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The background check for your naturalization process

No matter how long you have been a permanent resident of the United States, you may still be nervous about the naturalization process ahead of you. After all, you may be a poor judge of your own grasp of the English language, and studying for the civics test can be intimidating. No matter what situation you are in, facing an interview of any kind can be overwhelming, and your citizenship interview is no exception.

However, before you even get to the interview, you have to pass the background investigation. This step in the process confirms for the U.S. government that you are not a threat to its citizens. Before receiving approval for an interview, you must submit three critical pieces of information to the FBI so they can research your history.

What to expect at your appointment

After you apply for naturalization, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will schedule your appointment for biometric services. Failing to show up for this appointment or neglecting to notify the USCIS that you cannot make it will result in the government assuming you have abandoned your quest for citizenship.

When you do arrive at the nearest Kentucky Application Support Center, an FBI agent will do three things:

  • Take your photograph
  • Digitally capture your fingerprints
  • Ask you to sign your name attesting that all the information on your application and supporting documentation is truthful

Your fingerprints are a critical part of your biometrics. FBI agents will use them to research whether you are in any of their databases of known criminals. Your age does not matter. Modern technology allows agents to capture even faint prints worn with age. However, if your prints do not come through even with digital capture technology, agents may waive your fingerprint requirement and instead ask you to submit a sworn statement from Louisville police attesting to your good moral character.

The results of your biometrics

Once agents have completed your background check, they will mark your case as NR for no record or PR for positive record. If you receive an NR, the USCIS will schedule your naturalization interview.

Your biometrics remain on file for 15 months. This is because you never know when something may happen to delay your completion of the naturalization process. However, if you do not complete the process within 15 months, you will have to resubmit your biometrics.

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