Undocumented Spouses

This week’s FYI Friday contains practice tips for assisting N400 applicants whose spouses are undocumented.


Part 10 on the N400 requires information about applicant’s martial history, and in particular, the immigration status of his or her spouse. We have heard concerns raised by clients who are married to undocumented spouses regarding listing this information. The good news is that so far, USCIS has not shown any inclination to forward information about undocumented spouses to the enforcement branch of the Department of Homeland Security in order to track down spouses living in the United States unlawfully.


Part 10, item 7.C. asks about the immigration status of the applicant’s spouse. The applicant should either check the “Lawful Permanent Residence” box or the “Other” box. If the applicant checks the “Other” box, he or she should write the spouse’s immigration status, or if the spouse is undocumented, the applicant should write “N/A” in this box instead of “Undocumented.” Applicants should write “Unknown,” or leave blank, the box for A number.


In addition, applicants should be careful of alien smuggling issues. If it appears that the applicant’s spouse is in the U.S. without legal immigration documents, USCIS could ask at the naturalization interview about whether or not the applicant helped his or her spouse enter the U.S. illegally. An applicant could be denied naturalization if he or she helped smuggle someone across the border illegally, even if he or she merely helped his or her spouse cross the border illegally by sending money to pay a professional smuggler.

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