What Happens If I am Not Truthful at My Naturalization Interview?

If you are applying to naturalize, you must be completely truthful throughout the entire process. USCIS will be carefully scrutinizing you from the application itself through the oath ceremony.

Effects of Lying in the Naturalization Procedure

Being untruthful can lead to serious consequences, such as falsely claiming US citizenship or making a false claim to citizenship, both of which are severe violations that can lead to prosecution by an immigration service officer. USCIS officers are trained to detect dishonesty, and any inequality in your answers could raise red flags.

Starting with form N400, you must answer all of the required questions accurately. The naturalization application itself states you are required to swear under penalty of perjury that everything you write down is truthful. If you include any false information on your citizenship application, this is a crime that can result in the denial of your citizenship and likely prosecution.

For instance, lying on marriage certificates, omitting children on your forms, or denying past criminal actions during the USCIS citizenship interview can be seen as a false claim to U.S. citizenship. Such actions can complicate your process significantly, possibly even leading to citizenship revocation.

In addition, during the citizenship interview, you are again specifically placed under oath and your USCIS officer asks you to affirm that you will “swear to tell the truth.” Failing to be truthful with your oral testimony at the interview can also lead to the denial of your citizenship application, the issuance of a Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court for a deportation hearing, plus potential prosecution for perjury.

Remember that USCIS will run a full, detailed background check on your past criminal, address, and employment history. At the interview, they will ask you questions to which they already know the answers. They do this to see if you will lie and therefore will commit perjury by stating information that is not true.

This is why it’s essential to be forthright about all aspects of your background. Misrepresentations, even small ones, can be considered willful misrepresentation. If discovered, this could lead to severe penalties, including being barred from naturalization. Immigration officers are highly skilled in conducting thorough checks, so honesty is always your best policy.

Your USCIS officer, however, is instructed to take into account your mastery of English and your educational background when determining whether your testimony is truthful. It’s possible that some applicants may not understand certain, long, sophisticated, legal words (for example: “espionage” or “bigamy”) and so officers are instructed to rephrase certain terms to describe their meaning. You should not get in trouble for perjury for merely misunderstanding a particular word or phrase.

Additionally, if you ever feel unsure during the interview, it’s important to ask for clarification. This can prevent misunderstandings that might appear as intentional falsehoods. Being proactive in seeking clarity shows your commitment to honesty and can help maintain your good moral standing with the USCIS officer.

In addition, keep in mind that you could do yourself significant harm by trying to cover up an embarrassing issue from your past. If you make a mistake that affects USCIS’s view of your good moral character, quite often you will be fine and able to naturalize as long as the issue is outside of the required statutory period. However, if you try to hide the existence of this past mistake – and you do so under penalty of perjury during your naturalization interview – you can create a new issue that is now within your current statutory period for showing good moral character.

In situations where you’re unsure how to handle past issues legally, consider consulting an immigration lawyer. Legal advice can help you understand how best to present your case without compromising your integrity or eligibility for naturalization.

If you are uncertain about an issue from your past, then you definitely should submit a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA request) to gather your records from USCIS, CBP, or the State Department. These FOIA requests are free and invaluable for confirming your history so you can be entirely clear and confident in all of your responses to USCIS.
This step not only aids in ensuring all information provided is accurate but also demonstrates your diligence and honesty to the USCIS immigration officer, positively influencing their assessment of your application.

Overall, you must go through the entire naturalization application process with a commitment to complete honesty and integrity. Be sure to be completely truthful in your citizenship paperwork, during the interview, and then right before the oath ceremony where you are asked to confirm that you have not committed any crimes and that you are providing your current green card to USCIS.
Approaching the naturalization process with honesty not only avoids legal pitfalls but also underscores your respect for the laws of the United States, reinforcing your qualifications for becoming a citizen.


Request a Consultation

"*" indicates required fields

How Can We Help
I Have Read The Disclaimer*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.