The United States is one country where everyone wants to go and settle for life. It is one of the reasons why 26% of the US population comprises immigrants, as per data for 2021. The population includes immigrants and their children.
Even more, 56,800 Indians, 48,200 Philippines residents, 47,600 Cuban residents, and 27,800 Dominican Republic residents were given American citizenship.
If you are also someone who wants to become a permanent resident or citizen of the US, you will need to undergo the naturalization process. A lot of people do not know the difference between residence and citizenship.
Many others are not aware of the naturalization process. How to apply for the naturalization process is one of the common questions asked by people who desire to get citizenship in the US.
Here is a complete article on the document checklist to file your N-400 for the naturalization process in the US.
It is a complete checklist to help you know if you are eligible to apply for N-400 and what documents you will need to present.
So let’s get into it.
What Is an N-400 Application?
Naturalization is the process through which immigrants or people looking to become permanent citizens of the US can file for citizenship.
USCIS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, is responsible for assessing and granting citizenship via the Naturalization process. The authorities assess whether the applicants meet eligibility requirements.
To initiate the process, the applicants will need to file the specific form as prescribed by the USCIS. Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is the form you will need to file for the Naturalization process. Therefore, N-400 is very important when it comes to the process of naturalization in the US.
USCIS issues N-400 to foreign nationals and immigrants to become naturalized citizens of the United States. You must be foreign-born to be eligible for the Naturalization process in the US.
If your legal parents or biological parents are US citizens by birth, you will already have US citizenship. Therefore, knowing if you are eligible to apply for the naturalization process in the United States is important.
Who Can Apply For Naturalization In The US Via N-400?
Let’s first talk about the eligibility requirements to file N-400 so that we know who can apply for naturalization in the US.
Generally, individuals above 18 holding a green card for five years or three years can apply for naturalization.
The more detailed eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Be at the age of maturity that is 18 years or above at the time of filing the N-400
- You must have been a US permanent resident for the last five years and be a resident for the last three years in case you married a US citizen.
- You must have been residing for a minimum of three months in the same district or state before applying for naturalization where you claim to be a resident.
- You must have physically spent at least 2.5 years in the US and 1.5 years in case you married a US citizen.
- Good moral character, understanding of principles and ideals of the US constitution, and understanding of US history and civics
- Speak, write, read, and understand basic English
- You have taken an Oath of Allegiance to the US
The points mentioned above explain the general eligibility requirements for processing the naturalization application.
However, the members of the Armed Forces have certain exceptions, and they can apply for naturalization after meeting the following requirements:
- Permanent resident with an unexpired green card of the US for the last five years
- Have served the armed forces for less than one year during peacetime
- Have been physically present in the US for 2.5 years.
- Currently in active duty or at least six months after your service has ended after serving the forces for 1 year or more
Who Is Not Eligible For Filing N-400?
After the previous section, things are already very clear about who is eligible to undergo the naturalization process. the question here is who is not eligible to file N-400.
So here is the answer for people who may not be eligible to file Form N-400:
- If the immigrant or foreign individual does not fulfill the eligibility criteria to become a permanent citizen of the US, he can not apply for naturalization
- If a person got US citizenship from at least one parent who is a US citizen, he is already a US citizen and cannot become a naturalized citizen of the count
- The person is a child of a US citizen but living abroad; he will be a citizen of the US and does not want to become a naturalized citizen.
What Documents Are Required For N-400 Application?
The first thing you will need when filing an N-400 application is a permanent resident card, formally known as Green Card. You must have an unexpired green card and a photocopy of the green card along with the N-400 application.
However, if you have lost your green card, you will need to submit a copy of your green card along with Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.
It will take 1 to 3 weeks to receive the receipt notification from the USCIS confirming that you have successfully filed.
As already mentioned, the naturalization process completes in several months. You will need a valid green card for several reasons like verifying your working rights in the US, re-entry in the US, qualifying for a home loan, etc.
You are required to pay the government fees for filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. The filing fee for naturalization is $640, and an additional fee of $85 for biometrics service.
So you will need to pay $725 addressing the ‘US Department of Homeland Security via cashier’s check, money order, or personal check. If you choose to pay the amount via credit card, you will need to file Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transaction.
The applicants who are applying against qualifying military service don’t have to pay the filing fee for naturalization. Besides, applicants above the age of 75 are exempt from the biometrics service fee.
Legal Name Change Documents
An applicant must submit evidence of the legal name change if he/she has changed her name. Check your green card and ensure that your current legal name is the same as printed on the green card.
You must submit the evidence documentation if it is different from your current legal name. It can be your marriage certificate, a court-issued document that legally changed your name, or a divorce decree.
Marriage Status Documents
The supporting evidence for the naturalization application requires the document stating the applicant’s marital status. You will need to attach a copy of your current marital status document.
It can be your marriage certificate, divorce, annulment decree, or death certificate of the former spouse.
Selective Service Registration
Men living in the United States must have Selective Service Registration at any time between the 18th and 26th of birthdays.
You have to register with Selective Service within 30 days of your 18th birthday. The law doesn’t apply to women and foreign nationals in the United States with nonimmigrant visas.
However, certain categories of nonimmigrants must have Selective Service Registration.
The applicants filing for naturalization can get proof of their Selective Service Registration from online verification.
It requires your last name, date of birth, and Social Security Number. You will get instant access to a verification letter that can be printed or saved for later use.
There is certainly additional supporting evidence that an applicant might need to furnish along with Form N-400. It includes the following documents:
- Photos – 2-inch-by-2-inch passport-style photos when the applicant is residing out of the US
- Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service when applying for citizenship based on your military service
- Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions when applying based on a medical condition
We have discussed all the necessary details you should know before you file N-400 to become a permanent citizen of the United States.
The article includes all information regarding the required documents when filing your application. We hope this guide will be helpful when you are initiating your application for naturalization with the USCIS.