The Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, is a 21- page form that you must complete and submit to the USCIS to apply for the Naturalization process. You can apply for the Naturalization process only if you are a Permanent Resident of the United States (Green card holder). You must also have established permanent residence in the U.S for the past 5 years. If you meet the requirements to apply for Naturalization process, you can go ahead and file Form N-400 with the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The USCIS receives thousands of applications every year for Naturalization and it does not accept all the applications. In case you are not eligible for U.S Citizenship, the USCIS will deny your application. Citizenship applications may be denied by the USCIS for various reasons. Here is a list of the most common reasons:
1.Not passing the English and/or Civics exam:
Even though this may seem simple, it is one of the common reasons for the Naturalization application to get rejected. This is very important as English is the spoken language in the U.S. You must display some basic level of proficiency in speaking, reading and writing the language. There are some exceptions the USCIS provides from the English and/or Civics tests if:
You are 50 years or older and are a permanent resident of the U.S for the past 20 years.
You are 55 years or older and a permanent resident of the U.S for at least the past 15 years.
If you have a disability that prevents you from learning English.
2.Not meeting the physical presence requirements:
A legal permanent resident (Green card Holder) is free to travel outside the U.S but it is best to avoid travel that requires you to stay out of the country for more than 6 months in a given year. You must meet the Continuous Residence condition that is necessary for filing the Naturalization Application Form N-400:
You must have a permanent residence in the U.S for the past 5 years. If you are married to a U.S citizen, you must have 3 years of permanent residency.
You must be physically present in the U.S for half of the statutory period (2.5 years out of the 5 years requirement) without any extended period of travel.
Must reside in the U.S from the time of Applying for Naturalization until the time you complete the process and get your citizenship, if approved.
3.Having a criminal record:
The USCIS will review your past criminal history when you apply for the Naturalization process. This means you will be checked thoroughly by the USCIS for any past arrests, citations, failure to pay alimony, controlled substance violation, false testimony under oath and any kind of violations of the law. Applicants who have committed serious crimes like murder, aggravated felony cannot apply for citizenship and will be denied citizenship by the USCIS if they proceed with the application. The USCIS looks for “Good Moral Character” in its applicants who will become future citizens of the country.
4.Ailure to meet financial obligations:
Before you file your Naturalization Application Form N-400, make sure you do not have any outstanding tax obligations. Also make sure you have paid your child support on time as USCIS views it as important as paying your taxes. If you are experiencing any financial difficulties like debts, foreclosure and bankruptcy, it does not project a major hurdle to to your naturalization process.
5.Fraud and lying to the USCIS:
The USCIS looks back on your whole history when you apply for Naturalization. If it is found that you have obtained your Green card by any fraudulent methods, even many years before, your application for citizenship will be denied by the USCIS when it comes to light. If you put any deceptive or false information on your u.s. citizenship application, it will be denied. Any error or misinformation on the application, however innocent the error may seem, could cost you your citizenship. The best course is to be honest on your application.