Taking Ink Fingerprints
When overseas, go to the nearest U.S. embassy or 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 USCIS will accept. 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, and you will not be naturalized on the day of the interview. 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 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. Most other name changes require 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 over this section of the USCIS Citizenship and Naturalization policy manual – Background and Security Checks 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 statistics and civil documents are available from various nations as well as information about how to obtain a new document if needed.
Be aware that USCIS also has regulations about translations of civil documents. The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations on Aliens and Nationality has the following paragraph:
(3) Translations. Any document containing foreign language submitted to USCIS 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.
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 FLO’s experience, the certification of the translator’s credentials is usually notarized.
Copies – You should submit legible photocopies of documents requested, unless the instructions specifically state that you must submit an original document. USCIS may request an original document at the time of filing or at any time during processing of an application, petition, or request. If USCIS requests an original document from you, it will be returned to you after USCIS determines it no longer needs your original.
Translations – If you submit a document with information in a foreign language, you must also submit a full English translation. The translator must sign a certification that the English language translation is complete and accurate, and that he or she is competent to translate from the foreign language into English.