Introduction To Form N-400:
One of the most significant provisions of U.S. immigration law is naturalization. This provision allows aspiring Americans to apply for U.S. citizenship and become full-fledged citizens.
Naturally, what goes through the minds of every green card holder is to attain U.S. citizenship. Why not? Since you already made it this far, why not just finish it?
That aside, there is a huge difference between a green card holder and a U.S. citizen. While an LPR may still have one or two scores to settle with USCIS, U.S. citizens are (generally) completely free of USCIS. It is for this reason that most (if not all) eligible green card holders file Form N-400.
This article will cover what you need to know about filing Form N-400, and what comes after.
What Is Form N-400?
Form N-400 is the Application For Naturalization. It is a USCIS form that eligible green card holders use to apply for U.S. citizenship. This form allows lawful permanent residents to go from being “aspiring citizens” to “full-fledged citizens”. If you wish to upgrade your status from a permanent resident to a U.S. citizen, then you must file Form N-400.
Who Qualifies For Form N-400?
This is a complicated question! For some people, the answer is easy. For others, not so much. At a minimum, to qualify for Form N-400, the following general requirements must be met:
- If you are not up to the age of 18 years, you cannot file form N-400.
- In addition to being of age, you must be a green cardholder. You must have been using your green card for 5 years. But if you’re married to a U.S. citizen, and meet some other requirements, you must have had a green card for 3 years.
- You must be physically present in the United States for a certain time period before filing
- You cannot have any long departures (of more than one year) inside that period
- If you have at least one year(or less) of qualifying military service, you can file your naturalization application.
- You must be able to show good moral character during that period
- You cannot have any disqualifying crimes. Some criminal activity will not prevent your naturalization, even if it is within the period. Some activity will. It’s hard to know, so if you have ever had any issue with the police in your life, call us! We can help.
If you do not meet Form N-400 eligibility requirements, then you cannot apply. But there’s more: sometimes you might be able to apply, but it may not be a good idea depending on your history.
Are you unsure whether or not you qualify for this form? You can check with us first at the HMA Law Firm.
Simple Instructions For Form N-400
You must fill the whole form in black ink or typed. It can also be filed online.
Ensure that you provided all the required information and documents. If any information or document is missing, your application may be delayed or even denied.
All supporting documents must be in the English language. If your documents are not in English, then you must provide their translated versions.
Submit only necessary documents, and unless specified, do not submit original documents. You may never get them back!
What Happens After Filing Form N-400?
Filing your application may seem like the end of the process, but it’s actually just the beginning. Here’s everything(in chronological order) that happens after you file form N-400.
You will receive a Notice of Action(Form I-797) within 2 to 3 weeks after filing the N-400. This notice is a confirmation that USCIS received your application.
In case you did not properly file the application, you will also receive a notice that your application has been rejected. It may also include a request for more information(either RFE or RFIE).
Within 3 to 5 weeks upon filing your application, you will receive a notice for a biometrics appointment. At the biometrics screening, USCIS will take your photograph, fingerprints, and signature.
After the biometrics screening, you will receive a notice for your naturalization interview. At the interview, the interviewer will:
- Go over the answers on your application
- Review the results of your background check
- Test your level of English comprehension.
- Give you the civics test for naturalization.
- When the interview is over, a decision will be made on your application. Through Form N-652, you will be notified that your application has either been approved, delayed, or denied.
- If USCIS approves your application at the interview, you will be given an N-445 (Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony).
- The oath ceremony will be administered by an administrative officer or a judge. There, you will take an oath of allegiance, and become a citizen. After the oath, your green card will be relinquished, and you will receive a certificate of naturalization.
Do I Automatically Get A U.S. Passport After Naturalization?
After all these, congratulations! You are now a full-fledged citizen of the United States. (Note: you do not automatically get a US passport. For this, you have to take your brand-new certificate of naturalization, fill out the US passport application along with other required documents, and file it with the US Passport Office.)
Let Us Help You Process Your Application.
Becoming an American citizen ultimately boils down to your Application for Naturalization and everything that happens afterward.
To navigate through it all, you’ll need tailored guidance, borne of a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field. And this is what we offer at the HMA Law Firm.
At the HMA Law Firm, we offer you legal assistance for what is, and what is to come. Our attorneys will guide you, and review your application to ensure it’s good to go. They will also help you prepare for your interview to make sure that you scale through seamlessly.
All you have to do is show up, and leave the whole process to us! Contact us today, and let’s help you naturalize without a hitch!
Frequently Asked Questions
Where To File N-400?
Form N-400 can be filed online, and also on paper.
To file online, you just need to create an account on the USCIS official website.
However, if you wish to apply with your military service, you cannot file Form N-400 online. The same thing applies if you’re getting a fee waiver, or applying from abroad. In all of these cases, you must file a paper copy of the application.
What Is The N-400 Filing Fee?
The current N-400 filing fee is $725. The processing fee is $640, while the remaining $85 is set for your biometrics appointment. [These fees are subject to change with very little warning!]
Note: The form instructions are frequently outdated, and do not contain the actual filing fees. You can, however, find the current fees on the USCIS website.
Can I Leave The Country After Filing N-400?
Yes, you can – but be careful. It depends on how much time you spent outside the US before filing.
Before you applied for naturalization, you were already a green cardholder. Hence, giving you the right to travel in and out of the U.S. as you please – But with moderation.
You can’t travel for as long as you want, so consult our attorneys to work out the kinks of traveling as a green card holder. You may not be keeping track of your travel records, but USCIS is!
Want to travel? Check with us first!