How do I fill out Form N-400, Application for Naturalization?

The basis of your eligibility requires that you spend a certain amount of time in the United States as a permanent resident.

Filling Out Form N-400, Application for Naturalization

If you are applying to become a citizen of the United States, which is a process called naturalization, you are required to fill out Form N-400 Application for Naturalization.

The application process is controlled by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  In order to prevent your application from being delayed or rejected, you must follow USCIS’s directions completely on each part of the application.

Form N-400 consists of 17 parts and we have gone through the application part-by-part for you below.

Remember, the key is to follow USICS’s directions and to be completely honest.  Not following directions or being dishonest can delay your application, or even worse, have it rejected.

If after reading the information below you find that you need help applying for citizenship, we are only a call away.

Part 1. Information About Your Eligibility

In Part 1, USCIS wants to know how you are eligible to apply for citizenship.   You must check the box that best fits your situation.  Only check one box.  As the section states, your application will be delayed if you check more than one box.  The most popular basis of eligibility is Box 1, permanent residency of at least 5 years.

Also, you must enter your “A” number in this section.  Your A number is your Alien Registration Number that was assigned to you by the Department of Homeland Security.

If you’re not sure how, or even if, you are eligible to apply for citizenship, you can go through the Eligibility Worksheet provided by USCIS.

Part 2. Information About You

You will complete Part 2 by answering some basic questions about yourself:

  • Question 1 asks for your current legal name. If your name has changed in the past for any reason, including marriage, you should let USCIS in Question 3.
  • On Question 2 you should provide your name exactly as it appears on your green card. USCIS will use this to match your naturalization application with your green card.
  • Question 3 is where you enter any other names you have gone by, including your maiden name.
  • Question 4 should only be filled out if you would like to legally change you name. If you want to change your name, you must check the box that says “Yes” and enter the new name you would like to use.  You will not need to do anything else to change your name as long as your naturalization ceremony is held before a judge.
  • Question 5 is where you write your legal U.S. social security number.
  • Question 6 is where you enter your date of birth.
  • Question 7 asks for the date you became a permanent resident. This date can be found on your green card.
  • Questions 8 and 9 asks for your country of birth and citizenship. This may be the same country or two different countries.
  • Question 10 asks if you are seeking accommodations due your disability and asks you to list your disability if so.
  • Question 11 asks if you have a disability or impairment that will make it impossible for you to take the U.S. Civics and English exams. If you answer yes, you will need to provide documentation, Form N-648, from a doctor which confirms your disability.
  • Question 12 asks you specific “yes/no” questions to determine if you are exempt from the English Language Test. Depending on your age and the amount of time you were a permanent resident, you may be able to take a simplified version of the English exam.

Part 3. Information to Contact You

This section simply asks for your contact information.  You should include the phone numbers where you can be reached and your email address if you have one.

It’s unlikely that USCIS will reach out to you via any other method than regular mail, but you will want to provide this information just in case.

Part 4. Information About Your Residence

In Part 4, USCIS wants to know all the places you have lived in the past 5 years. This is, in part, so that they can establish your eligibility to apply for naturalization.

Start by listing your current residence and the dates you have live there.  If you have not lived at your current address for the entire 5 year period, you must list the other places you have lived and the dates you lived there in the following areas.

If you would like to receive your mail at a different address, list that address under “Mailing Address.”

Part 5. Information About Your Parents

Part 5 focuses on your parents and whether either of them are U.S. citizens.

You do not need to fill out the information about your parent such as their name and date of birth unless they are a citizen of the United States.

If either of your parents are a U.S. citizen, you may already be a U.S. citizen and do not need to fill out this application.  If this is the case, you may wish to discuss your situation with an attorney before taking more time on this application.

Part 6. Information for Criminal Records Check

As you probably already know, USCIS is serious about conducting background checks because they are responsible for protecting the United States and its citizens from violent immigrants.  This section asks you some specific questions about your appearance and race to assist USCIS in conducting a background check.

Part 7. Information About Your Employment and Schools You Attended

If you have worked or attended school in the past 5 years, you must enter that information in this section.  Fill in your most recent employment or school first.  If you are unemployed or have been unemployed during the  5 year time period, you may let USCIS know in this section.

Status as an employee or student should not affect most applications. USCIS is simply verifying information about you and your whereabouts during the last five years.

Part 8. Time Outside the United States

Any trips of more than 24 hours that you have spent outside of the the United States in the past 5 years must be entered in this section.  USCIS want to make sure that you spent most of your time in the United States and not in other countries, especially since the basis of your eligibility requires that you spend a certain amount of time in the United States as a permanent resident.

Part 9. Information About Your Marital History

Part 9 contains questions about your marital status, current and past.  If you check the “Single, never married” box in Question 1, you do not have to worry about the rest of this section because it is for people who have been married before.

Just write “0” in the box on Question 3 and move on to Part 10.

However, if you check any other option in Question 1, you must identify whether your spouse is in the army and how many times you have been married on Questions 2 and 3, respectively.

Next, on Question 4, you must provide information about your current spouse, including their name, date of birth, date you were married, and address.

If your current spouse is a U.S. citizen, check “Yes” on Question 5 and go to the next question.

If your current spouse is not a U.S. citizen, move on to Question 7.  Depending on whether your spouse is a U.S. citizen or not, you must answer Question 6 or Question 7, not both.

Question 8 asks about your spouse’s previous marriages and Question 9 asks about your previous marriages.

USCIS wants to know about you and your spouse’s previous marriages to ensure that you are only married to one person. Being married to multiple people at the same time may result in a denial of your citizenship application and cancellation of your green card.

Seek legal help if you discover that you are legally married to multiple people at the same time.

Part 10. Information About Your Children

Part 10 asks about your children.

You should answer this question about ALL of your children, including deceased children, married children, stepchildren, and adopted children.  If you do not have any children, you should put “0” in the box on Question 1 and move on to Part 11.

If you do have children, answer the questions in Question 2 about each of your children.  Failing to include a child’s information may cause problems if USCIS finds out because it indicates fraudulent activity.

Part 11. Additional Information

Part 11 is the longest section because it asks you questions that pertain to your eligibility for citizenship.  The questions focus on the amount of time you have held a green card and your character.  If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, it is possible that your application could be denied.

If you answer “yes” to any of the questions numbered 1-21, you must provide additional information to support your answer. We highly recommend that you discuss your case with an attorney if you have questions about any of the information in this section.

Questions 22-28 ask about your criminal history.  You must answer truthfully, even if your record has been sealed, expunged, or cleared in anyway.   Question 29 gives you a chart to enter additional information if you answered “Yes” to any of the questions.

Questions 30-46 asks question pertaining to your moral character.  If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions, you must provide addition information to support your answer.

Questions 47-53 ask about your commitment to becoming a U.S. citizen.  If you answer “No” to any of the questions, you must provide additional documentation supporting your answer.

Again, if a question or information requested in Part 11 raises questions for you in your situation, contact an immigration attorney and seek legal help.

Part 12. Your Signature

You are required to sign your application in this section or USCIS will reject it.  If you are physically unable to sign, your representative may sign for you as long as they also provide their information and indicate that they signed for you.

Part 13. Signature and Contact Information of the Person Who Prepared This Form, If Other Than the Applicant

If you completed your naturalization form on your own or with minimal help, you do not need to worry about this section. However, if someone else prepared your application for you, such as a lawyer or representative, that person will fill out this section about themselves.

Part 14. Statement of Applicants Who Used an Interpreter

If you used an interpreter on any part of the application, you and your interpreter must fill out this section.

Part 15. Signature at Interview

Do not sign in this section until you are at your USCIS interview.  At the interview, the USCIS officer will instruct you to fill out this section and the following sections when it is time.

Part 16. Renunciation of Foreign Titles

You must give up any foreign titles recognizing your nobility before becoming a U.S. citizen.  You do not have to fill this section out until you are at your USCIS interview.

Part 17. Oath of Allegiance

If your naturalization application is approved, you will be required to recite the oath of allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. Do not sign in this section until your USCIS interview.

Conclusion

The U.S. Naturalization application is long and requires detailed information. You’ll need to go back into the last five years and prove your whereabouts and good moral character while you’ve been a permanent resident to make a successful application.

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