Naturalization is a legal action allowing eligible foreign nationals to become lawful and permanent United States citizens. You must meet the Immigration and Nationality Act’s requirements to apply for citizenship through naturalization. Once you prove you meet these conditions, you can begin the process by applying for naturalization. Applicants must also pass a naturalization test.
If you are seeking to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, New Frontier Immigration Law is here to help. Our immigration and naturalization legal team can help you with eligibility qualifications, correctly filing your N-400 application form, and prepare for the naturalization test. You can call us today for a free strategic session.
What Is Form N-400?
Form N-400 Application for Naturalization, starts the process for foreign nationals to become naturalized U.S. citizens. You must apply to the appropriate USCIS office and include the required fee and supporting documents. At the time of this writing, it costs $725 to file, but some exceptions may apply. You can visit this page for more information about filing the N-400 online or by mail.
Once individuals submit their applications correctly and meet all requirements, USCIS should mail the applicant the I-797 Receipt Notice within 30 days of the filing date, indicating the acceptance of the application. The notice will contain a receipt number you can use to track your case’s status online at the USCIS website.
Who Can Apply for Citizenship Through Naturalization?
As noted, to qualify for naturalization, applications must meet specific requirements that vary according to your circumstances. For instance, green card holders must meet different criteria from children and spouses of U.S. citizens.
If you have a green card, you may apply for naturalization four years and nine months after receiving it, as long as you:
- Are 18 years or older when you file your application.
- Considered a person of good moral character and have not been convicted of any crimes.
- Pledge your allegiance to the United States.
- Have had your green card and maintained a constant legal residence in the U.S. for at least five years before applying.
- Have been present within the U.S. for 30 months or longer during your five-year residence before filing.
- Lived for three or more months in your state of residence before filing unless you are a student.
- Have remained in the U.S. continually from the time of your application’s filing until you are granted citizenship.
- Can pass the naturalization test; you must prove you can speak, read, and write in English and have basic knowledge of U.S. history and civics.
- Have filed your state and federal income tax returns each year.
If you have had a green card for at least three years and are married to a U.S. citizen, you can apply for naturalization if you meet the other eligibility requirements. This can be of significant benefit as it usually requires five years as a permanent resident before a green card holder can apply for citizenship.
Also, if you are a U.S. citizen and have a child who was born and is living outside the country, they may qualify for naturalization if they meet all other requirements.
Other Steps and Tips for Applying for Naturalization
The following information may help with the application process when you file Form N-400:
Before You Start Your Application, Gather Supporting Documents and Information You May Need
Gather documents you might need before completing Form N-400. Doing so should make it easier to fill out. These could include items such as your passport, a list of prior addresses, and past and present employment information. If you have traveled outside the U.S., having documents showing the exact dates can help.
Always Be Honest
On Form N-400, above your signature, you must certify “under penalty of perjury,” that the information you provide is “complete, true, and correct.” Moreover, when filling out this application or any other document for USCIS, do not guess at an answer or tell the agency what you think it wants to hear. Instead, you can respond with “unknown” and explain why you cannot answer the question.
Being dishonest, misrepresenting facts, or concealing information on any immigration documents can result in removal from the U.S. If deception is discovered after the approval of your application, you could be denaturalized. You also may face severe penalties, including criminal charges and deportation.
If you are concerned that the information you provide on your application might adversely affect your outcome, or if you have any questions about whether your past will create problems for your citizenship, you can consult with our immigration attorney before filing your application.
Read Form N-400 Instructions Carefully
USCIS provides detailed instructions for filling out Form N-400. Print these instructions, and as you complete each question, cross it off and move on to the next. The instruction sheet will also help you determine what supporting documents to submit.
Ask Someone to Give Your N-400 Application a Second Look
When you complete Form N-400, you can have a family member, friend, or another party review it to ensure every question is answered correctly. You can also work with our immigration attorney, who can review it for mistakes or information you left out. We can also explain any parts of the application process that are unclear.
Errors can delay the naturalization process, which already takes considerable time. If you have someone else look over your application before filing, they may be more likely to find errors that you missed.
Call New Frontier Immigration Law to Discuss Applying for Naturalization
Naturalization is a common way foreign nationals and green card holders become U.S. citizens. However, the immigration process can be complex and challenging. Still, applicants must complete all steps successfully.
At New Frontier Immigration Law, we help people navigate the naturalization process. Our immigration attorneys offer honest legal counsel and solutions for individuals seeking U.S. citizenship. To start the naturalization process, please get in touch with us for a free strategic session as soon as possible.