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  • Definition of "detained" in Question 16 of N400 form.

    Hi all...

    I'm confused as to what "detained" means in Question 16 (Q16) of Part 10 of the N-400 form. It is:

    Have you ever been arrested, cited or detained by any law enforcement officer (including USCIS or former INS and military officers) for any reason?

    If I get pulled over for a minor traffic violation and let go with a verbal warning, or simply let go, does that count as detained?

    If I get stopped for questioning as a suspect in a crime, then let go without any charges, does that count as detained?

    I was suspected of shoplifting one time (which I did not do), and an officer stopped me for questioning. They reviewed the security camera footage and realized I was not the suspect, so they let me go. Do I have to report this? They checked my ID, but I'm not sure if they wrote anything down.

    Thanks!
    I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just my opinion and personal experience.
    DO: San Jose, CA
    2009/01/31: Sent N-400 to Phoenix
    2009/02/04: Priority date
    2009/02/09: Check cashed
    2009/02/28: Fingerprints done
    2009/04/10: Date on yellow notice
    2009/07/08: Got interview letter
    2009/08/10: Interview (decision cannot be made)
    2009/09/01: Got oath letter
    2009/09/17: Oath date (DONE!!)

  • #2
    Originally posted by WhoRunTings View Post
    Hi all...

    I'm confused as to what "detained" means in Question 16 (Q16) of Part 10 of the N-400 form. It is:

    Have you ever been arrested, cited or detained by any law enforcement officer (including USCIS or former INS and military officers) for any reason?

    If I get pulled over for a minor traffic violation and let go with a verbal warning, or simply let go, does that count as detained?

    If I get stopped for questioning as a suspect in a crime, then let go without any charges, does that count as detained?

    I was suspected of shoplifting one time (which I did not do), and an officer stopped me for questioning. They reviewed the security camera footage and realized I was not the suspect, so they let me go. Do I have to report this? They checked my ID, but I'm not sure if they wrote anything down.

    Thanks!
    There's no need to disclose either of those incidents.
    USC as of 09/09/08

    I am not an lawyer. My advice is based purely on personal experience. For legal advice, please consult an immigration attorney.

    Comment


    • #3
      Detained in this sense usually means that you were held at a police station or immigration office, not for being cited for a traffic ticket or asked questions as a suspect.

      Since you will answer YES anyways to this question for your arrest disclosed in the other thread, you can clarify the shoplifting incident to the IO at the interview , but there is no need for you to disclose it.
      Sent N-400 7/28/07
      PD 7/27/07
      Check cashed 12/5/07
      NOA 12/7/07
      FP notice 1/4/08 (received 1/10/08 )
      FP Date 1/30/08 (walk in done on 1/26/08 Charlotte)
      IL: 6/10/08
      ID: 8/28/08 (Durham DO) Passed!
      OL: 9/23/08
      OD: 10/06/08
      PP: 10/21/08 (applied)
      PP: 11/1/08 (received)
      ------------------------------------------

      ------------------------------------
      IMPORTANT NOTE: I am a Volunteer Moderator - one of you. I am not a lawyer. So act accordingly.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bobsmyth View Post
        Since you will answer YES anyways to this question for your arrest disclosed in the other thread, you can clarify the shoplifting incident to the IO at the interview , but there is no need for you to disclose it.
        Right, exactly. But I am wondering if I should list the times I was pulled over and let go without anything written in that little table on the form where you elaborate anything bad about your record (after Q21, Part 10, N-400).

        Basically, here is what I am afraid of: I don't report a minor interaction with a police officer, and at the interview I am asked whether I left anything like that off of my application. Maybe my USCIS case officer is feeling particularly nitpicky that day, and it turns out they want to know such stuff. Then I have a problem.

        I don't want to lie to the officer or USCIS. On the other hand, it seems ridiculous to list times I've been pulled over or questioned by an officer when no offense was found and I don't even remember the date, the officer, or the jurisdiction. It is conceivable the police station may have a record of the incident even if they didn't give me anything written, so I'm confused.
        I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just my opinion and personal experience.
        DO: San Jose, CA
        2009/01/31: Sent N-400 to Phoenix
        2009/02/04: Priority date
        2009/02/09: Check cashed
        2009/02/28: Fingerprints done
        2009/04/10: Date on yellow notice
        2009/07/08: Got interview letter
        2009/08/10: Interview (decision cannot be made)
        2009/09/01: Got oath letter
        2009/09/17: Oath date (DONE!!)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by WhoRunTings View Post
          Right, exactly. But I am wondering if I should list the times I was pulled over and let go without anything written in that little table on the form where you elaborate anything bad about your record (after Q21, Part 10, N-400).

          Basically, here is what I am afraid of: I don't report a minor interaction with a police officer, and at the interview I am asked whether I left anything like that off of my application. Maybe my USCIS case officer is feeling particularly nitpicky that day, and it turns out they want to know such stuff. Then I have a problem.

          I don't want to lie to the officer or USCIS. On the other hand, it seems ridiculous to list times I've been pulled over or questioned by an officer when no offense was found and I don't even remember the date, the officer, or the jurisdiction. It is conceivable the police station may have a record of the incident even if they didn't give me anything written, so I'm confused.

          You worry too much. There's no need to report being pulled over and being let go with a warning. There's also no need to report being questioned by a police officer. I've had more interactions with police than I can remember (there are cops in my family). If I had to disclose each time I talked to a cop, I definitely would have to lie on my N-400. Also, if such was the situation, I'd seriously reconsider living in the U.S....but that's a whole other story.
          USC as of 09/09/08

          I am not an lawyer. My advice is based purely on personal experience. For legal advice, please consult an immigration attorney.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by WhoRunTings View Post
            Basically, here is what I am afraid of: I don't report a minor interaction with a police officer, and at the interview I am asked whether I left anything like that off of my application. Maybe my USCIS case officer is feeling particularly nitpicky that day, and it turns out they want to know such stuff. Then I have a problem.
            .
            In that case my suggestion would be to answer "Apart from a payed minor traffic ticket and being questioned (never charged) for a incident, no I have never been cited or detained by police". You can then explain that no record exists of either if the IO makes it a point to see documentation. Either way, this is a non issue for determination of moral character as far as I'm concerned.
            Sent N-400 7/28/07
            PD 7/27/07
            Check cashed 12/5/07
            NOA 12/7/07
            FP notice 1/4/08 (received 1/10/08 )
            FP Date 1/30/08 (walk in done on 1/26/08 Charlotte)
            IL: 6/10/08
            ID: 8/28/08 (Durham DO) Passed!
            OL: 9/23/08
            OD: 10/06/08
            PP: 10/21/08 (applied)
            PP: 11/1/08 (received)
            ------------------------------------------

            ------------------------------------
            IMPORTANT NOTE: I am a Volunteer Moderator - one of you. I am not a lawyer. So act accordingly.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bobsmyth View Post
              In that case my suggestion would be to answer "Apart from a payed minor traffic ticket and being questioned (never charged) for a incident, no I have never been cited or detained by police". You can then explain that no record exists of either if the IO makes it a point to see documentation. Either way, this is a non issue for determination of moral character as far as I'm concerned.
              That's what I'm going to go with. Looking at some of the other threads in this forum, I think I am going too far with my attempts to disclose everything.

              Thanks folks!
              I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just my opinion and personal experience.
              DO: San Jose, CA
              2009/01/31: Sent N-400 to Phoenix
              2009/02/04: Priority date
              2009/02/09: Check cashed
              2009/02/28: Fingerprints done
              2009/04/10: Date on yellow notice
              2009/07/08: Got interview letter
              2009/08/10: Interview (decision cannot be made)
              2009/09/01: Got oath letter
              2009/09/17: Oath date (DONE!!)

              Comment


              • #8
                If you're still not sure about the detainment question, then I suggest you watch this video

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6uw7...x=0&playnext=1
                Sent N-400 7/28/07
                PD 7/27/07
                Check cashed 12/5/07
                NOA 12/7/07
                FP notice 1/4/08 (received 1/10/08 )
                FP Date 1/30/08 (walk in done on 1/26/08 Charlotte)
                IL: 6/10/08
                ID: 8/28/08 (Durham DO) Passed!
                OL: 9/23/08
                OD: 10/06/08
                PP: 10/21/08 (applied)
                PP: 11/1/08 (received)
                ------------------------------------------

                ------------------------------------
                IMPORTANT NOTE: I am a Volunteer Moderator - one of you. I am not a lawyer. So act accordingly.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wrong! According to the question he was. It is better to answer the question than to risk taking the chance that his name appears on some field interview card that they can access. In my State, ICE can access local incident reports, It is easier to say you were stopped, questioned and released than to explain you way out of "forgetting" a incident. Once they catch you in a half-truth, they will starting digging for other things you might have not told them.

                  I spent years working for the INS, never could understand why people would spent hundreds or thousands of dollars to have a Attorney help them with the forms. The questions are simple! You were either stopped or you were not, the question require no special knowledge, just the truth. It isn't your job to decide if a speeding ticket needs to be reported or not, you were still cited.

                  Originally posted by Vorpal View Post
                  There's no need to disclose either of those incidents.
                  Last edited by dafortycal; 29th January 2009, 01:19 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bobsmyth View Post
                    If you're still not sure about the detainment question, then I suggest you watch this video

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6uw7...x=0&playnext=1
                    Hmm, I should have been this insistent when they were pulling me over...
                    I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just my opinion and personal experience.
                    DO: San Jose, CA
                    2009/01/31: Sent N-400 to Phoenix
                    2009/02/04: Priority date
                    2009/02/09: Check cashed
                    2009/02/28: Fingerprints done
                    2009/04/10: Date on yellow notice
                    2009/07/08: Got interview letter
                    2009/08/10: Interview (decision cannot be made)
                    2009/09/01: Got oath letter
                    2009/09/17: Oath date (DONE!!)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dafortycal View Post
                      Wrong! According to the question he was. It is better to answer the question than to risk taking the chance that his name appears on some field interview card that they can access. In my State, ICE can access local incident reports, It is easier to say you were stopped, questioned and released than to explain you way out of "forgetting" a incident. Once they catch you in a half-truth, they will starting digging for other things you might have not told them.
                      Yeah, this is my worry -- there may be an official record of the incident.

                      I have no intention of lying or telling half-truths. I am not going to claim that I "forgot" anything. If I choose not to list the times I was questioned and released on the N-400, and the immigration officer asks at the interview about being detained, certainly I can explain my reasoning using something like Bobsmyth's suggestion in post #6, right?
                      I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just my opinion and personal experience.
                      DO: San Jose, CA
                      2009/01/31: Sent N-400 to Phoenix
                      2009/02/04: Priority date
                      2009/02/09: Check cashed
                      2009/02/28: Fingerprints done
                      2009/04/10: Date on yellow notice
                      2009/07/08: Got interview letter
                      2009/08/10: Interview (decision cannot be made)
                      2009/09/01: Got oath letter
                      2009/09/17: Oath date (DONE!!)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dafortycal View Post
                        Wrong! According to the question he was. It is better to answer the question than to risk taking the chance that his name appears on some field interview card that they can access. In my State, ICE can access local incident reports, It is easier to say you were stopped, questioned and released than to explain you way out of "forgetting" a incident.
                        According to that logic, you are "detained" every time you cross the border into the US.
                        ------------------------------------
                        IMPORTANT NOTE: I am a Volunteer Moderator - one of you. I am not a lawyer. So act accordingly.

                        PD: 9/12/2000 (EB3/VA/RIR/Canada)
                        I-140 RD: 12/22/2000
                        I-140 AD: 7/16/2001
                        RD: 8/28/2001
                        ND: 10/26/2001
                        FP1: 1/31/2002
                        RFE: 8/2/2002
                        RFE RD: 8/28/2002
                        TD: 10/22/2002
                        FP2: 6/19/2004
                        ID: 07/15/2004
                        AD: 07/15/2004
                        CO: 08/18/2004
                        CR: 08/23/2004
                        N-400 RD: 05/21/2009
                        FP: 06/13/2009
                        CFR: 08/05/2009
                        IL: 08/21/09
                        ID: 10/7/09
                        USC: 10/8/09

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WhoRunTings View Post
                          Hmm, I should have been this insistent when they were pulling me over...
                          Wow, that's an interesting video.
                          D/O: Chicago, IL

                          10/11/2008 -- N-400 Sent
                          10/13/2008 -- N-400 Received
                          10/24/2008 -- FP Letter Received
                          11/07/2008 -- FP Appointment (Completed)
                          12/13/2008 -- Case File Review Not. Rec'd
                          01/02/2009 -- IL Received
                          02/26/2009 -- Interview Date (Passed)
                          03/05/2009 -- Oath Date
                          03/05/2009 -- Applied for Passport
                          04/06/2009 -- Received Passport & C.N.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dafortycal View Post
                            Wrong! According to the question he was. It is better to answer the question than to risk taking the chance that his name appears on some field interview card that they can access. In my State, ICE can access local incident reports, It is easier to say you were stopped, questioned and released than to explain you way out of "forgetting" a incident. Once they catch you in a half-truth, they will starting digging for other things you might have not told them.

                            I spent years working for the INS, never could understand why people would spent hundreds or thousands of dollars to have a Attorney help them with the forms. The questions are simple! You were either stopped or you were not, the question require no special knowledge, just the truth. It isn't your job to decide if a speeding ticket needs to be reported or not, you were still cited.

                            Being questioned by a police officer is NOT being detained!!!
                            USC as of 09/09/08

                            I am not an lawyer. My advice is based purely on personal experience. For legal advice, please consult an immigration attorney.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TheRealCanadian View Post
                              According to that logic, you are "detained" every time you cross the border into the US.
                              Thank you! Same goes for going through a random police checkpoint. Here in NYC, the NYPD is known for setting up random breathalyzer/seat belt checkpoints. I highly doubt that USCIS wants to know about every time an applicant passed through one of those.
                              USC as of 09/09/08

                              I am not an lawyer. My advice is based purely on personal experience. For legal advice, please consult an immigration attorney.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My wife questions me after I come home late after a night out with a friend. She tells me I'm not free to go until I answer her questions, so I guess I'm being detained as well. So much for telling the truth on my application.
                                Sent N-400 7/28/07
                                PD 7/27/07
                                Check cashed 12/5/07
                                NOA 12/7/07
                                FP notice 1/4/08 (received 1/10/08 )
                                FP Date 1/30/08 (walk in done on 1/26/08 Charlotte)
                                IL: 6/10/08
                                ID: 8/28/08 (Durham DO) Passed!
                                OL: 9/23/08
                                OD: 10/06/08
                                PP: 10/21/08 (applied)
                                PP: 11/1/08 (received)
                                ------------------------------------------

                                ------------------------------------
                                IMPORTANT NOTE: I am a Volunteer Moderator - one of you. I am not a lawyer. So act accordingly.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by TheRealCanadian View Post
                                  According to [dafortycal's] logic, you are "detained" every time you cross the border into the US.
                                  Interesting point. I have been to Canada twice. That's 4 counts of "detention," 1 for crossing the border each way! And then there was that time I went to Europe... 2 counts of "detention" each way (I connected through countries where I had to cross some sort of immigration/customs checkpoints), that's 4 more counts!

                                  So just for doing a bit of perfectly legal, innocuous traveling, I now have 6 counts of detention on my record.

                                  dafortycal: I agree with you that the letter of the law seems to say I should report these things. But the debate in this thread seems to be "letter of the law" versus "spirit of the law." In the spirit of the law, the fact that I was questioned and let go, or stopped at the US border like every other person, doesn't count for or against my good moral character, which is the point of Part 10 of the N-400 form. I really doubt the IO is going to care about these incidents. It is clear from my N-400 that I traveled abroad, yet I am not reporting being questioned by border agents. But does the IO really want to read what is now a gigantic list of non-offenses that I would have to list just to be technically correct?

                                  I am strongly leaning towards not reporting my interactions with the law where no offense was found, no citation or warning written, and so forth. I plan to submit my N-400 before the end of the week and will keep y'all updated.

                                  Thanks for everyone's help!
                                  I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just my opinion and personal experience.
                                  DO: San Jose, CA
                                  2009/01/31: Sent N-400 to Phoenix
                                  2009/02/04: Priority date
                                  2009/02/09: Check cashed
                                  2009/02/28: Fingerprints done
                                  2009/04/10: Date on yellow notice
                                  2009/07/08: Got interview letter
                                  2009/08/10: Interview (decision cannot be made)
                                  2009/09/01: Got oath letter
                                  2009/09/17: Oath date (DONE!!)

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by WhoRunTings View Post
                                    I am strongly leaning towards not reporting my interactions with the law where no offense was found, no citation or warning written, and so forth.
                                    As you should! At times, this board tends to fan the flames of paranoia a bit more than necessary. If nothing negative came out of your interaction with a law enforcement officer, there is absolutely no need to report it on the N-400. Case closed.
                                    USC as of 09/09/08

                                    I am not an lawyer. My advice is based purely on personal experience. For legal advice, please consult an immigration attorney.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Vorpal View Post
                                      Being questioned by a police officer is NOT being detained!!!
                                      The instruction of N-400 specifically tell you not to report traffic stops if it did not involve drugs and alcohol.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by kalyani9 View Post
                                        The instruction of N-400 specifically tell you not to report traffic stops if it did not involve drugs and alcohol.

                                        not quite true. this is what it says

                                        Note that unless a traffic incident was alcohol or drug related, you do not need to submit documentation for traffic fines and incidents that did not involve an actual arrest if the only penalty was a fine of less than $500 and/or points on your driver's license.
                                        You are still required to report any citation but are not required to submit documentation (like fine payment receipts, traffic school attendence, court papers) if the citation was not related to drugs or alcohol and fine was less than $500.
                                        N-400 (Raleigh-Durham)

                                        08-03-2009 RD
                                        08-19-2009 FP
                                        09-03-2009 IL
                                        10-19-2009 ID
                                        10-23-2009 OD

                                        Comment

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