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Documents needed for Naturalization

Discussion in 'US Citizenship' started by JohnnyCash, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. JohnnyCash

    JohnnyCash Volunteer Moderator

    Below are some postings which provide a comprehensive list about documents/preparation for naturalization interview.

    If anyone sees/knows about any other document, with or without their experience...even from hearsay, let me know by posting on this thread so that I could include that in my list...so long it would seem justifiable.

    Good luck in your naturalization journey....
  2. JohnnyCash

    JohnnyCash Volunteer Moderator

    Documents and preparation for Naturalization Interview:

    It's highly recommended that applicants for naturalization should take with them ALL the documents listed below at their interview even if their 'Interview Appointment Notice' may not include any (or some) of them. And it should also be known that an 'Appointment Notice' is just a generic/computerized/general-wording letter in most cases. So it could be possible that it may not contain a list of ALL required documents pertaining to someone's specific situation/case. For example, in one of the immigration forums, a woman received an appointment notice for her naturalization interview wherein she was asked to bring a Selective Service Letter despite of the fact that she was a female, and everyone knows that females are not required to register with Selective Service as per the law.

    Thus, it is beyond anyone's imagination as to why she was even asked to bring Selective Service letter when ONLY males are required to register with Selective Service. So keep it in mind that an appointment letter is just a generic/computerized letter in most cases. Also clerks are the ones who send out the appointment letter and not the assigned adjudication officers. And clerks always make mistakes as you may already know this by now. So, make sure to bring ALL the documents mentioned below even if you are not asked for them in your appointment letter. I'm not saying that you must be asked for all the documents listed here, but you will definately be asked some of them. And God knows which one they would ask for at the interview.

    And do NOT ever assume that your interview experience would be the same as others...meaning if someone was asked only this and that documents then it doesn't mean that you will be asked the same documents/questions. I see many people say that they were asked only this and that documents and it's unnecessary to carry all other documents. But those who say this don't realize that each officer is an individual, unique and different. The officer who has had interviewed some of these people would not necessarily be involved in interviewing you. So you don't know which document an individual officer might ask for. INS can ask for any documents that pertains to applicant's immigration journey and background. Thus it's better to have all the documents being proactive than some of them.

    [1] Interview appointment letter: It will be required to get inside the INS building since security guard at the front door of the office will ask to see it. And obviously, local district office would need it to pull your file up in order to interview you. However, you might not need this if you are going into a very small INS office wherein only 3-4 applicants altogether would hardly be there such as the INS office in Vermont which is just a little larger than a telephone booth. Because then that small office would already know who is scheduled to be interviewed at that day even if someone won't have this letter handy. Also, appointment letter is not needed by those who would be asked over the phone to appear for an interview as sometimes INS tries to accommodate some applicants just in a last moment which makes them to call the applicant over the phone to come to the interview. So obviously, these people won't need an appointment letter then.

    [2] Passport: It's required mainly to verify applicant's absence from the United States as it contains the record of ALL the trips that an applicant has taken outside the United States which could determine applicant's eligibility for naturalization as to his/her continuous presence in the United States. And it's also required to verify applicant's citizenship/nationality. Officer does retains the right to ask for it as it is relevant to the information on the application. Plus, it's also used to establish applicant's identity which is very important at the time of naturalization. You should bring all the passports (even the expired ones) that you might have carried. Also, it is better to take the photocopy of the first page of the passport wherein biodata is as it has been noticed that some people are recently asked for it. If a passport is recently expired, then it is not a problem because adjudication officers like to see the passport to verify the trips taken outside the US than the validity of the passport.

    [3] Driver License or State Issued Non Driving ID: Officers will always ask for this during the interview to verify whether or not applicant lives in their jurisdiction. It's because applicant must need to be living in the State where s/he will appear for an interview, otherwise that particular office won’t have any jurisdiction on the applicant's case to adjudicate his/her application. It’s relevant to the information that applicant provides on his/her citizenship application about his/her address. Hence, officer retains the right to verify his/her residence information. Also, driving license verifies applicants' identity as a person who s/he claims to be especially when it is a govt. issued picture ID like green card.

    [4] Tax returns for the last 5 yrs: Whether or not applicants are specifically asked on their interview letter to bring their tax returns, they should ALWAYS take their tax returns for the last 5 yrs with them to their interview, no matter what. And it's so important for applicants in NY district office because interviewing officers in NY district office do ask for it in 99.99%of the time. It's my advise that applicants should request tax transcripts from IRS to show to USCIS than tax returns because as per USCIS interim memo to adjudication officers, officers should demand to see tax transcript than copy of tax returns. Why? Because tax transcripts are official record, which means USCIS cannot doubt about the authencity of them unlike tax returns unless you would have certified copies of your tax returns which might cost you a lot of money and time to get them.

    I would also like to point it out why tax returns are so important to USCIS. Tax returns are asked particularly to verify or to find out- (a) applicants' current and previous address(s), (b) their current and previous marital status, (c) whether or not they have any children, (d) where and what kind of job applicants have been doing for the last 5 yrs, (e) whether or not they owe any money to IRS, (f) whether or not they have paid the REQUIRED taxes, (g) whether or not they are in violation of any IRS laws, because if they were single but filed their taxes under married status at any time, then USCIS will deny their citizenship application under the clause of having bad character. Because it will then prove that they are in a violation of IRS laws and also a person of a bad character because of cheating.

    And if applicants did not pay any of the required taxes then USCIS will deny your application unless you will submit an agreement letter from IRS, State, and local tax offices showing that you have filed a tax return or have arranged to pay the taxes you owe. And whenever you would have an arrangement with IRS for the payment of owed taxes then you MUST need to bring documentation from IRS, State and local tax offices showing the current status of your repayment program. Actually, tax returns are required for many reasons at the time of naturalization.

    Tax transcripts is also know as Form 1722. It takes only a few days to get all these in the mail if you would request these documents over the phone with them at 1-800-829-1040 or thru their website wherein you would need to fill out Form 4506-T. If you would prefer to get it within a few minutes then IRS can even fax them to you right away if you would provide them a fax number over the phone.

    It's is very important to know that you should take both- federal and state tax returns with you...Again, both (state and federal) tax returns.



    Tax returns are relevant to the information that applicants provide on their citizenship application; thereby officer retains the right to demand these documents to verify those information.

    If someone has not filed any tax return because of having no income or earning a little income, then it would still be alright so long s/he could explain it to the officer as to why s/he did not file the tax return or why s/he wasn't required to file the tax returns. And even if someone has received public assistant or is on welfare, yet still it not a problem. But if someone is unemployed, then s/he must be prepared to show/explain to INS how s/he has been supporting himself/herself without the means of any visisble income; otherwise officer might deny their case in presuming that such person is being involved in some kind of shady/illegal activities. Submitting an affidavit from someone about being supported would do the trick.

    [5] Divorce/Annulment decrees: It's required if applicant was previously married. Must be a certified copy. It's also relevant to the information because N-400 asks about all the previous marrages. Thus, officer retains the right to ask this document as s/he may prefer.

    [6] Marriage certificate: It is advisable to have it even if a citizenship application is not filed based upon 3 yrs rule of being married to a USC. Recently I came to know that some officers are asking for this just to update the information on citizenship application if applicant has gotton married after filing the application. And sometimes officers do want to verify whom applicants are married to if applicants are currently married. Besides it is also relevant to the information that applicants provide on their citizenship application about their marital history. So, officer retains the right to ask for this document.

    [7] Court's disposition on any arrest, charge, and citation (including traffic citations): If applicants don't wish their application to be delayed or denied, then they MUST need to take ALL the documents petaining to them about any arrest, charge, citation (even traffic ones) to their interview. It must be a certified copy from a court/arresting authority about complete record of arrest, charges, conviction and dismissal of case. The application for naturalization will be denied without a doubt if a criminal case is not completely disposed yet.

    As far as traffic citation is concerned, then applicants don’t need to worry about anything so long those citations have nothing to do with DUI or reckless driving. But applicants MUST need to DISCLOSE them in their application and should try their best to bring some kind of proof of paying all those traffic tickets because traffic tickets are also part of court's record. Pay attention-traffic tickets MUST need to be reported on the application. As a matter of fact, INS does state on the instructions for N-400 that ALL citations must need to be disclosed. However, they don't need applicants to show a proof of payment wherein fine was under $500. So, what INS is saying is that applicants don't need to submit proof of payment for those traffic citations wherein fine was imposed less than $500, but they do require all citations to be disclosed.

    I know there have always been controversies over traffic tickets/citations as to whether they should be disclosed on N-400 or not, but what people don't seem to understand is that INS requires a full disclosure of ALL citations/tickets regardless of those citiations would have any impact on the decision or not. Some people have said that people should not disclose about it as it will open a worm of can with INS, but by not reporting these citiations applicants might risk being accused of concealing an information and not being truthful on N-400 as required, which might use as a ground for INS to deny N-400 or revoke the citizenship many years later on even though this might be a trival matter. I know many people might argue that not disclosing this kind of information cannot be a ground for the deportation, but they are wrong...INS can revoke anyone's citizenship and deport them if s/he was not truthful on the naturalization application regardless of how trivial that information might seem because not disclosing any required information on the N-400 AND not telling to the officer at the time of interview means concealing and misrepresenting to govt. officials under oath and penalty of perjury which is a crime in itself and lying to govt. official is a ground in itself to deny the immigration benefit. There is a lifetime bar on misrepresenting/lying to the immigration officials. So, don't be surprised if even govt. tries to revoke your citizenship in the future for not disclosing ANY required information to them at the time of citizenship.

    What people don't understand is that traffic tickets are citations, and according to N-400 all citiations must need to be reported, minor or major regardless...That's a different fact that INS doesn't want you to send proof of paying those tickets which were fined for less than $500 but it doesn't say that you don't need to disclose them. It's very clearly indicated there to mention if someone ever been cited....If I were you, I wouldn't choose myself as to what I should disclose and what is not; instead I would follow the intructions on to report all citations regardless of how trival it is...This way I don't want to get accused in the future about concealing this information if ever INS finds that out somehow...even many years later of obtaining the citizenship. I better to be truthful than being sorry many years later and being deported for being untruthful on my application. I don't care what some IOs have said on this over the phone because you can NEVER rely on these officers anyway since they are known to give wrong and contradictory inforation all the time anyway, instead I would follow the instructions and guidelines what INS has stated about reporting citations. Instructions on N-400 don't say that people can choose by their own which tickets should be disclosed and which don't, nor it states anywhere on the instructions that people can determine by their own, or even based upon what some officers say over the phone, as to which tickets are serious and which are not in order to determine the impact on them on a citizenship application. It's sad that most people determing by themselves which ones to disclose and which don't even though instructions clearly state to disclose all citations.


    Most folks don't know that if someone has received too many traffic tickets, whether those are for speeding, parking, changing lanes wrongly, turning on no U turn zone and etc, then some officers may deny your application. Because recently a case has come into light wherein an officer denied a naturalization application to a person who had received so many tickets. Officer noted that applicant failed to obey the local traffic laws so many times, which obviously proves that applicant has a bad character by showing no regard to US local laws. Applicant appealed, but applicant's appeal got denied. So, it is also recommended to contact an immigration attorney before filing naturalization application if someone falls under this kind of situation. But I hope people would understand the difference between speaking with every other immigration attorney and speaking with good and aggressive immigration attorneys. More on this topic can be read here-


    It's also advised to take with you a full record of restraining order too if someone has obtained a restraining order against you at anytime. You WILL NOT be denied citizenship based upon traffic citations or a restraining order, but officer MAY ask you about it and/or may demand you to submit some kind of documents in relation to these stuffs. Don’t assume that if you were never been convicted, arrested, fingerprinted, detained or violated a restraining order then it means USCIS won’t know anything about those activities. USCIS is actually now checking up public court records too. It has nothing to do with financial civil matter; instead it has to do with family court for restraining order and traffic court for traffic citations.

    Continues... because of size limitation requirement
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2009
    lutz likes this.
  3. JohnnyCash

    JohnnyCash Volunteer Moderator

    Continues from where it was left at previous post...

    [8] Social security card: In some recent cases, USCIS has asked applicants to show their Social Security Card to verify their social security number that applicants put it on their application. Again, officer does retain the right to ask for it since it is one of the information that applicants provide on their Naturalization application.

    [9] Four Identical Colored Pictures: It’s always advisable to take 4 additional photos with you because sometimes officers do ask for new pictures again even though you have already submitted them along with your application. The reason for them to ask for it again could be that the photos that you have submitted with your application might have either lost, damaged or don’t look proper/current to the adjudication officer (every officer has his/her own discretion to accept the photo to be ok). Another reason for them to ask for pictures again during the interview is that USCIS prefers to have pictures taken within 6 months, and naturalization application can take longer than 6 months. So it is better to have it a few of new ones pics with you at the time of interview. If officers don't ask it during the interview then you can use those photos for applying the passport. Thus, those pics won't be a waste. Btw, pictures are part of the application and officer retains the right to demand it

    [10] Birth Certificate: In some recent cases officers have demanded the applicants to present birth certificate. It has anything to do with your children' birth certificate which is usually required if you have any children. Because if you have any children then you should carry their birth certificate with you anyway to prove that you have children as the information about your children is required on the application. But applicant's birth certificate is asked just to make sure about applicant's real name and date of birth if officer doubts soemthing or if there is any inconsistence to these information. A lot of people wonder on why officer/USCIS asks for birth certificate when USCIS has a copy of their birth certificate in their GC file. Actually each application is handled/dealt on it's own merit. So you cannot expect officer/INS to take some evidence from another case/file/application to adjudicate the application in hand. Again, it is also relevant to the information that applicants provide on the application about their full name and date of birth. So the officer retains the right to demand for it to check the accuracy of the information.

    [11] Employment letter: You should ask your employer to provide you this and should have it with you when you go to the interview. Including any W-2 or anything relevant to it. It is relevant to prove your employment information on the application. Some officers are known to have asked this.

    [12] Documents to prove your residency in your State: You must carry some kind of documents to prove your residency in the state where you live because applicants for naturalization must need to live at least 3 months in a place before filing naturalization application from that place. Those documents could be either utilities bills, rent/lease/mortgage papers, bank statements, other bills like credit cards and etc, or employment or school record if you work or go to school. It is also reported that some officers do ask for these documents to verify the accuracy of applicant's residence information mentioned on citizenship application. Also INS wants to make sure if they have any kind of jurisdiction over the applicant or not...

    [13] Pencil: In one of the immigration forums, an applicant was asked to sign the back of his photos with pencil, but he could not be able to find a pencil anywhere in the whole USCIS building, which made him to go out and come back some other time, which delayed his application. So it is advisable to carry it with you. It doesn't hurt to be over prepared, I guess.

    [14] Bring the copy of your I-140, or I-130, or I-360: Thru some recent cases, it has come to light that some officers have asked for a copy of approval notice of any of the above said petition, which was the basis for applicants to have obtained the green card. They have asked this because they were not able to receive the other file on the applicant at the time of interview from Service Center, and sometimes some officers would want to know how you have obtained your green card so that case could be resumed without waiting for other file to be arrived. Again, it is also relevant to the application as to applicant’s eligibility. If you won’t have this with you and officer doesn’t receive other file as well then the decision on your case could be delayed by many months or year.

    [15] Letter from Selective Service: If you are a male who is or was previously required to register with selective service, then you must bring a "Status Information Letter" with you to the interview, which you can easily obtain thru Selective Service. No need to explain to Selective Service why you failed to register if you did not register with them either now or previously. Because they don’t care why someone wasn't able to register; rather they could only give you a latter explaining whether you were required to register or not. That is.

    Your application for naturalization will be denied if you are a male and were in the United States between the ages of 18-26 and failed to register for selective service willfully and intentionally. But if you can convince INS officer that your failure was not willful then officer will be able to approve your application. So, it is better to bring an explanation letter (a notarized affidavit) with you at the interview, wherein you should explain very clearly that-[1] your failure was not willful; and [2] you were not aware of this obligation of registering with Selective Service; and [3] you did not receive any notification on this either from USCIS or Selective service.

    You should know that if you were in the United States between the ages of 18-26 under any status, even as an illegal, then you were required to register for selective service. The only exception to it- those men who were here on valid nonimmigrant visa. Men's age does play a very important role during the time of naturalization. Because if a male did not register with Selective Service when he was required to register, no matter for whatever reason, then officer may deny his application unless he reaches 31 of age. Once a male reaches to the age of 31, then 97% of times this issue becomes irrelevant. And after the age of 37, it is 100% irrelevant because then this Selective Service issue becomes completely mute and a non-issue even though a person had failed to register deliberately. You may call them at this number- 1-888-655-1825. You may check registration verification status on here-



    For more information, read the info here-





    [16] New application or a Separate piece of paper about Updated information: If there is any change occurred on any information after filing the naturalization application, including those which were forgotten to include on the application at the time of filing, then you must bring the relevant part of the application with updated information, or provide those updated information on a separate piece of papers. This way officers just attach that new updated information/application in applicant's file than correcting/updating those information manually on the application. Officers like when someone makes their job easy; otherwise they have to write manually everything on the application, which could be a hassle to some of them.

    [17] Review your whole application thoroughly: It’s highly advisable to have your whole application reviewed many times before appearing at interview since officer may ask you anything that you have mentioned on your application. Recently many naturalization applicants tell me that they were asked verbally about their height, weight, and address and some other information as well. Perhaps, officers wanted to make sure that applicant hasn't provided any wrong information on the application.

    [18] Green Card: You MUST be asked to present it at the time of interview. It is asked to verify the legal status and identity of the applicant. If you have lost it or misplaced it then you should get the stamp of it on your passport by going to a local INS office prior to appearing at your naturalization interview. Just show the stamp of your status on your passport or the receipt (NOA) about applying for its replacement.

    [19] Proof of financially supporting your minor children residing outside of your home: If you have minor children outside of your home, you need to bring evidence of your payment of financial support, such as cancelled checks, money order, receipts and bank drafts showing your payment record, along with copies of any court or government orders relating to the required payment. You may also take notarized affidavit from other spouse about telling that you have been paying timely child support. INS asks about this to determine the moral character of the applicant. Also be noted, and pay attention to it, you MUST take the birth certificate of ALL of your children to your interview as officers do like to verify children's birth information including the paternity of the children.

    [20] Ink or ball pen: It’s my advise to take this with you because if you belong to district offices wherein oath is administrated on the same day of approving naturalization interview, then officer might ask you to PRINT your name on the front of the photos for the purpose of affixing it on the naturalization certificate. Otherwise, you will be asked to print your name on Naturalization certificate at the time of oath ceremony.

    [21] Re-entry Permit: If an applicant carries a re-entry permit, then s/he must need to bring that one to his/her interview.

    [22] W-2: Recently (since 2008) many adjudication officers across the country have started asking applicant to show W-2s of the last 5 years' which should either be of applicant's or applicant's spouse. This document is being asked when an application is being filed based on 3 yrs rule for being married to a US citizen. The reason to ask this document could be to verify who is working or who has worked or who is making how much because tax transcript doesn't necessarily show all this when it comes individual income.

    It's better to read important information about Naturalization thru the following links-


    The following background checks INS does on Naturalization applicants-

    [1] IBIS: This check has validity of 35 days - this check is against IBIS (maintained by USCPC - Customs and Border Patrol) using applicant's full name and date of birth (without place or country of birth). This check is done by USCIS internally through a connection to IBIS. A no hit is termed "IBIS OK" in USCIS' jargon. An "IBIS DNR" (Does Not Relate) is when a match exists but does not relate to the applicant, which is a no hit as well. IBIS is exempt from FOIA requests, that is, a person cannot use FOIA to find out if his/her name is in IBIS.


    [2] FBI Fingerprint (FD258) Identification against NCIC database - This has a validity of 18 months. Any applicant can call FBI NCIC (Clarksburg, WV) to find out if his/her fingerprint result has been sent back to USCIS. Work through various voice prompts to talk to a live representative. The results of this check are normally returned within 24 hours for person with no criminal records or outstanding warrants. No hit is termed "NO IDENT" in FBI jargon. An FOIA request (with FD258/fingerprints) would reveal if a record exists or not.

    [3] FBI Name Check against Central Records System (CRS) - This check basically searches to see if the applicant has ever been a subject/target of any FBI investigation. There is no documented validity period for this check. This check can take anywhere from 1 day to 4 years. No hit is termed "NO RECORD" in FBI jargon. A FOIA request would reveal if a record exists or not. FBI may not disclose full details but will acknowledge if a record exists. Also, presence of a record does not mean that it is something negative.


    For more on background checks, read here-



    Here is a link wherein you can see/learn how citizenship interview will go-


    Naturalization Test:


    Hope it helps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2010
    lutz likes this.
  4. ocworker

    ocworker Registered Users (C)


    it is a very detail list of the items.

    I brought almost everything from your list (i created my own prior the interview) besides of (6) because i am not married at this moment, (7) because no criminal background, (11) but i brought all paystub since the day 1 i joined to the new company (1.5 yrs) recently, (13) because i had no idea at all, and (14) because i do not have those documents.

    i think your check list should be able to help other readers.

    by the way, i was asked to "sign" my name on the photo rather than PRINT. I signed my name on the natrualization cert as the way i signed on my photo. would it be a problem in the future? should i also sign my name on my passport as the way i sign on all my legal documents?
  5. Anahit

    Anahit Registered Users (C)

    Very informative!

    Indeed, it is a very informative list. I printed it out for future references.
    Thank you, Johnny.
  6. ocworker

    ocworker Registered Users (C)

    I sent myself email with the list of items so I could keep them in my email for future reference, or share with friends who might need to file N400 in the future.
  7. Anahit

    Anahit Registered Users (C)

    That's a good idea, but I also saved it as a word file: you never know what could happen to a link.
  8. ocworker

    ocworker Registered Users (C)

    yea... I just cut and pasted the word in a msg body to send it to myself. good idea to save it in a word fild. in fac, the check list should be part of the FAQ too.
  9. JohnnyCash

    JohnnyCash Volunteer Moderator

    Documents needed to submit along with application for Naturalization (N-400):

    Each applicant for naturalization SHOULD submit the following along with their naturalization application:

    [1] Cover letter: Though submitting a cover letter along with your naturalization application is not necessary, however it is highly recommended, wherein applicant should explain briefly about the basis of his/her eligibility for naturalization, such as whether applicant is filing the application under 3 yrs rule being a spouse of USC or under 5 yrs rule, or under any other eligibility in the law. This helps greatly to adjudication officers to know the basis of applicant’s eligibility right away at very first glance, otherwise sometimes some people’s eligibility is very hard to determine being complicated. And, not every adjudication officers are that much familiar with all the eligibilities for naturalization even though they are adjudication officers since laws and policies on immigration are kept changing very frequently and rapidly. Besides, at the time of naturalization, adjudication officers do pay attention to a cover letter, believe it or not.

    [2] Copy of front and backside of green card. It must be a very clear copy so that information could be read very clearly from there.

    [3] Two identical colored photos, wherein applicant’s full name and A# should have written by light pencil in the back of them. Photos should be as same style and size as we need for a passport, means- a front view of the applicant and not the side view as the pictures with side view are no longer accepted for immigration purpose. Further, photos should be taken within 30 days of filing the application.

    [4] Check or money order for the right amount of the processing fees for the application: Though it doesn’t make much difference how you would choose to pay the processing fee, however it should be known that sometimes Service Centers, particularly TSC, and some district offices (if you would file any other petition/application with them with fees) do wait for a receipt (NOA) to send out to an applicant until a personal check gets cashed out if an applicant pays the processing fees with his/her personal check.

    Nevertheless, it is always better to pay the processing fee with a personal check because if you choose to pay the processing fee by money order then it would not only be hard but also a time and money consuming to track down the proof of payment. Because, then you would require to file a paper work with postal service if money order is purchased from a post office, wherein you would be ended up paying some money (maybe $2 or $3) to track down whether such money order is cashed out or not. And it also takes almost 60 days for a post office to furnish this request. But if you would pay by your personal check then you would be able to receive the cancelled check back from your bank once USCIS will cash that out, which means-there won’t be a waste of time and money, and you would also have a solid proof to prove to USCIS about them having the processing fee from you on your application. But make sure to write your A# and the N-400 on the topside of the check where your name and address is printed.

    Actually, there are pros and cons of both these methods of payment towards processing fees.

    Using Money Order to pay processing fees:

    Advantage: USCIS will post the payment/processing fees right away without any waiting. That means, a quick acceptance and initial processing on the application.

    Disadvantage: It's time and money consuming to track down whether it is cashed out or not. Money Orders from American Express, MoneyGram and other private entities are easily traceable but Postal Money Orders are hard to track down right away. Plus, one would need the actual copy of paid money order in order to contact USCIS if they ever have any question on their application in the absence of any receipt from USCIS. It takes up to 60 days and few more bucks to have actual physical proof of cashing it out. That means, one will not have any proof of paying the processing fees to USCIS in the meantime if the application gets lost/misplaced with USCIS, which could be the possibility. However, if USCIS sends you a receipt then one doesn't need to worry about tracking it down.

    Using Personal Check to pay processing fees:

    Advantage: It's easily traceable, One can check with their bank if it's cashed out or not. Plus, the cancelled check would be the proof right in hand to prove that processing fees was paid to USCIS if application is ever happened to be lost/misplaced.

    Disadvantage: USCIS waits for it to be cleared for few days. That means, a little delay in processing.

    [5] Divorce/Annulment Decree: If you were previously married, then you must need to send the divorce/annulment decree to INS to prove that your previously marriage has ended legally.

    [6] Certified Court record(s): If you ever been arrested or charged for a crime, then you must need to send certified copy of the disposition of your case to INS. If your criminal case is still going on, then don’t bother to file Naturalization because INS will deny your application anyway.

    [7] Status Information Letter from Selective Service: If you are man, who was required to register with Selective Service, must need to send Status Information Letter’.

    Continues because of the limitation on size of a posting...
  10. JohnnyCash

    JohnnyCash Volunteer Moderator

    The following additional items MUST be submitted if you are applying as a spouse of a U.S. citizen:

    [1] Proof that your spouse has been a U.S. citizen for more than three years, such as birth certificate, naturalization certificate, certificate of citizenship, or U.S. passport.

    [2] Your marriage certificate.

    [3] Proof of termination of ALL prior marriages of both- you and your spouse (if any).

    [4] Evidence of bona fide marriage - bring any documents which would assist in establishing the validity of your marriage such as (but not limited to) joint tax returns, deed, lease agreements or home ownership documents, credit accounts, joint tax returns, proof of joint ownership of other property such as investments, stocks, bonds, automobiles, life insurance, health insurance.

    [5] Birth certificates of your children, if any.

    [6] Applicants should take with them to the interview all the bills/rental agreement (lease), and bank statements which must show their name with their spouse name on them. And they should get these documents for the last 3 years. Lately immigration officers are specifically asking for bank statements and rental lease for the whole 3 years period. So, don't forget to take these documents with you at your interview. Also, adjudication officers in many district offices are specifically the applicants to provide life-insurance policy between the husband-wife. Don't know why life insurance policy has been given too much weight to prove the legitimacy of the marriage but that's how it's going on right now. Many applicants were delayed and issued notice to re-appear for interview again after many months later with this specific document. So, I strongly suggest applicants to have a life insurance policy and take it with them to the interview if they have filed their application based upon 3 yrs rule of being married to the US citizen. Believe me, many applicants have been drilled by immigration officers for not having this documents.

    Also, it's my suggestion to take your US citizen-spouse to the interivew, if security guards allow them in. And when officer calls your name and comes out to get you, try to be affectionate with your US citizen spouse but make sure officer sees it. This will definately help the applicants. The whole purpose of immigration officers to drill applicants under this eligibility is just to make sure applicants are still happily married and living with his/her US citizen spouse. So when officers would notice that your US citizen spouse is there and you guys are still happily in love with each other, it will eliminate the need of drilling you on the legitimacy of the marriage. Tons of applicants have lately reported to have an easy interview when officers noticed their spouses were there with them.

    Furthermore, EACH and EVERY applicant for naturalization should also make sure- [1] that the application form [N-400] is the latest version and not the outdated one, [2] to submit the right amount for the processing fee; [3] that application should have properly signed by him/her, [4] application should be mailed to right address, depending on the jurisdiction. If applicant fails to follow any of these protocols then his/her application would be either returned or denied. Also, make sure not to staple pictures, check or any other document to the application. And, check or money order for processing fee should be placed on the top.

    And applicants should also know that once an application for naturalization is mailed in, s/he should not try to mail additional document or updated/corrected information to INS Service center even if applicant would realize later on that s/he either has made a big mistake on his/her application or has forgotten to include an important document/fact on his/her application, unless USCIS specifically asks for that information/document thru RFE (Request for Evidence). Applicants are allowed to submit/correct/update those important document/information during the time of their interview. Also, always make additional copy of anything that you send to USCIS as USCIS has a tendency of loosing files very often.

    And if an applicant EVER has any kind of run-around with law enforcement agencies, then it is my very strong recommendation to speak to an immigration attorney before filing naturalization application. Otherwise, applicant may end up in being deported. Since immigration laws are very complicated and there is nothing in 'black & white', it is in the best interest of applicant to first talk with an immigration attorney before filing naturalization application. Because, even if a criminal charge against an applicant has been dismissed without any conviction, arrest, fingerprint, detention or anything like that, still it is advisable to have your attorney reviewed all the documents relating to criminal charges if s/he is ever been charged for a crime. Because, under immigration laws, even a "nolo contesto' is considered a ground for deportation. I mean- a person may have avoided a jail time by doing some deferred prosecution thru restitution or community service, but still in some instances even agreeing to a pre-deal like restitution or community service can still be considered a deportable offense as USCIS may have different interpretation on these situations/laws. So, never file naturalization if you have any run-around with laws unless you first speak to a reputable immigration attorney who is specialized in immigration and criminal laws.

    After a few days later of filing the naturalization application, maybe 2-4 weeks later, you will receive NOA [Notice of Action] as its receipt. Don't be surprised if NOA would state that there are still some documents missing on your application. Because, it is a generic computerized NOA, which they ALWAYS send out to everyone if you have checked in something that could be questionable for your citizenship chances, despite of them submitting all the required documents. Also, don't worry either if you don't receive an appointment letter for fingerprinting within a month or so after filing the application, even if you would know someone who might have filed the application after you has already received the fingerprinting appointment. Because, each officers in Service Center operate differently. Some may send out the fingerprinting notice right away within a month of receiving the application, while others might send that out after few months later. Either ways, it takes anyway only 1-2 business days to receive the fingerprints report back from FBI once fingerprinting is done as everything is done thru online between FBI, CIA and USCIS.

    The only time fingerprinting report would take more than normal time if FBI would receive illegible fingerprints on an applicant to read them clearly, or if they have lost/misplaced the fingerprinting data on an applicant, or if applicant's name may have hit their list of "persons of interest". It's my observation that most of the time applicants from certain countries do go thru a higher scrutiny with FBI than applicants from other countries. And then it may take a very long time for FBI to clear them up. However, you can always call USCIS customer service to find out the status of your fingerprint report after a few days later of your fingerprinting. They will be able to tell you right away whether it is cleared or not. But you should wait at least 2-3 weeks after fingerprinting is done before calling USCIS since it takes at least 14 business days for a fingerprint report to show up in the USCIS computer system once FBI sends them back to USCIS.

    And if couple of weeks have passed by and your fingerprinting report still doesn't get cleared then you should be proactive and should do everything in your power for FBI to send their report to USCIS on your fingerprinting. It applies to the applicants for adjustment of status too as fingerprinting report is also required in their cases as well. Contacting congresspersons on this won't help even a little bit, trust me.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2008
  11. ocworker

    ocworker Registered Users (C)


    I wonder if you would post the similar information for the people who apply the I-129 or I-130?

    thanks in advance
  12. JohnnyCash

    JohnnyCash Volunteer Moderator


    I can post EVERYTHING about I-129 and I-130 as similiar to what I've explained about Naturalization, but it is well explained in other sites, which I'm providing links of them below. If you have any specific question then I might be able to answer on that.





    Visajourney site is the BEST for I-129F and I-130 applications. Since none of these sites has ever explained in details about Naturalization, I thought it would be beneficial to others if I could write in details about Naturalization over here. That is why I wrote in details about it. You will find the answer to you every question over those sites about I-129 and I-130. If there is something you would need to know specifically, you may ask me here.

    Good Luck.
  13. ocworker

    ocworker Registered Users (C)


    thank you very much and i will visit those sites.
  14. applyforcitizen

    applyforcitizen Registered Users (C)

    JohnnyCash, I have a question for you.

    Document checklist (Form M-477) says " if you did not register with the Selective Service and you 1) are male 2)are 26 years old or older and 3)lived in US in a status other than a lawful nonimmigrant between the age of 18 and 26, send "Status Information Letter from Selective Service"

    My understanding is that SIL letter is NOT required in the N-400 package if you don't meet above 3 criteria.

    One may bring SIL for the interview just in case.

    Is my understanding correct?

  15. Anahit

    Anahit Registered Users (C)

    Ocworker already asked to put this thread in the sticky "Begin your search here - Index Page". This definitely will be a big help for those who have questions about preparation of documents.
    Thanks again for all the info you provided here.
  16. kash_k5

    kash_k5 Registered Users (C)

    #13, #14, #!5

    Ocworker, Johnnycash


    Can you please confirm that since I got my GC at age 29 , I don't need to send the SSA document with my N-400 application..

  17. JohnnyCash

    JohnnyCash Volunteer Moderator

    You CANNOT register once you turn 26 yrs of age, but if you were in the US at ANY STATUS (even illegal) except valid nonimmigrant visa status between the age of 18-26 then you were required to register with Selective Service, which means you would need to get Status Information Letter from Selective Service regardless of when you got your green card.

    The point to understand is-it doesn't matter when you got your green card, the matter is-whether or not you were in the US between the age of 18-26 in ANY STATUS other than valid nonimmigrant status. If so, then you were required to register and would need a letter form Selective Service. Period.
  18. kash_k5

    kash_k5 Registered Users (C)

    Johnnycash ,

    Forgive me for being dense here . I'll be filing my N-400 application next month. I don't have the SSA letter with me yet & was wondering if I can send my N-400 application without the SSA letter.I will defintely have it before the interview.

  19. JohnnyCash

    JohnnyCash Volunteer Moderator

    Yes. You can send your application without a Status Information Letter from Selective Service, but make sure to take it with you at your interview. It is my advise to attach an explanation letter on this issue with your N-400.
  20. careerlady

    careerlady Guest

    Thank You!

    I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Johnnycash for all the time, effort and wealth of information he puts into each and every post. Johnnycash is the most unselfish, helpful person, and one of the guardian angels on this board! Thank you so much for helping all of us.

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