What Is USCIS Form N400, Application for Naturalization?
Form N-400 is the naturalization application form used to apply for United States citizenship with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS. If you are 18 or older and are a green card or permanent resident holder in good moral standing, you can apply for citizenship through naturalization.
The USCIS is very strict when it comes to submitting your Form N-400. Any form with incomplete answers or missing documents can potentially be denied, which would result in having to start the process over again. It’s essential to have an experienced Phoenix immigration attorney on your side throughout this process to help ensure that you have done everything correctly. The attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group can assist you with your citizenship application to make sure that you have it completed correctly the first time.
What Is the Difference Between N400 and N600?
The main difference between Form N-400 and Form N-600 is whether you’re looking to become a United States citizen or you need to prove your current U.S. citizenship. Individuals that were born outside of the United States to U.S. citizens or adopted by parents with citizenship must file an N-600 instead of an N-400. This form is not required if you were born in the United States and granted citizenship at birth. Even though your passport serves as your proof of citizenship, the N-600 may be necessary if you want to receive benefits like social security, financial aid, employment, passport renewal, and state-issued identification.
Who Can File Form N-400?
You can only file an N-400 if you qualify for United States citizenship by naturalization. Despite a few exceptions, anyone applying for U/S. Citizenship needs to meet the following requirements:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must be a green card holder of at least five years OR three years if married to a U.S. citizen
- You must live in the same U.S. state for at least three months prior to submitting your application
- Must know the basics of U.S history and government
- Must be able to read, write, and speak English
- You must be able to show that you are of good moral character
Anyone in the military or naval service will have slightly different requirements.
Who Is Not Eligible to File Form N-400?
You are not eligible to file Form N-400 if your parents are United States citizens and you live abroad. Instead, you will file the N-600, the certificate of citizenship. Anyone with “acquired” or “derived” citizenship also cannot file an N-400 since their citizenship application is different.
How Early Can Someone File Form N-400?
You are eligible to file your N-400 application 90 days prior to your third or fifth anniversary as a lawful permanent resident. This is considered early filing. The USCIS will not approve any filing that occurs before your anniversary date, but they will accept the application to start the process.
There is a USCIS calculator available that will calculate the earliest day that you are eligible to file. You just need to know your anniversary date. The calculator will subtract 90 days and let you know the earliest that you can file your N-400 form.
Where Do I Submit My N400 Form?
You can file your N-400 online via the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services online portal or mail your form to a USCIS service center or lockbox. If you’re mailing in your N-400, the location that you send it to will vary according to the state where you live. More information about mailing in your form and where to find the address you need to use can be found on the USCIS website.
If you’re abroad and filing, you will need to apply for a fee waiver and send the N-400 through the mail.
Can You File N400 Online?
To file your N-400 online, you must first create a USCIS online portal account. Once you have created your online account, you will need to upload all supporting documents to the website and pay the filing fee.
Once you file, the USCIS will schedule your naturalization interview at your closest field office. In Phoenix, the USCIS field office is located at 1330 South 16th Street. At the naturalization interview, you will be asked questions regarding your application and take English and civics tests.
Once you pass the tests, the final step of the process is taking the oath of allegiance at an official ceremony where you will become a citizen of the United States.
What Documents Must You Submit with Form N400?
Anyone filing for naturalization must provide one or more of the following supporting documents with their N-400 application. You must also include a front and back photocopy of your green card.
- Two identical color passport photos that are 2” x 2” in size
- Proof of your marital status. This can include your marriage certificate or divorce, or death certificate.
- Certified English translations of any necessary documents that are in a foreign language
- Tax documents
- Form N-648: Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions
How Long Does Form N-400 Processing Take?
Currently, the average processing time for the N-400 form is 15 and a half months. The entire naturalization process usually takes 18 to 24 months and includes the following:
- Application processing
- Citizenship interview and exam
- Oath of allegiance ceremony
The processing time for your N-400 can vary depending on the USCIS location that you file with. The processing times are published on the USCIS website weekly. If the USCIS location is experiencing processing delays, the website should reflect that.
You can request expedited processing if you contact the USCIS Contact Center. In order to request expedited processing, you need your receipt number, A-number, and a copy of your application so you can provide your case details.
How Much Does Form N400 Cost?
It costs $725 to file your Form N-400. The processing fee is $640, and $85 is for biometric services. Anyone older than 75 does not need to pay for biometric services, so their total will be $640.
You may pay the filing fee with either a personal check, money order, or cashier’s check. Any payment must be made out to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” If the address is incorrect or abbreviated, the USCIS will not process your payment. The filing fee can also be paid online with a credit card by filling out and signing Form G-1450.
Anyone that cannot afford to pay the filing fee could be eligible to have the fee waived or reduced.
Tips for Filing Form N-400
Follow these tips below while you work on your N-400 application so that you can make sure you have filled out the form correctly. These tips are for those individuals who are filing their N-400 through the mail.
- Only use black ink: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is very particular about the color ink that is used to complete applications. This is why it is recommended to fill out the N-400 online and then print it out for submission.
- Review your N-400 before filing: It’s critical to make sure that you have answered everything correctly and that all supporting documents are included with your N-400 application prior to submitting it to the USCIS. Anything missing or incorrect information could delay your application being processed or even result in your application being denied. Recently the USCIS created a new policy that increases the stakes of not completing your application correctly, which can result in starting the process all over again and paying the filing fee for a second time.
- Provide translations: If any of your supporting documents are in another language other than English, you will need to prove a certified translation of those documents.
- Submit a messy N-400: Do not submit a Form N-400 with any writing in the margins, anything crossed out, or writing that goes beyond the provided space. If anything in your document needs to be corrected prior to submission, it’s recommended to redo the application. Since the USCIS scans in the application, it’s recommended to redo your application instead of using whiteout or other correcting tape or fluid. If the machines used to scan Form N-400 detect any text that has been covered with whiteout, it could lead to processing delays or other errors.
- Submit extra paperwork: The application clearly states what documents are required to be submitted as photocopies instead of originals. If you submit any original documentation that the USCIS did not request or require, you could risk losing them as they might destroy these documents.
- Forget to sign: If your Form N-400 is missing your signature, the USCIS will usually reject it and ask you to submit a new one. Due to updated policies, the USCIS clearly states that any instructions that have not been followed, any mistakes on applications, or any missing documents could lead to your application being denied. If this happens, you will need to reapply and submit another application fee payment.
Form N-400 FAQs
Below are some additional Form N-400 facts that can help you navigate the N-400 filing process.
Is Form N-400 Eligible for Premium Processing?
You can request expedited processing for your Form N-400, but it is not eligible for Premium Processing. Premium Processing is only available for Form I-129, Form I-140, and Form I-765 for an additional filing fee.
What Should I Expect from My Citizenship Interview?
During your citizenship interview, you will be asked to verify the information that you submitted with your application. The interviewer may also ask you questions regarding your background. The citizenship interview usually takes around 20 minutes.
What Is the Form N400 Three-Year Rule?
The three-year rule for Form N-400 is that if you’re married to a United States citizen and living in the U.S. as a permanent resident for at least three years, you might be eligible to file your N-400. If you do not meet the three-year rule requirements, you will have to wait five years to apply for citizenship.
Can You File Form N-400 While Form I-751 Is Pending?
It is possible to file your N-400 while your Form I-751 is pending. If you have filed the Petition to Remove Conditions on Marriage, Form I-751, you should include the notice of receipt the USCIS sent you as confirmation that they were processing your I-751. This receipt is called Form I-797, Notice of Action.
Contact a Phoenix Immigration Lawyer Today
If you’re in the process of submitting your Form N-400, it can be extremely helpful to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. Our attorneys at the Ybarra Maldonado Law Group can help you with your application and ensure that you have all the required documentation required. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (602) 910-4040 or submit an online form.