Form N-400 is used to apply for US citizenship through the naturalization process. Lawful permanent residents (also known as green card holders) of the United States, who meet the eligibility requirements, can file an N-400 form to request citizenship. The process of becoming a U.S. citizen starts with the citizenship application N-400 Form and ends with an Oath Ceremony where you pledge allegiance to the U.S. You can obtain US citizenship by birth, by parentage, or through the legal process.
People born within America, are US citizens. US citizenship will be automatically conferred upon people who are born on US soil. This also applies to the children born to immigrants, on American soil and to the people born in all US territories.
People born abroad to US citizens, can acquire citizenship from their parents, if they are currently under age 18 and if either one of their parents were US citizens at the time of their birth. This applies to the children of US citizens who were born on foreign soil. Such individuals can apply for and get US citizenship certificates, by submitting proof of their parents’ citizenship status.
If you were not born in America and if your parents are not US citizens, you need to go through the legal process called naturalization, to become a US citizen.
US Citizenship Eligibility Requirements
To be able to apply for citizenship through naturalization, you have to meet the following requirements. You should:
- Be 18 years of age or above.
- A lawful permanent resident for 5 years (3 years if married to a US citizen).
- Have maintained continuous residence during the past 5 years (3 years if married to a US citizen).
- Have maintained physical presence during the past 5 years (3 years if married to a US citizen).
- Have good moral character.
- Have basic knowledge of English.
- Have basic knowledge of US government and history.
- Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.
Citizenship Application Process
If you meet the citizenship eligibility requirements, you will then need to file Form N-400, Application for US Citizenship through naturalization with the USCIS. The USCIS will check the N400 application for accuracy and completeness. Once processing begins you will receive an application receipt notice from USCIS. This will be followed by an appointment scheduled by the USCIS for the applicant at your local Application Support Center (ASC). You will have to go to the ASC for biometric services. After completing the fingerprinting process, the FBI will conduct a standard background check.
Next comes the scheduling for the citizenship test and interview. The citizenship test will be conducted by an immigration officer who will evaluate your knowledge of English, American history and government. Once the test and interview are completed, you will be invited for the citizenship oath ceremony where the Oath of Allegiance will be taken. Once you take the oath, you become a full-fledged citizen of the United States.
Citizenship Benefits and Responsibilities
There are several benefits granted to those who become citizens of the United States through the naturalization process. The benefits are the same as those granted to US citizens by birth.
- The Right to Vote: A Fundamental Right of a U.S. Citizen
- A Chance to Reunite Families
- A Way to Protect your Children’s Right to Remain in the U.S.
- Protection in Cases Involving Illegal Activity
- International Travel Made Easier
US Citizenship Test & Interview
You will be called for a personal interview and this may happen in around 6 months from the date of filing your US citizenship application. After you file Form N-400, you must start preparing for your US citizenship interview. You will have to go to the interview location that is specified in the interview appointment letter on the scheduled date. If you believe that you may not be able to make it to the interview, you will have to contact the USCIS and reschedule it. You need to take with you to the interview, the interview appointment letter that you received from the USCIS and other documents. Interview questions will be about your Form N-400 and your background.
You need to take the civics and the English tests and you need to get through these two tests to take the oath of Allegiance. Several resources are available. You can make use of those resources to prepare for the US citizenship test and easily get through both the tests. After you complete the tests, you need to wait for the USCIS to decide on your case.
We have designed DVD to help you to pass the new U.S. Citizenship Test & Interview. The DVD includes:
- Subtitles in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean.
- An interactive guide on U.S. history, civics and government.
- English writing tests.
- An official USCS practice interview.
- Expert tips on how to prepare for your interview questions.
- And much, much, more.
- Study & Prepare for the Citizenship Test!
Take the Oath and Become a US Citizen
If your interview goes well, you will receive a letter from the USCIS with information about the naturalization oath ceremony. You need to make it to the location specified in the letter at the scheduled time. You will be required to turn in your permanent resident card during the naturalization ceremony, as the permanent residents must give up their permanent resident status in order to obtain US citizenship. You must then take the Oath of Allegiance to America. The oath will be read out by an officer and you will have to repeat it. After taking the Oath, you will be granted a naturalization certificate and you can then start living in the United States as a US citizen.
Cost to apply N-400 Form
As of September 2018, the USCIS filing fee for Form N-400 includes the form fee of $640 and a biometric (fingerprinting) fee of $85. Bringing the total N-400 filing fee to $725.
Fees may be reduced for permanent residents who are 75 years of age or older or completely waived for certain members of the military.
Form N-400 – U.S. Citizenship Form
To file Form N-400, you are required to complete the form questions as accurately as possible, provide supporting evidence that can prove the information you provide on the form, and sign the form.
The form includes questions about your eligibility for citizenship, your travel history, your places of employment and any crimes you may have committed. As you complete the form, it’s important to remember that you should be as honest as possible. Lying on an immigration application can not only get your application rejected and make you lose your filing fees but it can also bring you bigger immigration troubles, such as deportation.
U.S. Citizenship Form Processing Time
The processing time for U.S. citizenship applications varies depending on the field office or service center in the U.S. where you are applying. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can take anywhere from 3 months to 26 months to process your application. You’ll need to look into the processing time for Form N-400.
However long it takes, once you become naturalized you will be granted benefits that are exclusive to U.S. citizens. This includes the right to vote, the right to travel freely outside of the country with a U.S. passport and access to government jobs.
U.S. Citizenship Filing Instructions
Since form answers and required supporting evidence may vary depending on an applicant’s situation, the USCIS provides several pages of instructions for filing Form N-400. Incorrect answers or insufficient evidence may lead to delays and even rejection of your application, so it’s important to follow the instructions and carefully answer each question on the form.
Apply To Become US Citizen
You need to remember that you cannot obtain US citizenship just by filing applications. The US government has set certain requirements and you need to meet all those requirements to become a naturalized US citizen. Moreover, US citizenship applications must be prepared carefully and all possible errors must be avoided. Completing the form online could be the best option as you will be assisted throughout the entire process and the online form guide will help you to prevent mistakes. If you hold a Green Card and if you have been living in America as a permanent resident for more than five years (three in case you are married to a US citizen), you can apply for US citizenship through naturalization and become a proud citizen of America.