Permanent Residents who have met all the residence requirements needed to apply for U.S. citizenship may be keen to take that next step on their path to naturalisation. However, before you apply for U.S. citizenship from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you should make sure you are not barred from doing so. What are some common bars to obtaining U.S. citizenship?
Before you download Form N-400, Application for Naturalisation, you should take the time to read through all the instruction pages to make sure your application will be accepted, rather than rejected. An immediate bar to naturalisation is your age. If you are under the age of 18 when you apply, your application will be automatically rejected, even if you have been living in the United States for most of your life. Wait until you turn 18 to submit your application.
Failure to Provide Proof of Tax Returns
Permanent Residents have the same obligation to pay taxes as native-born U.S. citizens. If you have not paid taxes, or cannot provide proof that you have paid taxes when you are called for interview, this can hold you back from proceeding any further. On the day of your interview, you will be expected to bring along 5 years of certified tax returns. Permanent Residents who are married to a U.S. citizen need only provide proof of 3 years of tax returns.
Permanent Residents who have engaged in criminal activity since moving to the United States face having their application for naturalisation denied. You will be expected to be law-abiding, thus showing respect for the laws of the United States. If you have engaged in criminal activity, your application is likely to be denied and you also face the possibility of deportation.
Failure to Pay Child Support
If you are an absent parent, and refuse to pay child support, or have been in arrears for some time, you may be wondering what your personal family business has to do with USCIS. But one of the key requirements for naturalisation includes being able to demonstrate good moral character in all your dealings, both personal and professional, and that includes a willingness to provide child support for your children.
Permanent Residents who are seriously considering applying for naturalisation should make sure that they are eligible to apply. Some common bars include applications from underage Permanent Residents, failure to provide proof of tax returns, criminal activity and failure to pay child support. If any of these issues relate to you, sort out your personal affairs so that you stand a chance of having your application accepted, rather than rejected.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Instructions for Form N-400, Application for Naturalisation.