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In N 400 application when they ask have you ever been to jail or prison. what does it mean?

Chicago, IL |

I was arrested for class A misdemeanor. It was midnight firstly police took me to police station and then police transfered me to a facility where they took my picture and finger prints. And put me in jail, I was told that they have to forward my fingerprints and get clearance to release me. I was released in 2-3 hours. So it was not a time sentence in jail or anything like that, so should I answer yes or no to above question.
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Attorney answers 7


The answer to the question is yes ... give a full explanation and provide a government certified copy of all the records.

PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.


The answer is yes. And you must provide certified documents of what happened. Good luck!

This information is intended as general information only. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship between me and the asker.


That's an easy one. The answer is yes. My colleagues are correct. I would add also that failure to disclose that arrest would be a misrepresentation that would get you in trouble. So: disclose it and suffer no ill consequences, or fail to disclose it, and risk a finding of misrepresentation (since they will find evidence of the arrest after they fingerprint you).

Moreover, I wouldn't try to file that N-400 on my own, if you had a question about such a basic issue. Your citizenship is an insurance policy on the life you've built in the US. Do it right and get a lawyer to help you.

The above is general advice and no substitute for targeted advice given by a competent attorney. No attorney-client relationship is created by the provision of the above advice. The HMA Law Firm 703.964.0245


Hello, I agree with my colleagues that you must answer yes. Luckily I have written a blog post on the topic of naturalization and the types of things that are screened when you apply for it. You can find it here:

Good luck!

Dhenu Savla, Esq.
SwagatUSA, LLC

This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not meant to be relied upon as legal advice.


The question is indeed ambiguous so you should err on the side of caution and disclose everything.

The above is intended only as general information, and does not constitute legal advice. You must speak with an attorney to discuss your individual case.


You should answer yes. You should consult with an immigration attorney before you file your application with USCIS as the charge and disposition may affect your eligibility for US citizenship.


You were detained, so yes, you have been to jail before. Length of time is not the issue here.

This response in no way establishes attorney/client privilege or relationship.