Generally defined, Form N-400, which is also commonly referred to as the Application for Naturalization, is a form that is filled out by holders of green cards who are ready to apply for full United States citizenship once they have fully met specific eligibility requirements. Essentially, this is the first step in the process of becoming an American citizen.
In terms of filing Form N-400, as previously stated, there are certain requirements that must be met before this can be done. For starters, an individual must be at least 18 years of age and have had a green card for five years; however, if you are married to a United States citizen, that amount of time is reduced to three years. The only exception to this is if you are applying based on any and all qualifying military service. You will be unable to file Form N-400 if the following factors apply:
*You have not met all of the eligibility requirements
*You obtained citizenship through at least one citizen parent or you are a child of a citizen and currently live abroad.
When it comes to costs, the current fee for filing Form N-400 is $725. This includes $640 for processing, as well as $85 for biometric services. It’s important to note that both of these fees are nonrefundable regardless of whether the application submitted is approved or not. However, it’s also worth noting that in some cases, certain applicants will be eligible to have their fees either waived or reduced.
Generally, it can take approximately a little over 10 months for a Form N-400 to be processed; however, this can depend on which specific USCIS field office is handling the application.
There are also those who wonder whether or not they can actually file a Form N-400 online. The simple answer to this question is yes, this type of form is able to be filed online; however, if you are applying for a fee waiver or reduction, or if you are applying from anywhere abroad, then you will need to obtain a paper version of Form N-400 and file by regular mail. In order to apply online, you must first create an online account on the official USCIS website prior to signing your application electronically, which will involve you typing your full name at the end of the application itself.
Where your form is then sent will depend on whether you file online or by regular mail. For instance, if you will be filing by mail, then the address you send your application to will depend solely on the state in which you currently reside, as well as the delivery service that you choose.
There are also various types of supporting documentation that you will need to include with your Form N-400 as well, regardless of whether you file online or by regular mail. These documents include the following:
*A copy of your green card
*Application fee payment either by credit card, check, or money order
There may also be additional types of supporting documentation that you may be asked to include as well depending on your specific circumstances, such as the following:
*Proof of your present marital status
*Two passport-style photos in the event that you are applying from abroad
*Form N-426 if you are applying based on your military service
*Form N-648 if you are applying for an exemption to the citizenship test based on a qualifying medical condition
Here are some additional tips to make note of in order to fully ensure that the application process will be much smoother:
*Use only black ink
*Take the time to completely review your Form N-400 before filing it
*Provide accurate translations where needed
*Never submit any unnecessary documentation
*Don’t write all over the form
*Never forget to sign the form itself