Permanent residents (also known as Green Card holders) can apply for citizenship through naturalization by using Form N-400, the Application for naturalization.
So, what is Form N-400, and what are the eligibility requirements? How do you complete and file the form? Below, you’ll find the answers to these questions and more.
What is Form N-400?
Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization) is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form. As the name describes, this form serves as an application to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
This form must be completed and filed with USCIS if you wish to become a naturalized citizen. Filing this form is the first step of naturalization, the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Form N-400 Eligibility Requirements
Before completing Form N-400, ensure that you meet the necessary eligibility requirements for naturalization. To be eligible for naturalization, you must:
Be at least 18 years of age at the time of filing the form (with the exception of active duty U.S. Armed Forces service members)
Have been a permanent resident for at least five years (three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen)
Have resided within the state or USCIS district of where you are claiming to be a resident for a minimum of three months before filing
You have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 2.5 years (1.5 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen)
You demonstrate good moral character
You demonstrate that you have an understanding of the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution
You have a basic understanding of U.S. history and civics
You can speak, read, write and understand basic English
You have taken an Oath of Allegiance to the United States
Additionally, members of the Armed Force may apply for naturalization if they have:
Been a Green Card holder for at least five years
Served in the Armed Forces for less than one year during peacetime
Been living in the U.S. for 2.5 years
They may also apply for naturalization while they are currently in active duty or at least six months after your service has ended if you have served in the Armed Forces for at least 1 year.
Who cannot file Form N-400
If any of the following apply to you, you may not file Form N-400:
You have not met the eligibility requirements for naturalization
If you acquired or derived your U.S. citizenship through at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen or you are the child of a U.S. citizen and you live abroad (as you may already be a U.S. citizen, and therefore, cannot become a naturalized citizen)
In addition to completing and filing Form N-400, as part of the naturalization process, you must also complete naturalization testing.
The naturalization test demonstrates to USCIS that you have the ability to communicate in basic English and that you have a basic understanding of U.S. history and civic.
All naturalization applicants must take the naturalization test; however, if any of the following apply to you, you will be exempt from the English language test:
You are at least 50 years of age at the time of filing Form N-400 and you have resided in the U.S. as a permanent resident for at least 20 years
You are at least 55 years of age at the time of filing Form N-400 and you have resided in the U.S. as a permanent resident for at least 15 years
You are at least 65 years of age at the time of filing Form N-400 and you have resided in the U.S. as a permanent resident for at least 20 years
Meeting the above qualifications means you will be exempt from the English language test but will still have to take the civics test in a language of your choosing.
If you meet any of the following medical exceptions, you may be exempt from the English language and/or the civics test:
You have been diagnosed with a physical or developmental disability
You have been diagnosed with a mental impairment that has existed–or is expected to exist–for at least 12 months
Required supporting evidence
In addition to the completed Form N-400, you must also submit the following documents as supporting evidence with your Application for Naturalization:
Two identical recent passport-style photos (only applicants for who live abroad)
A copy of the front and back of your Form I-551 (Permanent Resident Card)
A copy of a document that demonstrates your current legal marital status, such as a marriage certificate, a certificate of divorce, an annulment decree or a death certificate of a former spouse
For members of the Armed Forces and their spouses, Form N-426 (Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service). If you are currently serving, Form N-426 should be certified; if your service has ended, you can provide an uncertified Form N-426.
For members of the Armed Forces, evidence of military service, such as DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) for all of your periods of service.
For active duty service members, a copy of official military orders should be provided
For spouses of military personnel, you must meet additional eligibility requirements, which you can find on the Military page of the USCIS website.
In addition to the documents above, which should be submitted with your Form N-400, you will also need to bring the following documents with you to your naturalization interview:
Your original permanent resident card
A valid state-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or a non-driver I.D.
Valid and/or expired passports
Travel documents that have been issued by USCIS
Proof your current legal marital status, such as your original marriage certificate, divorce decree, annulment decree, death certificate (if your spouse has passed away) and any other records that confirm the history of your marital status and the validity of your current marriage
Evidence that your spouse’s previous marriage has been terminated (if applicable)
Any documents that serve as evidence of a legal name change
Depending on your specific circumstances, you may also need to bring the following additional documents to your Form N-400 interview:
Evidence of your marriage to a U.S. citizen
Evidence that proves joint property ownership and financial interests, such as copies of credit card or bank statements, leases or mortgages, your children’s birth certificate, insurance policies and certified copies of joint income tax forms
Evidence that demonstrates your U.S. citizen spouse is qualified for employment in the U.S. and works abroad
Documents that are related to any children that you have listed in Form N-400, such as birth certificates and final adoption decrees
You can find out more about any additional documents you may need to bring with you to your Form N-400 interview on the N-400 page of the USCIS website.
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What is the filing fee for Form N-400?
You must pay a $640 filing fee when you send in your Form N-400 application. If you are under the age of 75, you must also submit an $85 biometrics services fee when you file Form N-400.
The fees can be paid by check or money order, which should be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (abbreviations such as USDHS or DHS will not be accepted).
Alternatively, you can pay the necessary fees by credit card or debit card by completing Form G-1450 (Authorization for Credit Card). In this case, your payment will be processed through the Department of Treasury Pay Collections Control Panel (CCP), a web-based application that enables U.S. government agencies to process payments by debit cards and credit cards.
If you believe that you are eligible for a fee waiver, you can complete Form I-912 (Request for Fee Waiver), which you can acquire by visiting the USCIS website. Submit this form with your completed Form N-400.
Where to file Form N-400?
To find out where you should file your documents, you can visit the Form N-400 page of the USCIS website. Alternatively, you can call the USCIS National Customer Service Center to find out where to send your form (1-800-375-5283).
How to complete Form N-400
You can obtain a free copy of Form N-400 on the N-400 page of the USCIS website. Here, you can download and print out the form.
If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 and request to have a free copy mailed to you.
Part 1. Information about your eligibility
In this part, you will need to provide information about your eligibility for U.S. citizenship through naturalization. Indicate all that applies to you and provide your Alien Registration Number (A-number).
Part 2. Information About You
Here, you will need to provide your personal information, such as:
Your current legal name
Your full name, exactly as it appears on your permanent resident card (if applicable)
Any other names you have used
Name change information, if you would like to legally change your name
U.S. social security number (SSN, if you have one)
USCIS account number (if you have one
Date of birth
Date you became a lawful permanent resident
Country of birth
Country of citizenship or nationality
You must also indicate whether or not you have any physical or developmental disabilities or mental impairments that would prevent you from taking the naturalization tests. You should also indicate whether or not you are exempt from the English language test.
Part 3. Accommodations for individuals with disabilities and/or impairments
If you require accommodations because of a disability or an impairment, indicate your request in this section. Additionally, indicate your disability and/or impairment.
Part 4. Information to contact you
Here, you must provide your contact information, including:
Daytime phone number
Evening phone number
Work and mobile phone number (if any)
Email address (if any)
Part 5. Information about your residence
In this part, provide information about your physical residence, including:
Your current physical address
Your current mailing address (if different from your physical address)
Part 6. Information about your parents
You will need to indicate whether or not your parents were married before your 18th birthday, as well as information about both your mother and father, including:
If they are U.S. citizens
Countries of birth
Dates of birth
A-numbers (if applicable)
Part 7. Biographic information
In this section, you must provide information that pertains to your biographical information, including:
Part 8. Information about your employment and schools you attended
In this section, you should provide information that pertains to your employment and education history, if applicable, including:
The name of your school or employer
The address of your school or employer
The dates you attended school
The dates of your employment
Part 9. Time outside of the United States
You will need to indicate information that pertains to time you’ve spent abroad since you became a lawful permanent resident, including:
How many days you have spent abroad in the last five years
How many trips abroad you have made in the last five years
Reasons for traveling
Part 10. Information about your marital history
This section requires information about your marital history, including:
Your marital status
Whether you are married to a current member of the U.S. Armed Forces
The number of times you’ve been married
Names of your spouses
Part 11. Information about your children
Here, provide information about your children, including:
Place of birth
Date of birth
Part 12. Information about you
This section includes a list of 50 questions that pertain to you and your eligibility to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization. Select “yes” or “no” for each question.
Part 13. Applicant’s Statement, Certification, and Signature
In this section, you will attest that the information provided is true and accurate. Provide your handwritten signature.
These parts are only required if they are applicable.
Part 18. Oath of Allegiance
Here, you must attest your Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
The takeaway For more resources on how to navigate your new life in the U.S., visit Nova Credit’s resource library where you can learn about everything from renting an apartment to finding the best credit cards for non-citizens.
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