Taking Ink Fingerprints
When overseas go to the nearest U.S. Consulate for fingerprinting and send the fingerprint cards to USCIS with the N400 naturalization application. Please visit the FBI website for details about Taking Legible Fingerprints. The accepted U.S. government form is called the FD-258. This is the only form that will be accepted. Refer to the information sheet for details about how to fill out the FD-258. Also, be sure to take two complete sets of prints in case one is unreadable. For details see the Ink Fingerprinting Overseas page.
Changing your Legal Name through Naturalization
If you plan to change your legal name during naturalization, please check the appropriate box (Part 1(D)) on the N-400 application and complete the indicated section. Please be aware that in certain situations only a court can permit a change to your name when you are being naturalized. This means that additional delays may occur in completing your naturalization, you will not be naturalized on the day of the interview, and depending on the workload of the court you may have to wait several more months until the court can schedule you for the oath.
If you changing your last name to your spouse’s last name, you do not need to go through a court process. USCIS can make this change at the time of your naturalization interview. Any other name change requires a court order.
Background Investigation Information
According to current USCIS policy, naturalization candidates cannot be scheduled for an interview until their background check has been completed. Please read this USCIS Fact Sheet: Immigration Security Check – How and Why the Process Works and the FBI’s Name Checks Frequently Asked Questions: How long will it take for my name check to be completed?
Translating Foreign Documents
USCIS often requires that copies of vital statistics records and civil documents from foreign countries be submitted with most applications, including naturalization applications.
If you have a situation where you do not have a vital statistics record or civil document, such as a birth certificate or marriage certificate, from your home country please visit the Department of State reciprocity page. This site has information about what vital statistic and civil documents are available from various nations as well as information about how to obtain a new document if needed. Select the country of your choice, and then click on “Jump to Country Documents” to find detailed information about this issue.
Be aware that USCIS also has regulations about translations of civil documents. Linked is the USCIS page Tips for Submitting Applications. On this page you can find good advice from the experts about how to file your application. Included on this page is the following information about translations:
“Please submit certified translations for all foreign language documents. The translator must certify that s/he is competent to translate and that the translation is accurate.
The certification format should include the certifier’s name, signature, address, and date of certification. A suggested format is:
Certification by Translator
I [typed name], certify that I am fluent (conversant) in the English and ________ languages, and that the above/attached document is an accurate translation of the document attached entitled ______________________________.
Date Typed Name
The excerpt below is from the N-400 application instructions. The instructions do not specifically state that translations must be notarized; however, in my experience, the certification of the translator’s credentials is usually notarized.
Copies. Unless specifically required that an original document be filed with an application or petition, an ordinary legible photocopy may be submitted. Original documents submitted when not required will remain a part of the record, even if the submission was not required.
Translations. Any document containing foreign language submitted to the Service shall be accompanied by a full English language translation which the translator has certified as complete and accurate, and by the translator’s certification that he or she is competent to translate from the foreign language into English.