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I participated in the Defence Preparation Day (Journée d’Appel de Préparation à la Défense) in France around 15 years ago.

The N-400 Application for Naturalization form online asks me the following question:

Were you EVER a member of, or did you EVER serve in, help, or otherwise participate in, a military unit?

Should I answer yes or no?

2 Answers 2

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As always with these questions, if you're uncertain what to answer, give the answer that results in tbe greater disclosure of information.

By "these questions," I mean questions designed to elicit information that would make you ineligible for naturalization, where your related history does not make you ineligible for naturalization.

Consider: there are two possible answers, yes or no, and two possible opinions of USCIS as to whether the Defense Preparation Day requires you to answer yes. If you answer as they think you ought to answer, there is obviously no problem. There are two possible scenarios where your answer is the opposite of the answer they would expect from someone in your circumstances:

If you answer no, and they think you should have answered yes, then you expose yourself to a finding of deception and possible removal from the United States.

If you answer yes, and they don't think you needed to answer yes, then you've given them more information than they needed, which they can disregard, and all is well.

The only scenario that exposes you to potential trouble is one in which you answer "no" but USCIS finds it deceptive. There is no scenario in which answering "yes" would lead to undesired consequences. Therefore, you should answer "yes."

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  • If the omission of information was inconsequential, the citizenship would not be revoked. See MASLENJAK v. UNITED STATES
    – littleadv
    Apr 7, 2022 at 23:59
  • Since it is compulsory for all persons of French nationality, they might be surprise if you answered no. Apr 8, 2022 at 6:03
  • @MarkJohnson my guess is that the majority of French citizens would answer no, as expatriates.stackexchange.com/a/24026/164 did, since it's rather far-fetched to count that defence preparation day as "serve in, help, or otherwise participate in, a military unit". Consequently I'm concerned that answering yes to that question might unnecessarily confuse the USCIS and delay the application. Also it's only compulsory for people who are currently between around 15 and 45. eg people over around 45 didn't have to do it, and people below around 15 will get an actual military training. Apr 9, 2022 at 22:51
  • @MarkJohnson *people below around 15 will get a longer training, not necessarily military. Apr 9, 2022 at 22:58
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Reddit user FrenchGuy83 recommended chose no, as attending the Defence Preparation Day isn't really serving in, helping, or participating in a military unit:

I checked 'No' because you didn't actually enroll or join a military unit that day - there's no military training of any sort. I saw it more like attending a job/career fair and learning more about your options should you decide to join the army.

Reddit user rrrhao recommended also recommend to be consistent across forms:

Did you ever filed a I-485? If so, match the answer on the I485.

The I-485 form (mirror) does have some similar questions on military involvement indeed:

enter image description here

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  • While it is important to be consistent, this doesn't answer the question you asked.
    – littleadv
    Apr 7, 2022 at 23:54
  • @littleadv it helps choose if undecided. Apr 8, 2022 at 0:00
  • @littleadv answer updated with someone with some actual first-hand experience. Apr 9, 2022 at 22:53
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    That still doesn't answer your question. Someone on reddit says "no", but why do you think this is in any way authoritative?
    – littleadv
    Apr 10, 2022 at 7:53

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