In most cases, it is okay to make innocent mistakes. We don’t need to cry over spilled milk or fret over a batch of bad cookies, right? When it comes to applying for citizenship, however, mistakes can be incredibly costly. Even honest mistakes can lead to citizenship delays or denial, and this can be frustrating for the many legal permanent residents who desire to obtain U.S. citizenship.
A Surge of Applicants
According to a study performed by an independent research organization called the Migration Policy Institute, applications for naturalization have surged over the last couple of decades. Denial rates have followed suit. Reasons for denial could include: an inability to prove five years of permanent residence in the United States, a failed English language or American civics test, or an incorrect application that listed mistaken information.
If you are a legal permanent resident in the United States, have spent the required number of years in the U.S., and meet the eligibility requirements for U.S. citizenship, your first step in applying for citizenship is filling out USCIS Form N-400. Because mistakes on the N-400 may result in denial, keep reading for tips on how to fill the form out correctly.
Tips for Filling Out the N-400
The USCIS offers tips on their website for filling out the N-400 correctly. They remind applicants to:
- Use the most current version of the form
- Fill out the form on a computer if possible
- Write legibly and use black ink if writing with a pen
- Start with a clean form if an error is made
- Complete the entire form
As experienced immigration lawyers, we have another tip to add to the USCIS’s list:
Don’t guess. If any inaccurate information is discovered on your form, it can be considered fraud. Whether it is a parent’s date of birth, a date of past hospitalization, or a prior address, guessing isn’t worth the risk. Make sure everything on the N-400 form is accurate before submitting it to the USCIS.
Lawyers Can Help with Applying for Citizenship
Applying for citizenship can be intimidating, especially when it comes to filling out the application accurately. An immigration attorney can help smooth out the application process. There could always be something you do not understand, or a simple misunderstanding that will send you all the way back to square one. With the current administration, it is important to correctly cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s.
If you have questions about naturalization and want to avoid mistakes on the N-400 application, contact Cynthia R. Lopez for assistance.