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The background check before your naturalization interview

Becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States is something you may have been working on for a long time. You expect the process to be complicated and thorough, and you may recall the anxiety of waiting for your green card. This is different, however. Your citizenship will make all your effort worthwhile.

There are several parts of the U.S. naturalization process that may make you nervous. For example, if you struggle with the language, you may be anxious about the English requirement. You may be taking every chance to study for the civics portion of the test. You may wonder what questions they will ask at your interview or if you will be able to express yourself well enough. One part of the naturalization process you may not think much about is your biometrics appointment.

Collecting biometrics

The biometrics appointment is the date when the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services collects important data about you in order to conduct your background check. The background check is a critical part of your naturalization process. The USCIS works with the FBI to determine whether you have a criminal history that would prevent you from qualifying for the next step in the naturalization process, which is the interview.

When you go to your biometrics appointment at a location such as a Dallas Application Support Center, an agent will collect these three pieces of data:

  • Your photograph
  • Your signature
  • Your fingerprints

The FBI requires fingerprints of all applicants, with a few exceptions. Even those who are over age 75 and whose fingerprints may be difficult to see are not exempt since new technology makes it possible to capture even faint prints.

Your background check

Your biometrics are put into several of the FBI's databases to confirm your identity. When the research is complete, the FBI will report one of the following conclusions about you:

  • No criminal record
  • Past criminal record
  • Unreadable fingerprints

If no criminal record appears on your background check, you are clear to move to the next step in the naturalization process. If you have a record, you may have more work to do to prove your eligibility.

Seeking legal counsel for this is a wise move. Unreadable fingerprints may mean you will have to contact Texas police to write a clearance letter and to take your sworn statement attesting to your good moral character.

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