When applying for citizenship via the naturalization route, there are many key documents an applicant needs to have at-the-ready in case USCIS asks for more evidence at any point in the application process. For example, some of the main documents that most know they need to have are their green cards as well as other forms of photo ID. Applicants are also usually aware that they need to have some proof of their residency over the past 3 to 5 years, as well as their income tax returns if they have been working.
However, there are other, more subtle documents that applicants should have at the ready which may affect application status and total pending time. These documents include:
1. Divorce decrees and annulment certificates.
Divorce papers make it a legal case that one has been separated from their former spouse. Similarly, an annulment is a legal procedure within secular and religious legal systems for declaring a marriage null and void. Paperwork for both cases should be available if questioned by immigration officials.
2. Proof of a Spouses Birth Certificate.
This is critical for an individual who is married to a U.S. citizen and is looking to become a naturalized citizen after the three year mark. Because the three year waiting period is only for married couples where one partner is a U.S. citizen, it needs to be verified of their place of birth and legitimate citizenship.
3. A joint bank account or credit card.
Also very important for couples and may be called upon during the N-400 process.
4. Any arrest record or court document or statement that invalidates an applicants arrest.
5. Auto registration and insurance.
Buying a car and having valid auto insurance in the United States can validate your permanent residence status as your home address will be listed on your insurance card. This is standard procedure for most insurance agencies.
6. Updated Vaccination history.
Making sure you are up to date on vaccinations needed for naturalization is key throughout the N-400 process.
Overall, making a checklist of documents you think you might never use can turn out to be extremely useful as the USCIS does a thorough background check on applicants who are applying to be U.S. citizens. In general information that lists your home address can useful for proving continuous residency, while other information such as a clean record and receipts evidencing any charities you have donated to will help with the good moral character clause of immigration.