Posted on October 25, 2022

U.S. Removes Trump-Era Barriers to Citizenship-Test Waivers for Disabled Immigrants

Juliana Kim, NPR, October 25, 2022

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has rolled out several changes to make the naturalization process more accessible for applicants with disabilities.

After months of public feedback, the federal agency has shortened and simplified its disability waiver, which is used to exempt immigrants with physical, mental or learning disabilities from the English and civics test requirements.

The revisions largely undo efforts by the former Trump administration to expand requirements for disabled applicants seeking to naturalize.


In a statement last week, USCIS Director Ur Jaddo said the revisions were part of President Biden’s executive order to restore faith in the U.S. immigration system.

Among the steps to become voting citizens, immigrants are tested on how well they read, write and understand English and how much they grasp U.S. history and government. Since 1994, the federal government has allowed immigrants with disabilities to receive waivers for such requirements.

In 2020, the Trump administration nearly doubled the length of the disability waiver and added unnecessary complexity {snip}

Questions such as how the applicant’s disability affects their daily life, a description of the severity of the disability and how frequently they are treated by medical professionals have since been eliminated.