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Hi guys! My name is Marina Shepelsky. I have been a practicing immigration lawyer since 2002. My legal team helps immigrants file for US Citizenship on a daily basis. We see so many snafus and issues that come up in our practice, from mistakes to avoid when filing for Naturalization and the quickest ways to file for paperwork. Here is a summary of the most common mistakes in immigration applications. This advice will help you get your US citizenship as soon as possible.

Applying too early. When should I apply for my US citizenship

You might be in a rush, but most applicants should be wait for Naturalization after 5 years.

Only a narrow category of people can apply sooner:  (green card holders; those who live with a US Citizen spouse for 3 years and are still with them living together; or VAWA-approved green card holders).   

If you apply too early, your application will be denied by USCIS.

Applying for Naturalization in the wrong geographical region

If you recently moved and applied for naturalization with your new address, your application may be rejected.

Mistakes in the Form N-400 and in Translations.

Beware of listing incorrect or contradictory information on your forms than what you have submitted in prior visa applications, green card applications, and other immigration forms by you and your family members.

Your names are also important.  You should list your legal name as the name from your birth certificate, as well as any names you have used in passports and official IDs, in addition to nicknames.

Omitting information. What if I didn’t include information in my form n-400Don’t forgot to include or avoided including information in your Form N-400.

Be careful of adding information that you never before listed in prior visa, green card, or other immigration applications.

Criminal Records (arrests and stops): What happens if I’ve been arrested or stopped?

A big mistake that happens all too often is a failure to list all incidents that were actually criminal arrests or criminal stops in an N-400. Just because you “paid a fine,” or “it was just a traffic stop,” or it was “sealed,” or “it was dismissed,” or it was “so minor that it does not count,” every stop by any government agency (where you were fingerprinted) must be listed.

You must have paperwork to prove the outcome of these situations. Leaving out an arrest is a huge problem and may even lead not just to denial of your N-400 application, but actually to deportation.

Not bringing all your original documents to your interview. What documents do I need for my immigration interview?

Bring all documentation: original birth certificates, marriage certificates, changes of name, divorces, 5 years tax returns.

Be sure to include the English translations of all documents.

Remember to bring an extra set of copies of all these documents with you to give to the USCIS officer to keep for their file.

Tax Returns

I recommend bringing 5 most recent years’ IRS Return Transcripts to your Naturalization interview, and extra copies for your own file.

IRS transcripts can be ordered here:

Not including all your trips. Does immigration know my travel history?

You have to include trips from old and current passports during the 5 years immediately preceding the N-400 application date

These reports should include the date you left the US, the date you returned to US, countries visited, and how many days you spent on each trip.

Interview Mistakes.

Forgetting dates, providing incorrect information.

Take a look at my video, The updates to the 2020 US Citizenship Test.

Prolonged trips from US or too many trips

Uninterrupted continued presence is needed for US citizenship eligibility.

If you have any questions, send us an email: We will try to make a new video to answer them. If you want a personal approach, feel free to call us to schedule a consultation. Solving your problems is our business. I am an immigrant myself and I believe if you are a hardworking tax-paying citizen you deserve a legal status in this country no matter what others say.

 Shepelsky Law Group 
Tel: (718) 769-6352