Law Offices Jon E. Jessen - US Immigration Attorney
Immigration FAQs
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US Immigration FAQs

Citizenship & Naturalization

En Español

I have a Green Card and I want to become a Naturalized U.S. Citizen, what do I need to do?

In order to become a naturalized US Citizen you must meet the criteria listed below. You will then need to file a Citizenship Application (Form N-400) with Immigration. It is important to ensure you do meet the criteria before applying as the filing fee is non-refundable. If you need to file Form N-400 again at a later date you will need to pay another filing fee.

Requirements to become a naturalized US Citizen:
  • be at least 18 years old;
  • depending on how you received your green card, a three or five year period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States is required;
  • reside in the State in which you are filing;
  • read, write, and speak English;
  • a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
  • good moral character;
  • willingness to adopt and defend the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

I did not register for Selective Service after I received my Green Card. I now wish to file for U.S Citizenship. Will this create a problem?

All Legal Permanent Residents, who are male and between the ages of 18 - 26 years, are required to register for Selective Service (females are not required to register).

If you failed to register for Selective Service you will be unable to prove ‘good moral character’ for the requisite five previous years prior to the filing of your application for Citizenship which will in all likelihood result in the denial of the application.

As a rule of thumb, if you missed the window to register, an applicant should wait until age 32 years before filing a Citizenship application.

Can I be denied U.S. Citizenship?

Yes. Immigration may deny your Citizenship application for a number of reasons. Some of the most common ones are listed below.

  • Failure to register with the Selective Service after receipt of the green card (applies to males between 18 and 26 years of age). More information is available at the Selective Service System website. You can also obtain proof of Selective Service Registration using their online verification form.
  • Failure to file U.S. tax returns
  • Certain criminal convictions
  • Registering to vote while a lawful permanent resident
  • Falsely claiming to be a U.S. Citizen

If I am denied U.S. Citizenship what can I do?

If your Citizenship application is denied you can appeal the decision by filing Form N-336. The N-336 must be filed (received) by Immigration within thirty days of the date of the denial of the Citizenship application. If Immigration denies your N-336 application you have the right to then appeal the decision to the federal district court.

If I am a green card holder, but I presently live outside the U.S., can I still apply for U.S. Citizenship?

No. You are required to live in the United States prior to filing your Citizenship application. In addition, you must have lived for at least three months within the state in which you are filing your application.


Where can I find samples of the questions asked on the US Citizenship test?

Our Citizenship Education Resource page has links to many useful and informative documents and videos on the USCIS website that can help you study for the naturalization exam.


My U.S. Citizenship application is pending and I have since been arrested by the police. Will this cause a problem?

Immigration will not adjudicate an application while a criminal case is pending. The applicant will be required to produce a court disposition certification at the conclusion of the criminal case. This document explains how the court disposed of the case.

If the arrest results in a criminal conviction (i.e. misdemeanor or felony) the interviewing officer has discretionary powers to decide the issue of ‘good moral character’ and may deny the application. In addition, depending on the conviction, filing for Citizenship can trigger deportation proceedings and possible revocation of your green card.

Review your individual situation with an Immigration Attorney in preparation for the Citizenship interview.



My Citizenship interview went well, but I am months waiting for Immigration to schedule my Swearing-in Ceremony. What can I do?

Immigration adjudicates a U.S. Citizenship application at interview only if the applicant’s security background check has cleared. This is in addition to the applicant meeting all other requirements.

A processing delay can easily occur and despite a good faith effort to get information on the application, months and sometimes years can go by without adjudication.

If you are in this situation, you can sue Immigration for an unacceptable processing. File a Mandamus Complaint. Typically, the applicant will need to show the administrative steps taken in an attempt to resolve the situation. By law, immigration is required to adjudicate the case within 120 days.

Filing a Mandamus is a complex legal argument and really requires the expertise of an Immigration Attorney.




Attorney Jon Jessen and his staff have helped numerous clients with their US Citizenship applications.
An experienced immigration attorney will ensure:
  • you meet all the requirements
  • have the correct paperwork before filing
  • Form N-400 is filled in correctly prior to filing the application with Immigration
In addition, you have the right to have a licensed immigration attorney accompany you to your citizenship interview.


Schedule your consultation today. Call 1-203-348-3262 or schedule online


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