U.S. Citizenship FAQs

U.S. Citizenship FAQs

Does U.S. Citizenship Expire?

No. U.S. citizenship does not expire and does not have to be renewed. However, if an applicant misrepresents himself on the U.S. citizenship application or any previous immigration applications, the government could attempt to denaturalize him.

What Documentation does a Lawful Permanent Need to Apply for U.S. Citizenship?

You need:

  • Two recent passport-style photographs (if you reside overseas);
  • A copy of the front and back of your green card; and
  • A copy of your current marriage certificate, divorce decree, annulment decree or death certificate of your former spouse;

These documents must be submitted at the time you file the N-400 citizenship application. You will bring other documents such as your passport and copies of your tax returns to the naturalization interview.

I Owe Back Taxes; Can I Still Apply for U.S. Citizenship?

Yes. Owing taxes does not automatically bar you from becoming a U.S. citizen. You must demonstrate to the government that you are a person of “good moral character,” which includes filing and paying your taxes on time. You may be able to overcome the delinquency by filing late tax returns and by entering into a payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the state or the local government to which you owe taxes and making the payments on time.

I Owe My Ex Child Support; Will this Prevent Me from Becoming A U.S. Citizen?

It depends. The N-400 naturalization application specifically asks, “have you ever failed to support your dependents….” You must be able to answer this question truthfully. Child support delinquency can be overcome by catching up on the payments and asking your ex to write an affidavit about how you made amends. If you willfully failed or refused to support you dependent child during the 5-year period before you applied for U.S. citizenship, you will have to show extenuating circumstances that contributed to that decision.

I was Arrested But the Case was Dismissed; Can I Still Get U.S. Citizenship?

Generally, a single arrest will not prevent you from getting U.S. citizenship but you may want to wait until 5 years have passed, after the case was dismissed, before applying. Applying earlier may impact the “good moral character” requirement. If you entered into a plea agreement where you had to do community service, pay fines, take random drug tests, attend an anger management class, etc., and the case was dismissed once you completed these requirements, this could be considered a conviction for immigration purposes. Applicants in this position could exercise wisdom by seeking the advice of an experienced immigration attorney before applying for U.S. citizenship.

My U.S. Citizen Spouse Died; Can I Still Apply to Naturalize After 3 years?

Unfortunately no. You must wait 5 years from the date you became a lawful permanent resident. You may apply 90 days early, before the 5-year period comes. Even if your U.S. citizenship application, based on your marriage to your U.S. citizen spouse, was pending and he/she passes away during the process, you cannot go forward. You should withdraw it and reapply when you become eligible.

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