Preparing your citizenship application? Get the complete N-400 checklist – all required documents list, application tips and processing timeline in SelfLawyer’s N-400 guide.
If you’re an immigrant and are looking forward to becoming a citizen of the United States, you may apply for U.S. citizenship through a process known as Naturalization, by meeting certain eligibility requirements.
Following this, the application of citizenship through this naturalization process requires you to fill a USCIS form, called the ‘Application for Naturalization’ or Form N-400.
We will shed more light on what ‘naturalization’ is, what to expect from the Form N-400, who can apply for, and most importantly, the supporting documents you must attach while submitting this Application of Naturalization, to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Here is a brief overview of all the supporting documents you will be expected to submit along with your N-400 form:
- A copy of your Permanent Resident Card, or Green card
- A copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Proof that all your prior marriage(s) have come to an end (if any)
- Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (if applying for naturalization based on military service)
- DD Form 214, NGB Form 22, or discharge orders (if applying for naturalization based on military service and separated from service)
- A copy of your official military orders (if applying for naturalization based on military service and currently serving)
- Evidence of your citizen spouse’s employment abroad (if applying under 319(b))
- Two identical passport-style photographs (if you reside outside the United States)
What is Form N-400?
Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is an application issued by the government for foreign born individuals to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
This means that before understanding the N-400 form, you need to have a basic understanding of the term ‘naturalization’.
Naturalization refers to the process in which a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. However, only certain individuals are eligible for this.
If you wish to apply for naturalization, you should use the “Application for Naturalization” or Form N-400. For foreign-born persons, naturalization is the most common way to become a U.S. citizen.
If your biological or legal parent is a U.S. citizen by birth, or was naturalized before you reached your 18th birthday, you may already be a U.S. citizen.
To help you understand the naturalization process in depth, the USCIS has developed a guide that provides information on eligibility requirements and naturalization procedures. You can check it out here.
Who Can File Form N-400?
As stated earlier, one can file for citizenship via the naturalization process by filling the Form N-400 but this is applicable only to a handful of immigrants, essentially the ones who meet certain eligibility criteria.
This implies only those foreign born applicants who have satisfied the eligibility requirements of naturalization can file the N-400 form.
General Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization
It is important that you satisfy all of these conditions for naturalization, if you wish to successfully file the Form N-400, to apply for U.S. citizenship.
- You are at least 18 years of age at the time of filing (except active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces)
- You are a permanent resident of the United States for the past 5 years and have no special circumstances
- You have lived within the state or USCIS district where you claim residence for at least 3 months prior to filing
- You have demonstrated physical presence within the United States for at least 30 months
- Currently married to and living with a U.S. citizen and have been married to and living with that same U.S. citizen for the past 3 years
- Currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces (or will be filing your application within 6 months of an honorable discharge) and have served for at least 1 year
- You have demonstrated continuous residence for a required period of time
- You demonstrate a good moral character
- You demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution
- You demonstrate a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government , along with the ability to read, write, speak and understand basic English
- You take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
How to File Form N-400?
There are generally two options for filing your Form N-400 with USCIS.
- Online, or
- By mail (paper)
Filing N-400 Form Online
You may file your N-400 online, unless you’re applying:
- based on your military service, or
- from outside of the U.S., or
- for a fee waiver or reduced fee.
Only for the above three cases, you cannot apply the N-400 form online. For these cases, you’ll have to file your form by mail.
To apply online, you must create an online account with the USCIS and sign your application electronically (by typing your full name at the end of the application).
We have listed the details of the same here.
Filing your Form N-400 by Mail
If you’re filing your Form N-400 through mail, the USCIS address you must send your form and all the supporting documents shall vary depending upon the state in which you live and the delivery service you choose (U.S. Postal Service vs. FedEx, UPS, or DHL).
If you’re applying based on you (or your family member’s) military service, you will send your N-400 materials to a special address, again depending on the delivery method you choose.
The USCIS provides a list of all the addresses to which applicants must send their N-400. You can find the suitable address here.
Make sure you sign your form before submission. The USCIS will reject any form that is unsigned.
Note: We advise you that once you complete filling your Form N-400, create a copy of it before you submit it to USCIS. This is because your citizenship interview will largely focus on the answers you provide on your naturalization application. So you can review those answers before attending your interview.
All naturalization applicants must include supporting documents with their Form N-400. If you file your application online, you will need to upload digital copies (scans or photos) of these documents to your online USCIS account.
All applicants must attach the following items with their N-400 form:
|Items to submit||Notes|
|A photocopy of both sides of your Permanent Resident Card, or ‘Green Card’.|
|A check or money order for the application fee and the biometric services fee.|
|If you file for your form from outside the U.S., submit 2 identical color photographs|
If an attorney or an accredited representative is acting on your behalf, send:
- A completed original Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative.
If you are applying for naturalization on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen, send the following documents:
|Type of document||Examples of acceptable documents|
|Proof that your spouse has been a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years, send one of these documents|
|Proof of your current marital status|
|Proof of termination of all your prior marriage(s):|
|Financial records of your and your spouse|
If you are currently serving in the U.S. military service and are seeking citizenship on the basis of this service, send
- A completed original Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service.
In case you have visited outside the United States, or taken a trip for over 6 months after becoming a Permanent Resident, send evidence that you continue keeping ties to the United States, like:
- IRS tax return transcript depicting tax information for the last 5 years.
- Rent or mortgage payments and pay stubs.
If you have a dependent spouse or child/children not living with you, send:
|Type of document||Examples of acceptable documents|
|Proof of financial support obligations fulfillment, and|
|Proof citing your financial support|
If you have ever been arrested or detained by any law enforcement officer, and no charges were filed, send:
- An original official statement by the arresting agency or applicant court confirming that no charges were filed.
If you have ever been arrested or detained by any law enforcement officer and charges were filed, send:
- An original or court-certified copy of the complete arrest record and disposition for each incident, like dismissal order, conviction record or acquittal order.
If you’ve ever been convicted or placed in a sentencing or rehabilitative program, like drug treatment or community service program, send:
- An original or court-certified copy of the sentencing record for each incident
- Evidence that you completed your sentence.
If you still haven’t filed an income tax return since becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident, send:
- All correspondence with the IRS regarding your failure to file.
If you have any Federal, state or local taxes that are overdue, send:
- A signed agreement from the IRS or state or local tax office showing that you have filed a tax return and arranged to pay the taxes you owe, and
- Documentation from the IRS or local tax office depicting the current status of your repayment program.
If you are applying for a disability exception to the testing requirement, send:
- An original Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, completed less than 6 months ago by a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor or licensed clinical psychologist.
If you have not registered with the Selective Service, provided you are a male of 26 years of age or older, and have lived in the United States not as a lawful nonimmigrant from ages between 18 and 26, then send:
- A ‘Status Information Letter’ from the Selective Service. Call 1-847-688-6888 for more information on this.
Note: As per the USCIS, a ‘lawful nonimmigrant’ refers to:
- An alien in a lawful status classified under the nonimmigrant statutory provisions, and
- An alien in temporary protected status.
Lawful nonimmigrant status does not include parolees, asylees, or certain other aliens who are otherwise authorized to be physically present in the United States.
Form N-400 Processing Time
|Application center||Processing time|
|Agana GU||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Albany NY||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Albuquerque NM||5 Months to 5.5 Months|
|Anchorage AK||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Atlanta GA||4.5 Months to 27 Months|
|Baltimore MD||7 Months to 23.5 Months|
|Boise ID||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Boston MA||5.5 Months to 13 Months|
|Brooklyn NY||9.5 Months to 17.5 Months|
|Buffalo NY||4.5 Months to 8.5 Months|
|Charleston SC||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Charlotte Amalie VI||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Charlotte NC||5 Months to 15 Months|
|Chicago IL||5.5 Months to 15 Months|
|Christiansted VI||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Cincinnati OH||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Cleveland OH||4 Months to 6.5 Months|
|Columbus OH||5 Months to 8 Months|
|Dallas TX||10.5 Months to 39.5 Months|
|Denver CO||6 Months to 12.5 Months|
|Des Moines IA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Detroit MI||6 Months to 11 Months|
|El Paso TX||5 Months to 7.5 Months|
|Fort Myers FL||5.5 Months to 8.5 Months|
|Fort Smith AR||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Fresno CA||5 Months to 7.5 Months|
|Greer SC||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Harlingen TX||4.5 Months to 6.5 Months|
|Hartford CT||8.5 Months to 21.5 Months|
|Helena MT||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Hialeah FL||3.5 Months to 8 Months|
|Honolulu HI||6 Months to 12.5 Months|
|Houston TX||13.5 Months to 45 Months|
|Imperial CA||7.5 Months to 9.5 Months|
|Indianapolis IN||7 Months to 13.5 Months|
|Jacksonville FL||5.5 Months to 11 Months|
|Kansas City MO||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Kendall FL||4.5 Months to 10 Months|
|Las Vegas NV||10.5 Months to 19.5 Months|
|Lawrence MA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Long Island NY||7 Months to 18.5 Months|
|Los Angeles CA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Los Angeles County CA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Louisville KY||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Manchester NH||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Memphis TN||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Miami FL||7.5 Months to 26.5 Months|
|Milwaukee WI||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul MN||8.5 Months to 16 Months|
|Montgomery AL||5.5 Months to 16 Months|
|Mount Laurel NJ||7.5 Months to 14 Months|
|Nashville TN||9 Months to 15 Months|
|Newark NJ||10 Months to 18 Months|
|New Orleans LA||8 Months to 21 Months|
|New York City NY||12.5 Months to 28 Months|
|Norfolk VA||7.5 Months to 11 Months|
|Oakland Park FL||4 Months to 16.5 Months|
|Oklahoma City OK||6 Months to 9.5 Months|
|Omaha NE||5 Months to 12.5 Months|
|Orlando FL||7.5 Months to 13 Months|
|Philadelphia PA||8 Months to 14.5 Months|
|Phoenix AZ||6.5 Months to 12 Months|
|Pittsburgh PA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Portland ME||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Portland OR||7 Months to 12 Months|
|Providence RI||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Queens NY||10 Months to 15.5 Months|
|Raleigh NC||4 Months to 7.5 Months|
|Reno NV||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Sacramento CA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Saint Albans VT||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Saint Louis MO||5.5 Months to 8.5 Months|
|Salt Lake City UT||7 Months to 16.5 Months|
|San Antonio TX||6 Months to 9.5 Months|
|San Bernardino CA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|San Diego CA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|San Fernando Valley CA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|San Francisco CA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|San Jose CA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|San Juan PR||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Santa Ana CA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Seattle WA||11 Months to 19 Months|
|Spokane WA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Tampa FL||5 Months to 11 Months|
|Tucson AZ||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Washington DC||9 Months to 21 Months|
|West Palm Beach FL||7 Months to 11.5 Months|
|Wichita KS||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
|Yakima WA||7.5 Months to 17 Months|
Apply for Citizenship – Complete Guide