A significant part of the US naturalization process is filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Form N-400 consists of 21 pages, asking general information about your background. Form N-400 naturalization application can be filed online or by postal mail. Once N-400 form is accepted, USCIS will schedule all other naturalization processes.
Before Filing Form N-400
Be sure that you are filing the correct version of Form N-400. N-400 forms that do not have a barcode at the bottom of each page will not be accepted. You can find and download the correct version on the USCIS website.
Before getting started on filing Form N-400 naturalization application, you should have the following supporting documents and information ready.
- Alien Registration Number (found on your green card)
- Addresses and dates of past residences
- Education and employment history for the past five years
- Criminal history (if applicable)
- Marital history of you and your spouse (if applicable)
- Dates and locations of trips outside the United States in the past five years
- Basic information about your parents (country and date of birth)
Documents Required For N-400
The following documents are required when submitting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization:
- A copy of your green card
- Marriage certificate as proof of your marital status
- Filing fees
- 2 recent passport-size photographs
Tips for Completing Form N-400
Keep the following in mind when filling out Form N-400 naturalization application.
- If you are sending a paper application by mail, be sure you either type or write clearly in black ink.
- Collate all documents in English: Ensure all supporting documents are in order and translated in English, if it is in your native language.
- Double check the N-400 application to make sure the information you have inputted is correct. Crossing or scribbling out information on the form will cause it to be rejected.
- If you need more space to answer questions, include your Alien Registration Number, or A Number, date, application part and item (e.g. Part 2, Item 4), and signature on any additional pieces of paper you submit with your application.
- If a question does not apply to you, answer with “N/A” or “none.”
- Print your A Number in the top right corner of each application page.
- Do not write on the 2D barcode that appears at the bottom of each page.
- Write dates using a month/day/year (MM/DD/YYYY) format.
N-400 Filing Fees
Once you create an online account with USCIS, you may file N-400 online and sign the application electronically. This is option is available only if you are filing from within the U.S. If you’re applying from abroad, you are required to use the paper form of the N-400 and mail it to USCIS to the address mentioned therein.
The filing fees for N-400 is $725. This includes the $85 fees for biometrics. These amounts are non-refundable.
How To File The N-400, Application for Naturalization
Part 1: Eligibility
The first criteria to file for U.S. citizenship is having a green card and the duration for it. Maintaining a green card and a minimum number of lived in years in the U.S. is crucial to be approved for U.S. citizenship.
- Having a green card for 5 years minimum,
- Physically lived in the U.S. for at least 3 years after getting a green card
- Being married to a U.S. citizen
- Having done peacetime military service
In the first section, you must indicate how you are eligible for naturalization and write your A Number (if applicable).
Part 2: About You
This section asks for basic information about you. This includes your current name, the name printed on your green card, any other names you have used since birth, and a preferred name (if you would like to legally change it); your birthdate, country of birth, date you became a permanent resident, and any disabilities that may exempt you from the English language and civics test.
Part 3: Contact Information
Simply provide one or more telephone numbers and an email address (if available) where you can be reached.
Part 4: Residences
In this section, you will list your current address (and mailing address, if different) and all other past residences in the last five years. It’s okay if you don’t have an exact address for all past residences; just describe the location as best you can.
Part 5: Parents
This section asks basic information about your parents. If you have derived US citizenship from one or both of your parents, you are not required to file Form N-400.
Part 6: Criminal Records
Simply check all boxes that describe your ethnicity and physical features. Make sure height is in feet and inches, and that weight is in pounds.
Part 7: School and Work
Here you will list where you have worked and/or gone to school, both full-time and part-time, for the past five years. Write “self-employed” if you worked for yourself and “unemployed” if you weren’t working.
Part 8: Trips Outside the United States
Any travel outside the United States in the past five years must be listed in this section, including departure and return dates, countries visited, and total time outside the U.S. Travel lasting less than 24 hours does not need to be listed.
Part 9: Marital History
Describe your marital status as it is (or will be) on the date you file Form N-400. In addition to your current marriage (if applicable), you will need to provide information about any past marriages or annulments. Also, you will indicate whether your current spouse is a US citizen and information about your current spouse’s prior marriage(s), including names and dates.
Part 10: Children
List any children you may have, including any who are deceased or missing, and their dates of birth, place of birth, and A Number (if applicable).
Part 11: Additional Information
This section (which is more than five pages) consists mostly of yes or no questions about your involvement in elections, special status in your country of origin, whether you owe back taxes, payment of alimony, involvement in organizations considered counter to US interests, crimes committed, and other relevant information.
Part 12: Your Signature
You must sign your Form N-400 in order for it to be considered valid. You may simply sign “X” if you cannot write.
Part 13: Preparer’s Signature
If someone other than you prepared this form, then they must sign it and provide their contact information.
Part 14: Statement of Interpreter Services
If you used an interpreter to complete Form N-400 form, you must indicate which language was used and provide a signature to confirm that you fully understood each question.
You can find more information about N-400 Form, including Form N-400 instructions, by visiting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization on the USCIS website.
N-400 Processing Time
Usually the processing times for the form N-400 is 10 months. However, this can vary depending upon the USCIS field office that is processing your application. Backlogs coupled with the pandemic shut-downs can further delay processing times of your application to get U.S. citizenship. Follow your case status on your online account.