U.S. Naturalization Requirements

What is the purpose of USCIS Form N-400, Application for U.S. Naturalization?

USCIS Form N-400 is used to apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization.

What are the criteria for U.S. Naturalization?

In order to qualify for naturalization through filing Form N-400, application for naturalization, an applicant must:

  1. Be at least 18 years old.
  2. Be a lawful permanent resident of the United States (Green Card Holder).
  3. Meet the continuous residence and physical presence requirements.
  4. Meet the good moral character requirement.
  5. Be attached to the principle of the constitution and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States.
  6. Be willing to bear arms, perform noncombatant service or work of national importance.
  7. Not otherwise be barred from becoming a U.S. Citizen.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of the English language, U.S. history and U.S. government.

Who can file Form N-400, Application for U.S. Naturalization?

In order to qualify for filing Form N-400, application for naturalization you must demonstrate that you fit into one (1) of the following categories:

  1. You are at least eighteen (18) years old and have been a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) at least five (5) years; OR
  2. You are at least eighteen (18) years old and have been a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) are least three (3) years; AND
    1. You have been married to and living with the same U.S. citizen for the last three (3) years; AND
    2. Your spouse has been a U.S. citizen for the last three (3) years.
  3. A person who has served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces; AND
    1. If you are at least 18 years old, a lawful permanent resident with at least one year of U.S. Armed Forces service, and you are filing your application for naturalization while still in the service or within six months after the termination of such service; OR
    2. You services honorably as a member of the Selected Reserve or in active-duty status during a designated period of hostilities. You then may apply for naturalization without having been physically present in the United States for any specified period.
  4. A member of one of several other groups eligible to apply for naturalization and at least 18 years old.

What if the filing fee for Form N-400?

The filing fee for Form N-400 is $595. There is also a biometrics fee of $85, applicants over 75 years of age or older are exempt from the biometrics fee. Also, certain applicants filing under certain military provisions are not required to pay a filing fee.

When should I file Form N-400?

Form N-400 can be filed up to 90 days prior to your eligibility date. We suggest filing Form N-400 as soon as you become eligible to apply. Your eligibility to file Form N-400 depends on how you became a U.S. permanent resident. In most cases you can file Form N-400 after being a U.S. lawful permanent resident after 5 years, if you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen, you can file after 3 years as a U.S. permanent resident.

How long does it take for Form N-400 to process?

Processing of Form N-400 can vary from location to location and depends on how busy USCIS is processing applications. In general, you should expect to wait from 2-3 months from the time you file Form N-400 until your swearing in as a U.S. Citizen.

How do I know if I meet the continuous residence requirement?

In general, the continuous residence requirement is met through 5 years of continuous residence in the United States as a lawful permanent resident, or, 3 years if you became a lawful permanent resident by marriage to a U.S. citizen.

How do I know if I meet the physical presence requirements?

You must be able to demonstrate that you have resided in the State where Form N-400, Application for Naturalization is being filed for at least 3 months, and during the 3 or 5 year period preceding your application, you spent at least half of the time in the U.S without any continuous absences of greater than 6 months (some exceptions apply).

What is the good moral character requirement?

For the purposes of the naturalization process, good moral character means that for the 5 years prior to your filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, you must be free of any offense that would cast doubt on your good moral character. If you have questions about your good moral character it is best to work with an experienced immigration attorney.

Are their exceptions to the knowledge of the English language, U.S. history and U.S. government requirements?

YES. There are a few exceptions available:

  1. You can receive an exception for the English language requirement if:
    1. You are over 50 and have lived in the United States for 20 as a lawful permanent resident; or
    2. You are over 55 and have lived in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least 15 years.
  2. Medical Disability – An exemption is also available for those that are physically disabled, developmentally disabled or have a mental impairment.

Can I receive assistance with Form N-400?

Yes. We routinely help U.S. permanent residents complete and file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Contact us today so that we can assist you to become a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process. 

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