Form N-400 – Application for Naturalization for the United States

1. What is Form N-400?

Form N-400 is the Application for Naturalization, which is used by permanent residents of the United States to apply for U.S. citizenship. This form is filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and collects information about the applicant’s eligibility for naturalization, background, and history of residence in the United States. The form requires applicants to provide personal information, details about their immigration status, employment history, and any criminal history. Additionally, Form N-400 requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to read, write, and speak basic English, as well as their knowledge of U.S. civics and history. It is a crucial step in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen and should be completed accurately and honestly to avoid any delays or complications in the naturalization process.

2. Who is eligible to apply for naturalization using Form N-400?

Individuals who are eligible to apply for naturalization using Form N-400 must meet certain requirements set forth by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Generally, the eligibility criteria include but are not limited to the following:

1. Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing the application.
2. Be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) for a specified period, typically five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen).
3. Meet specific continuous residence and physical presence requirements in the U.S.
4. Demonstrate good moral character.
5. Pass a test on U.S. civics and history and demonstrate proficiency in the English language.
6. Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

It is important for applicants to thoroughly review the eligibility criteria and consult with an immigration attorney if needed to ensure they meet all requirements before submitting Form N-400 for naturalization.

3. What documents are required to submit with Form N-400?

When submitting Form N-400 – Application for Naturalization, certain documents are required to support your application for United States citizenship. The specific documents you need to include may vary based on your individual circumstances, but in general, you should include the following:

1. A copy of your permanent resident card (green card), both front, and back.
2. Any additional documentation related to name changes, if applicable.
3. Copies of your current and previous passports, if you have traveled outside the United States.
4. Two identical passport-style photographs of yourself.
5. Any supporting documents related to your marital history, such as marriage certificates, divorce decrees, annulment certificates, or death certificates of former spouses.
6. Documentation of your current marital status if you are married.
7. Proof of any legal name changes that have occurred.

It is essential to carefully review the official USCIS instructions for Form N-400 to ensure you include all necessary documents with your application. Missing or incomplete documentation can delay the processing of your application for naturalization.

4. How much does it cost to file Form N-400?

The current filing fee for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is $725. This fee is comprised of two separate components: the application fee of $640 and a biometrics services fee of $85. Applicants must submit the combined payment of $725 when filing their Form N-400 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is important to note that USCIS periodically reviews and updates its fee structure, so it is essential to check for the most up-to-date information on fees before submitting the application. In certain circumstances, applicants may be eligible for a fee waiver or a reduced fee based on their income or other qualifying factors.

5. What are the residency and physical presence requirements for naturalization?

1. Residency Requirement: In order to be eligible for naturalization in the United States, an applicant must have been a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 5 years, or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen. This means that the applicant must have continuously resided in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for the required period before applying for naturalization.

2. Physical Presence Requirement: Along with the residency requirement, there is also a physical presence requirement for naturalization. The applicant must have been physically present in the United States for at least half of the required residency period. This means that for most applicants, they must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the 5 years prior to applying for naturalization, or 18 months out of the 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen.

3. Continuous Residence: It’s important to note that disruptions in continuous residence or extended trips outside the U.S. could impact an applicant’s eligibility for naturalization. It’s recommended to consult with an immigration attorney if there have been any significant absences from the U.S. during the residency period.

4. Exceptions and Waivers: There are some exceptions and waivers available for certain individuals, such as those serving in the military or spouses of U.S. citizens employed abroad. These exceptions may allow for a shorter residency and physical presence requirement.

5. Meeting the residency and physical presence requirements is crucial for a successful naturalization application. It’s essential for applicants to maintain accurate records of their time in the U.S. and seek legal guidance if there are any concerns about meeting these requirements.

6. How long does the naturalization process take after submitting Form N-400?

The naturalization process timeline can vary depending on various factors, including the caseload at the USCIS office where the application is being processed and the individual circumstances of the applicant. On average, after submitting Form N-400, it can take anywhere from 8 months to 1 year for the entire process to be completed. Here is a general breakdown of the steps and estimated timeframes after submitting the form:

1. Biometrics Appointment: Within 1-2 months after submitting Form N-400, applicants are usually scheduled for a biometrics appointment where their fingerprints, photograph, and signature are taken.

2. Interview and Test: Following the biometrics appointment, applicants are scheduled for an interview with a USCIS officer. This typically occurs 6-10 months after submitting the form. During the interview, the applicant will also take the civics test and English test, if applicable.

3. Oath Ceremony: If the application is approved, the final step is attending the oath ceremony, where the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance and officially becomes a U.S. citizen. This ceremony usually takes place within a few weeks to a couple of months after the interview.

Overall, the naturalization process can take around 8 months to 1 year from submitting Form N-400 to becoming a U.S. citizen, but individual circumstances can cause this timeframe to vary.

7. Can I apply for a fee waiver for Form N-400?

Yes, you can apply for a fee waiver for Form N-400 if you are unable to afford the application fee. In order to qualify for a fee waiver, you must meet certain criteria established by USCIS. These criteria typically include demonstrating that you are receiving a means-tested benefit or showing that your household income is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. To apply for a fee waiver, you will need to submit Form I-912 along with your N-400 application. USCIS will review your request and determine if you qualify for the fee waiver based on the information provided. It’s important to carefully follow the instructions and provide all necessary documentation to support your request for a fee waiver.

8. Are there any exceptions to the English and civics test requirements for naturalization?

Yes, there are exceptions to the English and civics test requirements for naturalization. Some of the exceptions include:

1. Age: Applicants who are 50 years old and have been lawful permanent residents in the United States for at least 20 years are exempt from taking the English test and may take the civics test in their native language.

2. Age and residency: If an applicant is 55 years or older and has been a lawful permanent resident for at least 15 years, they are exempt from the English test and may take the civics test in their native language.

3. Disability: Individuals with qualifying medical conditions that prevent them from meeting the English or civics test requirements may be eligible for an exception. This would require a formal request for an accommodation accompanied by appropriate documentation.

These exceptions aim to accommodate individuals who may face difficulties in meeting the standard English and civics test requirements due to factors such as age, long-term residency, or disabilities. It’s important for applicants to review the specific eligibility criteria for exceptions and consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative for guidance on their unique situation.

9. Can I appeal a decision on my Form N-400 application if it is denied?

Yes, you have the right to appeal a denial of your Form N-400 application for naturalization. If your application is denied, you will receive a written notice explaining the reasons for the denial and whether you have the right to appeal. Here are some important points to note about appealing a denial of your N-400 application:

1. Grounds for Appeal: You can typically appeal a denial based on legal or factual errors made by the USCIS officer who reviewed your application. It is important to carefully review the denial notice to understand the specific reasons for the denial.

2. Form and Timeline: To appeal the denial, you must file Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings, within 30 days of receiving the denial notice. Failure to file within this timeframe may result in losing your right to appeal.

3. Hearing Process: Once you submit Form N-336, a hearing will be scheduled before an immigration officer. During the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present evidence and argument in support of your naturalization application.

4. Outcome: After the hearing, the immigration officer will issue a decision either sustaining the denial or overturning it. If the denial is upheld following the appeal, you may have further recourse through administrative or judicial review processes.

If you are considering appealing a denial of your Form N-400 application, it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney who can provide guidance and assistance throughout the appeals process.

10. Can I apply for a waiver of the naturalization requirements based on a disability?

Yes, individuals with disabilities may be eligible to apply for a waiver of certain naturalization requirements. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides accommodations for applicants with disabilities to ensure equal access to the naturalization process. In order to request a waiver based on a disability, you must submit Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, along with your Form N-400 application for naturalization. The N-648 form must be completed by a licensed medical professional who can attest to your disability and its impact on your ability to fulfill certain naturalization requirements. USCIS will assess your request and determine eligibility for any necessary accommodations or waivers based on the information provided in your N-648 form. It’s important to follow USCIS guidelines and provide accurate documentation to support your request for a disability-based waiver.

11. What are the consequences of providing false information on Form N-400?

Providing false information on Form N-400, which is the Application for Naturalization, can have serious consequences for an applicant. Some of the possible ramifications include:

1. Denial of Naturalization: Any false information provided on the form can lead to the denial of the naturalization application. Immigration authorities thoroughly review the information provided, and inconsistencies or fraud can result in the denial of the application.

2. Revocation of Citizenship: If an applicant is granted naturalization based on false information provided on the Form N-400, their citizenship can be revoked in the future if the fraud is discovered. This can lead to legal complications, loss of privileges, and even removal from the country.

3. Criminal Charges: Knowingly providing false information on a federal form like the Form N-400 can be considered a criminal offense. This can result in legal action, fines, and imprisonment.

4. Permanent Bar from Naturalization: Individuals who provide false information on their naturalization application may face a permanent bar from applying for U.S. citizenship in the future. This can have long-lasting consequences on an individual’s immigration status and legal standing in the country.

Overall, it is crucial for applicants to be truthful and accurate when filling out Form N-400 to avoid these severe consequences.

12. Can I apply for naturalization if I have a criminal record?

1. Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from applying for naturalization, but it can impact your eligibility and the overall outcome of your application. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considers various factors when determining the impact of a criminal record on naturalization eligibility, including the nature and severity of the offense, the number of offenses, how recently the offenses occurred, and whether you have completed any sentences or rehabilitation requirements.

2. It is important to note that certain criminal offenses can make you ineligible for naturalization. These may include crimes involving moral turpitude, aggravated felonies, drug-related offenses, and crimes classified as “crimes of violence. If you have a criminal record, it is recommended to consult with an immigration attorney or a legal expert specializing in naturalization to assess your specific situation and determine the best course of action.

3. Additionally, applicants with a criminal record may be required to provide documentation related to their convictions, such as court records, police certificates, and evidence of rehabilitation efforts. Being honest and transparent about your criminal history during the naturalization process is crucial, as providing false information can lead to serious consequences, including denial of your application and potential immigration consequences.

4. If you have a criminal record and are considering applying for naturalization, it is advisable to seek legal guidance to understand how your specific circumstances could impact your eligibility and to receive assistance in navigating the naturalization process.

13. How do I check the status of my Form N-400 application?

To check the status of your Form N-400 application for naturalization, you can use the USCIS online case status tracker on their official website. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Visit the USCIS website and go to the “Check Your Case Status” page.
2. Enter your 13-digit application receipt number, which can be found on the receipt notice that USCIS sends you after they have received your application.
3. Click on the “Check Status” button to see the current status of your application.
4. You can also sign up for electronic notifications through the USCIS website to receive updates on your case status via email or text message.

Additionally, you can contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to inquire about the status of your application. Make sure to have your receipt number and other relevant information on hand when you reach out to them.

14. Can I submit Form N-400 online?

Yes, you can submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, online using the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS) if you meet the eligibility requirements. Here are some important points to consider when submitting Form N-400 online:

1. Eligibility: You must be eligible for naturalization to submit Form N-400 online. This includes meeting the residence and physical presence requirements, being at least 18 years old, and demonstrating good moral character, among other criteria.

2. USCIS ELIS Account: To submit Form N-400 online, you need to create a USCIS ELIS account on the USCIS website. You can then complete the form electronically, upload supporting documents, and pay the required fees online.

3. Benefits of Online Filing: Filing Form N-400 online can provide certain benefits, such as receiving immediate confirmation of submission, faster processing times in some cases, and the ability to track the status of your application online.

4. Paper Option: If you prefer to submit a paper application, you can still download the form from the USCIS website, complete it manually, and mail it to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox facility.

Remember to carefully review the instructions and requirements for submitting Form N-400 online to ensure a successful application process.

15. What is the oath of allegiance ceremony and when does it take place in the naturalization process?

The oath of allegiance ceremony is a crucial part of the naturalization process for those applying for U.S. citizenship. During this ceremony, applicants swear their allegiance to the United States and renounce allegiance to any other foreign countries. The oath typically takes place at a federal courthouse or another designated location, presided over by a judge or a designated official. Applicants are required to take the oath of allegiance before they can officially become naturalized citizens. This ceremony is a significant step in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen as it signifies the applicant’s commitment to upholding the laws and values of the United States.

1. The oath of allegiance ceremony is the final step in the naturalization process.
2. The ceremony usually takes place within a few months after the naturalization interview, where the applicant must demonstrate their knowledge of English and civics.
3. Applicants are required to bring their green card and other necessary documents to the ceremony.
4. After taking the oath of allegiance, applicants will receive their Certificate of Naturalization, officially recognizing them as U.S. citizens.

16. Can I keep my original documents when submitting Form N-400?

When submitting Form N-400 for naturalization in the United States, you generally should not send your original documents with the application. It is recommended to submit clear and legible photocopies of the required supporting documents, such as your green card, identification documents, and any other relevant paperwork. Keeping your original documents safe is important as they may be needed for future reference or other applications. However, during the naturalization interview, you should bring the original documents for verification purposes. It is crucial to follow the specific instructions provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding document submission to ensure a smooth processing of your N-400 application.

1. Make sure to submit high-quality copies that are easily readable.
2. Keep your original documents in a safe and secure location.
3. Bring original documents to your naturalization interview for verification.

17. Do I need to take any biometrics as part of the naturalization process?

Yes, as part of the naturalization process, you will generally need to take biometrics, which includes fingerprinting and taking your photograph. This is done to conduct background checks and verify your identity. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will schedule an appointment for you to visit a local Application Support Center (ASC) to complete the biometrics process. It is important to attend this appointment as scheduled to avoid delays in your naturalization process. During the appointment, you will have your fingerprints taken electronically. The biometrics information is then used by USCIS to conduct background checks as part of the application review process.

18. Can I apply for a name change as part of my naturalization application using Form N-400?

Yes, you can request a name change as part of your naturalization application using Form N-400. To do so, you need to indicate your desired new name in Part 2, Question 1 of the application form. If you are seeking a name change for reasons such as marriage, divorce, or personal preference, you should provide a clear explanation in your application. Additionally, you may need to submit supporting documentation, such as a marriage certificate or court order approving the name change, along with your N-400 form. It’s essential to ensure that the name change request aligns with the laws and regulations governing name changes in the United States and that you follow the specific instructions provided in the N-400 form and accompanying guidance.

19. What should I do if I need to make changes to my Form N-400 after submitting it?

If you need to make changes to your Form N-400 after submitting it, the process may vary depending on the nature of the changes needed. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Contact USCIS: If you realize you need to make changes shortly after submitting your Form N-400, you can contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to inform them of the necessary modifications.

2. Submit a new Form N-400: If the changes are significant or if you have already submitted the form, you may need to submit a new Form N-400 with the correct information. Make sure to follow all instructions carefully and complete the new form accurately.

3. Explain the changes: Include a cover letter with your new form explaining the reasons for the changes and any discrepancies between the original submission and the updated information.

4. Keep records: Keep copies of all communication with USCIS, including any correspondence related to the changes you have made to your Form N-400.

It is important to address any necessary changes promptly and accurately to avoid delays or complications in the naturalization process.

20. Are there any special considerations for members of the U.S. military applying for naturalization using Form N-400?

Yes, there are several special considerations for members of the U.S. military applying for naturalization using Form N-400:

1. Expedited Processing: Military members and certain veterans may be eligible for expedited processing of their naturalization application.

2. Residence and Physical Presence Requirements: Active-duty service members are exempt from the continuous residence and physical presence requirements that civilian applicants must meet. They can apply for naturalization after one year of service.

3. Overseas Naturalization: Military members serving overseas may be able to naturalize at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) overseas office or through their military naturalization office.

4. Language and Civics Requirements: Although active-duty service members are exempt from the language and civics requirements, they must still meet other eligibility criteria such as good moral character.

5. Spouses and Children: Certain military spouses and children may also be eligible for expedited naturalization or qualify for special provisions under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Overall, the U.S. government recognizes the sacrifices and contributions of military members and their families, and provides special considerations to facilitate their path to U.S. citizenship.