wrote to USCIS advocating for changes in the USCIS Policy Manual on requirements for naturalization oath waivers and accommodations. USCIS’s Policy Manual guidance unnecessarily restricts oath waivers to person who have certain U.S. citizen relatives or a court-ordered legal guardian or surrogate, a requirement that does not exist in statute or regulation. 

In addition, if a disability prevents a person from testifying in person for their naturalization interview, USCIS’s Policy Manual provides a limited list of U.S. citizen relatives or a court-ordered guardian to act in their place.  Legal services programs who serve this population report that many applicants lack U.S. citizen relatives, and that court processes to obtain guardianship are a significant time and expense barrier for disabled persons.   

The ILRC urged USCIS to expand the list of possible persons who can stand in for a disabled applicant to “a family member, social worker or trusted individual” to ensure that eligible applicants can complete the process.