The application process for U.S. Citizenship can often be very complex and rigorous. It typically involves a number of forms and documents that will be used to determine your eligibility for naturalization. It may be helpful to work with an immigration lawyer for assistance in preparing your citizenship documents.
The following is a citizenship document checklist that may help you sort out which documents you will need to prepare. Please note that each citizenship application is unique and may vary depending on the applicant. Some of the documents listed here may not apply to your situation, and other documents may be needed.
When preparing your application, you may wish to present the following documents to a lawyer for review:
- Documents regarding your personal information:
- Your valid Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
- Two color photographs showing a 3/4 frontal view of your face, to be used in your application
- Any documents regarding name changes and explanations of the name changes (for example, if you changed your surname after a divorce, you may need to provide a copy of the divorce decree)
- Form G-325B, “Biographic Information”
- Proof that you maintained U.S. residence during trips abroad lasting 6 months or longer (you may use lease agreements, utility payments, rent receipts, etc.)
- Proof of your spouse’s citizenship during the last 3 years, if you are applying for citizenship based on marriage to a U.S. citizen. This may be supported by the spouse’s:
- Birth certificate
- Naturalization certificate
- “Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen” (Form FS-240)
- Documents related to your current marriage status:
- Your certificate of marriage if you are currently married
- Documents providing proof of termination of any of your marriages or your spouse’s previous marriages (i.e., divorce decrees or death certificates)
- Documents regarding military service:
- “Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service” (Form N-426)
- A “Status Information Letter” must be obtained from Selective Service (if you are a male and between the ages of 18-26, and did not register)
- Various tax-related documents:
- IRS Tax Form 1722, which lists your tax information from the past 3-5 years
- Copies of any tax returns you filed from the past 3-5 years; if you failed to file any income tax returns, you will need copies of any correspondences with the IRS regarding the missed returns
- Any signed agreements with federal, state, or local tax authorities regarding your compliance with repayment arrangements
- Documents regarding child support or spousal support:
- Copies of child support orders or spousal support orders that you must pay
- Evidence that you complied with child and spousal support orders, such as pay stubs or check receipts
- Documents pertaining to criminal records:
- Copies of court dispositions for any instances of arrest or detention by police or immigration authorities; statements confirming whether charges were filed or not
- Any documents or sentencing records for criminal convictions
- Records showing satisfactory completion of any criminal sentences
- Any court orders expunging, setting aside, vacating, or disposing of a conviction or arrest
- Other documents:
- Form N-648, “Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions”, if you are claiming exemption from the testing requirement due to a disability. This must be completed by a licensed physician
- Form G-28, “Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative” (if applicable)
- Any other forms, certificates, or documents that are specifically requested by the naturalization department
As you can see, the citizenship documents checklist is very extensive. It may take several weeks or even months to gather all these documents and to fill out all the different citizenship forms. You should plan accordingly so that you don’t miss any filing deadlines.
If the requirements for citizenship documents are not followed, it could have serious, negative effects on your application. It could result in you being disqualified or denied for citizenship.
For example, if there has any instance of fraud, misrepresentation, or falsification of documents, you can be sure that your application will be denied. Even worse, you may suffer legal consequences, such as criminal charges for immigration fraud or falsification of documents. You may even be denied an appeal or disqualified from applying again in the future. Any errors in citizenship documents, even unintentional ones, will be closely investigated to determine if there has been an attempt to defraud or deceive immigration authorities.
In particular, it is very important that you disclose any information regarding a past criminal history. Even charges that were dismissed or expunged need to be indicated in your forms and documents. While certain crimes are treated very seriously, not all crimes will prevent an applicant from becoming naturalized.
Working with an immigration lawyer can be of great help when preparing documents for your citizenship application. Your lawyer can go over your citizenship documents checklist with you to make sure that all of the requested documents are ready. Also, your attorney can explain the immigration laws to you so that your documents satisfy the various requirements under the law.