N-400 | Application for Naturalization
Naturalization is commonly referred to as the way in which a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. When you are naturalized, you agree to accept all of the responsibilities of being a citizen. You agree to support the United States, its Constitution, and its law. In return, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of citizenship. Please see below for more information about the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you eligible to apply for naturalization?
Before you apply for naturalization, you must meet a few requirements. Depending on your situation, there are different requirements that may apply to you. However, generally, an applicant for naturalization must:
- Be 18 years old or older at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Be a lawful permanent resident (have a “green card”).
- Demonstrate that you have maintained continuous permanent residence in the United States for at least 5 years. (note: in some cases for those married to a US citizen, you only have to show 3 years).
- Show that you have been physically present in the United States for 30 months (note: in some cases for those married to a US citizen, you only have to show 18 months).
- Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you claim residence.
Can you speak, read, and write basic English and do you have an understanding of U.S. History and government (civics)?
During your interview, a USCIS Officer will test your ability to read, write, and speak English and your knowledge of civics. Many times the reason applicants fail the naturalization test is they cannot answer the interview questions in English. To find English and/or citizenship classes where you live, contact your local community college or adult education programs. You should be prepared for the English portion of your naturalization interview when you submit your application. Information on the test and study materials are available at uscis.gov/citizenshiptest.
You are exempt from the English language requirement, but are still required to take the civics test if you are:
- Age 50 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States for 20 years (commonly referred to as the “50/20” exception) OR
- Age 55 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 15 years (commonly referred to as the “55/15” exception).
**note: even if you qualify for the above language exceptions, you must still take the civics test. You will be permitted to take the civics test in your native language, however, if you do so, you must bring an interpreter with you to your interview. The interpreter must be fluent in both English and your native language.
- if you are age 65 or older and have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years at the time of filing for naturalization, you will be given special consideration regarding the civics requirement.
You may be eligible for an exception to the English and civics naturalization requirements if you are unable to comply with these requirements because of a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment. To request this exception, you will need to submit Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. This form must be completed by a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor, or licensed clinical psychologist.
Have you ever been married, divorced, widowed, or had your name legally changed?
If yes, bring a copy of your marriage certificate, your divorce or annulment decree, or death certificate of your former spouse. If you changed your name through a court, bring a copy of the court decree that legally changed your name. Also, if your current spouse was married before, bring evidence of the termination of your spouse’s prior marriage(s). Failing to show proof of your current marital status or legal name may delay your case.
Have you ever been arrested, detained, or cited by the police or any other law enforcement officer?
If yes, bring documents that show the court disposition of the case to your interview. These documents show the final outcome of the case and are required for all arrests, detentions, including expunged records and plea bargains. If you were put on probation, bring evidence that you completed your probation. Failing to provide original or certified copies of court disposition documents could delay your case. Please note that un-certified photocopies are not acceptable.
Have you traveled outside the United States since becoming a permanent resident?
If yes, you need to show all foreign travel during the last five years as a permanent resident (including day trips). Even if you have not traveled outside the United States since becoming a permanent resident, you should bring all of your valid and expired passports and any travel documents issued by USCIS to your naturalization interview. If you do not bring our passport(s) and other documents to your interview, your case could be delayed.
Are you a man between the ages of 18 and 26?
If you are a man between the ages of 18 and 26, you must register for the Selective Service and provide proof of your registration to USCIS. If you are 26 or older but under the age of 31, you must provide proof that you registered with the Selective service when you were required to do so. If you were required to register and did not, you must bring to your interview both a written statement explaining why you did not register and a letter from the Selective Service System indicating your status.
Have you reported your income on your income tax forms?
Your tax returns are very important proof that you are eligible for naturalization. On the day of your interview, bring certified tax returns for the last 5 years (3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen).
Did you submit photocopies of your permanent resident card with your Form N-400 Application for Naturalization?
If you are a lawful permanent resident, you must submit photocopies (front and back) of your Form I-551, Permanent Resident card, You will also need to bring your Permanent Resident Card and a state-issued identification such as a driver’s license to your interview with USCIS. If you have lost your Permanent Resident Card, attach a copy of any other entry document or a photocopy of a receipt showing that you have filed Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.