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Part 10 of the Application for Naturalization: Check yes or no?

There is any number of offenses that would bar a permanent resident from becoming a U.S. citizen. Checking yes to any of the questions in Part 10 of the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form N-400 Application for Naturalization would certainly raise some eyebrows if you didn't have a very good written explanation to accompany your application.

Part 10 is a list of 40 additional questions that seek to get to the core of your moral character and figure out what type of you people you hang out with. The questions include sections addressing your voting record; tax returns; mental health and capacity; your association with groups like the Communist Party, any terrorist organizations, and the Nazi's; your arrest record or criminal charges of any kind; your past alcohol use, sexual and gambling habits; and any prior military service.

A couple things that may be a barrier to you successfully achieving citizenship unless and until you correct them could include not filing taxes, not paying child or spousal support, and not registering for selective service. In each instance you can correct any payments or tax filings that are in arrears and they will be forgiven. Men can and must register for the draft at any time between the ages of 18 and 26.

However, you do not need to be able to prove that you are self sufficient to be a U.S. citizen. Permanent residents receiving public assistance or welfare cannot be excluded from achieving naturalization. In fact, if you are receiving assistance, you may qualify to have the $680 filing fee waived.

Source:, "Applicant receiving public assistance can not be barred from gaining U.S. citizenship," Allan Wernick, March 30, 2012

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