Monday, December 10, 2012
Can you file a N-400 application for Naturalization too early?
file a N-400 application for Naturalization too early?Is it INA § 334 permits a naturalization applicant to file a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, up to 3 months before the date the applicant would first meet the 5-year or 3-year continuous residence requirement. See INA §§ 316(a), 319(a); 8 C.F.R. §334.2(b). While the application can be filed within this 3 month time period, the applicant cannot be naturalized until he or she has met the 5-year or 3-year continuous residence requirement, in addition to meeting the other statutory requirements for naturalization. See INA §§ 316, 319. The National Benefits Center (NBC) conducts preliminary processing of N-400s. When an applicant files a Form N-400 within the 90 day period prior to meeting the continuous residence requirement, the NBC places the application on a “Residence Date Hold.” Only when the continuous residence requirement is met will the NBC place the application in the field office interview scheduling queue. The field office then provides the interview date and time to the NBC and the NBC sends out the appointment notice and transfers the file to the field office. Form N-400 processing times are a function of field office resources and staffing, and therefore, vary from office to office. When preparing an N-400 application, one should consider whether filing the N-400 during the 90-day period prior to meeting the continuous residence requirement is really beneficial Since the naturalization interview will not be scheduled until the applicant has met the 5-year or 3-year continuous residence requirement, waiting to file the N-400 until the applicant has met the requirement may effectively shorten the overall processing time from date of filing to interview.