Applying for US Citizenship: 9 Obstacles to Approval

Posted over 5 years ago. 13 helpful votes




Identify Your Risk Factors

Any one of these risk factors can significantly delay your Application for Naturalization or ultimately result in denial. Identifying and documenting your eligibility with your original filing will eliminate delays.


Minor Children

If your children have lived abroad or have not lived with you, then you should be prepared to show receipts of your provision of child support for all years that your children did not live with you while they were minors. Supporting your minor children is evidence of your good moral character. Custody orders, child support orders, canceled checks and money transfer receipts will be good evidence of your good moral character. The regularity of these payments can also be important.


Divorce from Petitioner/Sponsor

Divorce from a spouse who sponsored you for permanent residence is a risk factor. Be prepared to show that your marriage was entered into in "good faith". Prove that you lived with your petitioner spouse and that you commingled your finances while you lived together. Pictures, receipts, bills, drivers licenses with a common address can be helpful.


Terminating Employment with Sponsoring Employer

If you gained residence through an employer, be prepared to show that you worked for that employer i.e. W-2's, pay stubs, employment verification letters and taxes.


Income Taxes

Be prepared to show that you filed your taxes on time and do not owe any back taxes. Alternatively, show that you have filed all returns, even if they are late and that you have entered into an installment agreement for taxes owed.


Arrests and/or Convictions

Be prepared to document with certified court records any and all charges that have been brought against you and how those charges were disposed of i.e. acquittal, dismissal, conviction. If you plead guilty or were found guilty then you will also need certified copies of your sentence and/or probation. ANYONE WITH CRIMINAL CHARGES SHOULD BE REPRESENTED BY AN ATTORNEY AS PART OF THEIR NATURALIZATION APPLICATION. Misdemeanor convictions can result in rendering you deportable.


Selective Service

All men between the ages of 18-26 must register for the Selective Service. Contact the Selective Service to get proof of your registration. If you failed to register on time, USCIS may find a lack of good moral character.


Absences from the United States

In this global economy, many applicants for naturalization spend a lot of time traveling outside the US. Departures are not recorded by USCIS, only your reentry. Collect your itineraries to show that you have been physically present at least 50% of the time while you have been a lawful permanent resident. Any absence of 183 days continuously may restart your clock in terms of naturalization eligibility.


Irregularities with Birth, Marriage and Divorce Documents from Abroad

Review the civil registry documents you used with your application for permanent residence and compare them with the ones you are going to include with your application for naturalization. Humans make errors. Often, these certified copies contain typographical errors. Be sure everything matches. If your new certified copies don't match your old ones find out why. Get them corrected. Get letters explaining where the error occurred. Have this all lined up before applying.

Additional Resources

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