N-400: Application for Naturalization
The N-400 allows lawful permanent residents to apply to become a U.S. citizen. The N-400 does not guarantee that you will become a citizen. It is the official document that will let you naturalize if you meet all the requirements.
How to File for Citizenship with the N-400
Fill out USCIS form N-400 and gather documents that will help prove to USCIS that you have "good moral character." Materials that help show your good moral character can include criminal records, tax records, receipts on regular payments such as rent, car, insurance, and more.The USCIS will want to prove that you will contribute to society in a positive manner. By providing them with examples of your reliability on tax and child support payments as well as community service, you will help improve your case for naturalization.
Required Documents for N-400
- Social Security Number (if you have it)
- Green Card (Permanent Resident Card)
- Selective Service registration info (if you have served)
- The date of each trip abroad since you've resided in the U.S.
- School and/or job info for the last 5 years
- Address info for the last 5 years
- Contact info for your children (if relevant)
- Contact info for former/current spouses
If you live in San Antonio (or Texas in general), you must submit the N-400, naturalization fees, and all required documents to:
P.O. Box 660060
Dallas, TX 75266
For Express Mail or Courier Deliveries:
2501 S State Hwy 121 Business
Lewisville, TX 75067
Make checks and/or money orders to "Department of Homeland Security." If paying by credit card, submit Form G-1450, which will authorize a credit card transaction.If you live in another state, please consult the USCIS website.
After Submitting the N-400
Processing an N-400 can take 6 months or longer. After submitted, you will receive a Notice of Action (Form I-797) that confirms receipt. If you want to check the status of your USCIS case, submit your receipt number from the Notice of Action to the USCIS Status Online site. After you file your application for naturalization, USCIS will send you a notice that will require your biometrics to be taken. When you arrive for your biometrics, you will need to bring:
- Green card
- Second form of ID
- Notice letter for biometrics
You will also be subject to an interview by the USCIS. The interview will test your skills on reading, writing, and speaking English proficiently. The interview will also have a Citizenship Test. The test will have 10 questions relating to the rights and duties of U.S. citizenship (also known as U.S. Civics). Don't worry if you fail the Citizenship Test. Any applicant who fails the test can retest up to 90 days later. If you cannot take any part of the naturalization test due to a mental or physical impairment, file USCIS Form N-648. This allows an exception and allows aid during your naturalization process.
N-400 Naturalization Requirements
If you want to become a citizen, you must prove that you have done the following for naturalization:
- Can speak English fairly well
- Hold a U.S. green card for 5 years
- If married to U.S. citizenship, held green card for 3 years
- Reside in the U.S. for 5 years
- Have not left the U.S. for any span longer than 6 months
- Have been physically inside the U.S. for no less than 30 months prior to application
- Have lived in the state where you are submitted the application for no less than 3 months
- Know American government, history, and culture
- Prepared to take the Oath of Allegiance (unless your religion does not allow oaths)
N-400 Frequently Asked Questions
It is advisable to renew your green card before filing an N-400 if it is already expired. There is no need to renew if the card expires while the N-400 is pending.
You might be approved even with a criminal history depending on the circumstances. Be honest and upfront about your criminal history with USCIS and submit any documentation that will prove you have become a person of good moral character (written statements from officials related to your case, rehabilitation documents, along with standard documents proving moral character). Because this is specific to each person’s individual situation, it is advisable to speak with an attorney before filing if you have any criminal history.
You can appeal. Within 30 days of receiving your denial, file Form N-336, which will request a hearing for your naturalization. If the appeal upholds the denial, you can file another review with a U.S. District Court.
USCIS has many reasons why an application may be denied. While the decisions for approval are ultimately their own, here are some reasons why your application might have been rejected:
- Accidentally faulty information was provided. Sometimes, people guess on answers in their citizenship application. If you are not sure about an answer on the application, consult an immigration attorney or other resource before answering. USCIS will check every single fact, so it is critical to be accurate.
- Didn't read the instructions. USCIS wants you to succeed. That's why they offer comprehensive instructions that guide you through the citizenship application process.
- Didn't supply all needed documents. Be comprehensive when supplying USCIS with all needed documents.
- Didn't register with Selective Service. All men between ages 18 and 26 must register for Selective Service. If this applies to you, click on this link to register for Selective Service.
- Failed to demonstrate good moral character. A criminal conviction, past drug use, failure to pay taxes, dishonesty on previous immigration applications, and other issues can lead to a finding that you lack good moral character.
- Failure to meet the residence requirements. If you are not residing in the U.S. or if you have excessive absences from the U.S. in the last 5 years, your application can be denied.
- Illegal voting. If you voted in a federal election, your application can be denied.
Need Help with Your N-400?
Contact the San Antonio immigration attorneys at Salmon-Haas. Their collective knowledge can help provide you with information to complete your Form N-400.
*Fees do not apply for military applicants filing under Sections 328/329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
**Biometric Fees do not apply to those aged 75 or older.