Every person looking to apply for U.S. citizenship through the process of naturalization must begin by completing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization and submitting it with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In simple terms, this form collects your basic information and asks several questions regarding your eligibility to become a citizen. After obtaining a copy of this form from uscis.gov or by calling its toll free number at (800) 870-3676, it is important you carefully complete this form and keep several tips in mind to maximize your chances of success.
When completing your N-400, it is important to:
- Answer inapplicable questions appropriately: If a question does not apply to you, write “N/A” instead of leaving a blank space. When in doubt, consult with your lawyer.
- Be truthful: Lying on your N-400 form can not only result in a denial of your citizenship, but it can also introduce serious legal problems if discovered later on down the line. In certain circumstances, you may even have your citizenship revoked several years later.
- Stay consistent: Check the copies of other paperwork you may have filed with the USCIS and make sure your information matches, unless your older papers contained minor errors. If questioned, be prepared to answer why your answer changed and provide evidence to show that your current response is accurate.
- Use an extra page if necessary: Certain spots may require answers that are longer than the amount of space provided. In these areas, write “please see attachment” in the designated space and provide your answer on a separate sheet of paper with your name, A-number, and “Attachment to Form N-400” at the top.
- Do not staple or damage the barcode: Any sort of puncture to the barcode area can potentially hinder the USCIS’s ability to scan and process your application.
Common Reasons for N-400 Denial
There are numerous areas where applicants encounter trouble when filling out their N-400 forms. Some of the most common reasons for a continuation or denial of an N-400 include:
- Failing the English or Civics tests: If you fail either the English or civics test, the USCIS will allow you to retake the parts that you failed within 60 to 90 days at a second interview. If you fail a second time, however, your application will be denied.
- Criminal history: Certain crimes will permanently bar residents from citizenship while others will impose a temporary bar. Individuals convicted of murder or aggravated felonies are most likely to be permanently denied citizenship.
- Residence requirements: Applicants must maintain a residence in the United States for a certain period of time. Trips abroad for a period of six months or longer can disrupt this requirement.
- Financial requirement: Certain financial issues such as a failure to pay taxes or a failure to support dependents can affect the moral character requirement and lead to a denial.
- Fraud and lying: The USCIS may delay or deny your application if it should have reason to believe you have been untruthful or have engaged in any sort of fraudulent activity – even if your errors are innocent. For this reason, it is imperative you review your application for accuracy prior to submission.
For more information regarding the N-400 form or for assistance applying for naturalization, the Dallas immigration lawyers at Akula & Associates, P.C. are here to help. With more than 20 years of legal experience, we have the knowledge and skills to handle the legal heavy lifting and simplify the immigration process on your behalf.
Call (844) 299-5003 or contact us online to discover your immigration needs with us today.