Form N-400 Explained

Form N-400
Explained

What is Form N-400?

Permanent residents apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process using Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

Naturalization is the process by which a person who was not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a citizen of the United States. Naturalization is the most common way for foreign-born people to become citizens of the United States. Every year, nearly a million people naturalize and gain the benefits of U.S. citizenship.

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

The current processing time for Form N-400 is between 6 and 24 months (as of August 2022).

However, the speed of processing is generally determined by the USCIS field office that handles the application, and some applicants can get a head start on the process (see "Filing Early" below). More information on what to expect during each stage of the naturalization process can be found in our detailed guide to the U.S. citizenship timeline.

How much does it cost to file Form N-400?

The N-400 naturalization fee is $725, which includes both the N-400 filing fee and the biometric services fee. The fee can be paid by debit card, credit card, or bank transfer. The USCIS offers a fee waiver to those who cannot afford the N-400 filing fee, exempting them from payment. However, before you can be considered for the exemption, you must first file an I-192 requesting the waiver and proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you truly cannot afford it.

Who can file Form N-400?

You can only file Form N-400 if you are eligible to become an American citizen through naturalization. To be eligible for naturalization, you must have held a green card for at least five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen. Furthermore, you must be at least eighteen years old. The requirements for applying for citizenship based on military service will be slightly different.

Who cannot file Form N-400?

If you are the child of a US citizen and live in another country, you should not use Form N-400. Instead, you'll submit Form N-600 to obtain a certificate of citizenship (also known as a "certificate of naturalization"). People who have "derived" or "acquired" citizenship are also unable to file the N-400; they must submit a separate citizenship application.

Can I file my N-400 online?

There are various advantages to submitting your application online. As you complete your form using our secure online filing system, prevent frequent mistakes, and pay your costs online, get helpful guidance and tips from USCIS. These are just a few of the many advantages of submitting your taxes online. To better serve you, we are constantly extending our online offerings. It can be difficult to do on your own. immigrationservice.com can assist you at a reasonable cost.

Where should I send my N-400 form?

Form N-400 can be submitted online via the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, or by postal mail to a USCIS service center or lockbox. If you are filing from abroad or requesting a fee waiver, you must use the paper form and mail it.

Can I travel outside the U.S. after filing Form N-400?

There are no travel restrictions if you've completed Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. You retain your status as a permanent resident, with the freedom to travel outside and reenter the country with a valid permanent resident card. You are free to travel outside the United States after filing Form N-400, but there are some things to keep in mind.

The application procedure may be hampered if you leave after filing Form N-400. Naturalization appointments and meeting your eligibility standards are two of the most likely options.

Naturalization Appointments

During the naturalization procedure, you are required to attend three important appointments. Travel during this time may cause delays in N-400 processing. Within a few weeks of filing your naturalization application, USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment for you. The naturalization interview will be scheduled in a few months for the majority of people. Finally, permanent residents become citizens of the United States during the oath ceremony. You can reschedule these appointments, but it will cause your naturalization process to be significantly delayed. If the appointment letters are ignored, USCIS will finally deny the N-400.

Timeline of N-400

1. Filling N-400
2. Receipt of application. Approximately 2-3 weeks after filing. 
3. Biometrics Appointment. Approximately 5-8 weeks after filling.
4. Appointment notice for naturalization interview. Approximately 5-9 months after filing. 
5. Naturalization interview. Approximately 7-11 months after filling. 
6. Notice of oath ceremony. Approximately 1 to 4 weeks after interview

See if you are eligible for Naturalization