What happens to US citizenship application after filing?

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The ‘A-file’ of the applicant should be reviewed by the USCIS officer who is designated to conduct the naturalization interview. The US citizenship application should also be reviewed. The records of the interaction the applicant had with the USCIS, legacy INS, and also other organizations under the US government with which the applicant must have had dealings significant to his or her immigration record are included in the A-file. During the naturalization interview the officer deals with all relevant issues. After filing there is also option to check citizenship status online.

What A-file contains?

Along with the applicant’s US citizenship application the applicant’s A-file may include the following information:

  • As proof documents which illustrate how the applicant became permanent resident;
  • Applicant submitted other applications or forms for immigration benefits;
  • Between USCIS and the applicant whatever communication posts or mails;
  • Important communication letters and forms from officers important to the applicant’s eligibility;
  • From DHS or any other agencies resources such as any criminal records, and investigative reports and enforcement actions and correspondence from other agencies.

Authority on Application

At the time of US citizenship application filing the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the applicant’s residence has the responsibility for its processing and also to deliver judgment in most cases. In case after filing the naturalization application the applicant moves to a different location an officer should review whether the jurisdiction of a case has changed. Whenever appropriate the USCIS office must transfer the application to the appropriate office with jurisdiction. As a battered spouse of a U.S. citizen or as a child an applicant for naturalization for safety purposes may use a different address which does not affect the jurisdiction requirements.

The officer may complete the interview and then forward the applicant’s A-file with the pending application to the office having jurisdiction in cases where an officer gets to know of a change in jurisdiction only during the naturalization interview. Also the applicant should be informed that the application’s jurisdiction has changed by the officer. From the current office with jurisdiction the applicant will receive a new appointment notice.

Background and Security Checks results

On the applicant who has filed the US citizenship application an officer should ensure that all of the appropriate background and security checks has been conducted. As part of the record the results of the background and security checks should be included.

Other record documents

  • To accommodate applicant with disability based exceptions the examination process of naturalization is modified by USCIS. The application is reviewed by the officer for any accommodation request or any oath waiver request or for a exception based on a medical disability from the instructive requirements for naturalization.
  • Also check is made to see if an order to show cause, order to remove or any previous notice to appear exists for an applicant by the officer. For this the applicant’s record and databases related to find out if any removal proceeding currently or previously exists and if any decision to remove applicant from US is present. The applicant’s record would have information if he/she is in removal proceedings, has a Notice to Appear or has been previously issued “Order to Show Cause”. For an applicant who is in between a removal proceeding USCIS will not be able to make a decision on his/her naturalization application.

From a immigration judge if the applicant has already received a final order of removal the officer should deny the naturalization application, but:

  • With proper documentation and approval is the applicant has reentered US though was removed from the United States earlier.
  • Under the special military provisions for naturalization the applicant is filing US citizenship application.
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