I have clients that have been permanent residents in the U.S. and now want to apply for their naturalization. I always ask them some two very important questions before they apply. These questions are:
1. How did you become a permanent resident? The reason for this questions is to find out if they obtained their residency through marriage or an employer. If it had been through marriage, is the resident still together with the U.S. citizen and if not, why? Remember during an USCIS naturalization interview, if an immigration officer suspected the marriage was for fraudulent purposes, you could wind up in removal. Also, if residency was obtained through an employer, what evidence do you have to show that you were employed for a reasonable amount of time.
2. Have you been arrested or convicted of a crime since obtaining your permanent residency? With the increased attention to residents with criminal convictions, some of those arrests or convictions could classify you as an aggravated felon, or having committed crimes of moral turpitude also subject to removal from the U.S.
If you have any of these issues related to your residency, please contact an immigration lawyer before attempting to file your N-400 for Naturalization. The USCIS does a complete criminal search through all US law enforcement databases and you cannot hide any criminal history from them.