By Shah Peerally

The Naturalization or US Citizenship application is the culmination and the ultimate goal of most immigrants coming to the United States. It is in itself an easy application. It is in fact, only one form the N-400 application. However, while the application is easy the process might be daunting for many people depending how the permanent residence was obtained and many other factors. This article does not cover the timing when you are eligible for the application. It covers some of the issues that might arise during and prior to the Citizenship interview. As such we recommend you consider the following few tips.

  1. The Truth Shall set you Free: First and foremost, never lie on the application. Just like in any application, you shall tell the truth because if you lie, it might really cost you. If you have any doubts on things, we recommend you consult an experienced attorney. Our law firm can do a consultation for you by calling 510. 742 5887.
  2. Criminal Background: If you have been convicted of any crimes, we recommend that you hire a lawyer to represent you in the case. As you know certain crimes might not only result a denial but might trigger a removal also known as deportation. A good lawyer familiar with such cases might be able to assess the situation before filing the case.
  3. Moral Character for the past five years: One of the requirements to obtain your citizenship is to show that you presented good moral character during the past five years. While you might not have been convicted of any serious crime, violation of certain laws or behaviors might show that you have not demonstrated good moral character. Again this is contained and dealt with on a case by case basis and an experienced immigration attorney might be able to help.
  4. Amount of days spent abroad: Depending how you obtained your permanent residence (greencard), you need show that you have actually physically spent either 18 months (usually when you are married to a USC) or 30months during the past five years in the country. You also have to prove that you have not broken the continuity to obtain your citizenship (see article). However, there are exceptions to such rule and a good seasoned immigration attorney might be able to help you. For example, we had a client who spent 11 months continuously abroad and yet we were able to obtain her citizenship. Such cases are difficult but they are not impossible. If you are in a similar situation, please contact our office at 510 742 5887.
  5. Past behaviors: If you have unfortunately filed certain fraudulent documents or have made use of some of the scrupulous “immigration consultants” to prepare your applications, we definitely recommend having an attorney present and preparing your case. Lately we have seen many cases where USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), have been digging in the past of the applicants to find that not only they are not eligible for citizenship but also trying to find ways to place applicants into removal proceedings (aka deportation).
  6. Obtaining your Permanent Residence through Employment: There are many ways to obtain your permanent residence and in the Silicon Valley California, a vast number of people obtained their greencards through employment. Few of the issues we are seeing now when they reach the citizenship application level: 1) The USCIS questioning the authenticity of the position and 2) how long they worked for the company after obtaining the greencard. While there is no specific rules on ‘how long’ you are supposed to work for the petitioning company, a short period or no work might be construed as fraud. Therefore, make sure that you speak to an attorney very well versed in employment based immigration before applying. Our law firm has handled hundreds of employment based immigration cases and if you call us at 510 742 5887, we shall be glad to help.
  7. Obtaining your Permanent Residence through Marriage: Although your permanent residence was approved through a bona fide marriage. If your marriage terminated through a divorce, be ready to explain and prove the bona fide (good faith) of the marriage again. It is also recommended to have documents to prove the bona fide of your marriage if you are filing based on a marriage to a US citizen, that is, on a 3 years period. We highly recommend to have the assistance of a good lawyer to help.


This article should in no way be construed as a complete guide on citizenship. The above is provided for educational purposes only, and are only few issues which can arise from the application of your citizenship/naturalization. We hope that it will, at least, assist you in understanding some of the basic problems relating to the matter and give you a quick idea on what to expect.

No attorney-client relationship is created by this article unless a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

Should you have any questions, please visit or call us at 510 742 5887.