United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has created a new Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, which will go into effect on May 5th. At 21 pages, this new form is twice as long as the current one:
Potential applicants should be aware:
Some of the changes make Form N-400 more clear - like the expanded sections requesting information on prior residences, employment, and school attendance for the past five years - while others result in the applicant being required to disclose more of his/her history.
For example, USCIS has added many additional questions involving what the law calls "good moral character," which an applicant must demonstrate to be granted citizenship. The new form asks broadly whether an applicant has ever made a misrepresentation to obtain any public benefit in the U.S. It also asks the extremely broad question whether an applicant has ever given any U.S. government official any information or documentation that was false, fraudulent, or misleading.
Note that these questions, as written, appear to require a "yes" answer even if the applicant did not intend to mislead or to misrepresent information. Issues may arise in the context of tax returns, applications for identification documents like driver's licenses, applications for home mortgages, etc.
One misstep in the citizenship application process may result in automatic denial or increased questioning at the interview stage. Given these and other changes, it is more important than ever for an applicant to consult with an immigration attorney before plunging ahead with a citizenship application.