You are currently viewing Mistakes when filling out the N-400 naturalization application

There are common mistakes when filling out the N-400 naturalization application that you should avoid making in order to prevent possible denial of your application.

The process to obtain US citizenship can be complex, especially for those individuals who are not familiar with USCIS. Therefore, it is common for most applicants to make mistakes when completing the application. 

Knowing this, we recommend you obtain the assistance of our New Jersey immigration lawyers

Common mistakes In 2024 When Filling out The N-400 Naturalization Application

Below, we will show some of the most common mistakes when completing the N-400 naturalization application:

mistakes when applying for us citizenship

1# Not Reporting Incorrect Information On The N-400

Making a typographical error can be significant, especially in an application for American citizenship. As if that were not enough, simple inaccuracies can result in the denial of the application.

Knowing this, you should pay attention to aspects related to morality and criminal record. Additionally, an allegation of misrepresentation or fraud will result in denial of the application and inability to apply for citizenship.

2# Not Submitting The Application At The Right Time

You must wait 5 full years from when you got the Green Card before you can apply for naturalization. 

If you are married to a U. S. citizen, you can apply after 3 years. 

The law allows you to submit your application 90 days before this date, but you should not submit your application too soon. If you do, you will waste your time and money in this process.

can an undocumented immigrant get married in the u. s.

If you are thinking of getting married in the U. S. and do not have documents, check our article on getting married in the U. S. while being illegal.

3# Having Back Taxes 

You may put both your Green Card and the chances of naturalization at risk if you:

  • Don’t report nonimmigrant status on tax returns, or
  • Don’t report your income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

All of this could affect your good moral character. As a result, it would lead to the denial of your application by USCIS. 

Additionally, evading taxes of more than $10,000 could be considered a felony for immigration purposes.

4# Not Responding To The Request For Additional Documentation

USCIS may require additional documents to advance the processing of your naturalization application. Therefore, you must respond to this request within the indicated period, otherwise it could lead to the denial of your request. 

5# Interrupting Continuous Residence

One of the key requirements is to maintain continuous residence in the United States for 5 or 3 years prior to citizenship. This means that you maintained permanent residence in the United States for the period required by law.

For many, this can be a challenge, so it may be necessary to provide evidence to show that there was no interruption in continuous residence.

6# Failure To Present Proof Of U. S. Citizenship Of The Spouse

A common mistake among applicants is failing to provide proof of their spouse’s American citizenship. Generally, this is when they are applying for citizenship based on a genuine marriage.

In this case, applicants must prove that they have maintained a genuine marriage since obtaining the Green Card. This evidence may include: 

  • Shared properties.
  • Proof of cohabitation.
  • Joint bank accounts.
  • Shared responsibility for assets and liabilities.

7# Answering “NO” To A Question That Should Have Been Answered “YES”

If you make this mistake, you must send the following to the local USCIS office that processes your application:

  • A cover letter along with a new N-400 form with the correct answers, and 
  • An annex explaining the affirmative answers to relevant questions.

If the mistake is detected close to the scheduled interview, you may bring the addendum and evidence to the interview for the officer’s review.

However, depending on the severity and volume of the corrections, this could delay a decision on your request. 

8# Not Including All Relevant Documents

You must gather all supporting documents for your naturalization application. Likewise, documents that are not in English must be translated by a translator who presents a letter certifying said document.

Some documents you will need are:

  • Birth certificate.
  • Driver’s license.
  • Green card.
  • Marriage certificates.

If you have problems searching for these documents or are not sure which ones to collect, contact our immigration professionals.

9# Not Preparing Adequately For The Interview

Generally, you must take an English and civics test, unless you have an exemption based on:

  • Age, 
  • Residence time, or 
  • Medical disability. 

If you have a medical disability, you must include Form N-648 with your application.

10# Sending The N-400 Application By Mail To The Wrong Location

You must send your Form N-400 to the correct USCIS address if you file on paper. Failure to do so may cause delays in the process and may require resubmission to the appropriate address. 

errors with the n-400 naturalization form

11# Paying The Wrong Rate

There is a filing fee for the N-400 and an additional fee for biometrics. Therefore, USCIS will reject a filing that includes an incorrect fee amount or an incorrect payment. 

12# Submitting Insufficient Or Mistaken Evidence 

USCIS requires specific evidence and supporting documents for an N-400 application, so you must submit the correct evidence. 

If you apply on your own, be sure to follow the instructions on the form carefully. However, it is advisable to consult with our experts on the subject.

13# Completing The N-400 Application Incorrectly Or Incompletely

When completing the N-400 form, it is common to make mistakes in several fields. To avoid this, you should compare the answers with the original documents and provide clear annexes for any fields that need clarification.

Errors or discrepancies may result in delays or additional requirements from USCIS, such as a request for evidence (RFE).

14# Submitting A New N-400 Application Without Locating Previous Mistakes

If your N-400 application is denied, do not immediately resubmit your application without first determining the reasons for the denial. 

If you do not understand these reasons, please contact our immigration firm immediately to review your application.

What Happens If I Make A Mistake On My Citizenship Application?

If you have made a mistake on your citizenship application, USCIS may send you a request for evidence (RFE) requesting more information about the mistake. However, if the mistake is serious enough, USCIS could deny the form and request a new one. 

Either way, if there are errors on a form filed with USCIS, wait for notification that the office received it. Afterwards, call the USCIS  contact center to correct it, noting the reference number provided.

For serious mistakes, send a letter to the USCIS office explaining the problem and requesting a correction or a new form. Likewise, you can always check the status of your case online.

Why Are Applications For U. S. Citizenship Denied?

There are several reasons why your application to obtain American citizenship may be rejected. It is usually due to the following reasons:

form n-400 denied

1# Commiting Fraud Or Lying On The Application

Regardless of whether the mistake was conscious or not, USCIS may deny the application. Therefore, you must ensure that all your applications are answered truthfully. Additionally, they should be as precise as you can.

If you cannot obtain the necessary information, you will have to demonstrate that you have made an effort to find the answer.

2# Having A Criminal Record

Although this does not count as a mistake, it is an influential factor. This is because you have to meet the requirement of having good moral character. 

Additionally, certain crimes will prevent a lawful permanent resident from obtaining American citizenship. Of course, other crimes will only bar naturalization temporarily.

3# Not Passing The English Or Civic Education Tests

If you did not pass the tests on your first attempt, you may be able to return to take the test again. 

However, if you fail a second time, the N-400 form will be denied. Our best advice is to study and prepare well to take the exams.

4# You Did Not Comply With The Residence And Physical Presence Requirements

You must have maintained residency within the United States for a period of time. Therefore, trips abroad may disqualify you from U. S. citizenship.

If you do not comply with the times required by law, you may not qualify for the process.

5# Non-Compliance With Taxes

Certain financial situations may affect the naturalization requirement. Therefore, we recommend that you consult this topic with our attorneys Carolina and Sharon Lieberman

This will be to see if a plan can be established to pay all your taxes and show USCIS that you are handling your tax problem. At Curbelo Law we will always be honest and clear about the real options in each case.

Can I Change My Legal Name While My N-400 Application Is Pending?

You can legally change your name after filing the N-400 application with USCIS. 

If your name changed after you filed, you will need to immediately provide documents to USCIS showing that you legally changed your name. For example, a court order or a divorce decree.

Be sure to mention your name change before bringing the documents to USCIS. You can also legally change your name once you are naturalized. 

For further information, check the USCIS FAQ or consult with our attorneys about the naturalization process.

Final Recommendations For Completing The Naturalization Application

1# Include All Relevant Documents

Don’t forget to include all supporting documents needed for your application. In addition, they must be properly translated into English.

2# Prepare For The Interview

You will take the English and Civics tests unless you qualify for an exemption. If you have a medical disability, you can file Form N-648.

3# Meet Travel And Residency Requirements 

Your physical presence in the United States is an essential requirement for American citizenship. To do this you must:

  • Be residing 30 of the last 60 months in the U. S. or spending 18 of the last 36 months living in the United States married to a U. S. citizen.
  • Have not traveled outside the U. S. for more than 6 months.
  • Have lived in the same state for at least 3 months before applying for citizenship.
K-1 fiancé(e) visa

If you want to get married but still don’t know how, read our blog dedicated to the K-1 fiancé(e) visa and check marriage-based Green Card interview questions for further information on this wide topic. 

How Curbelo Law Can Help You With Mistakes When Filling Out The N-400 Naturalization Application?

It is common for most applicants to make mistakes when filling out the N-400 naturalization application without adequate assistance to do so. Legally, there are several features to ensure that there are no mistakes on your N-400 form.

Our representation includes:

  • Preparation of N-400.
  • A full review of case file for inadmissibilities.
  • Carolina’s attendance to the interview (if in our area) or telephonically.

In this article we only provide general information based on laws, regulations and policies that are subject to change. Please do not take this as legal advice for your particular scenario.

Each case is different and the case examples are not a prediction or guarantee of success or failure in any other case. Sharing or receiving this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

If you are ready, have questions, concerns, or made a mistake in applying for citizenship, contact us to speak with our immigration law experts and evaluate your chances of becoming an American citizen.