The Form N-400 and It's Pitfalls

The Form N-400 and It's Pitfalls

The N-400, Application for Naturalization is used by lawful permanent residents who would like to apply for U.S. citizenship. This form is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service and can be filed online or via mail.

Who Can Use Form N-400?

Generally speaking, to file for naturalization you must be (1) a lawful permanent resident (LPR), (2) be over 18, and (3) have been an LPR for either 3 or 5 years (3 years if you are married to a US citizen). Review our complete guide to naturalization eligibility to see if you qualify for naturalization.

N-400 Basics

What is the N-400 Filing Fee? Currently, the fee is $725, which includes the $640 filing-fee plus $85 for biometrics (fingerprints and background check).

When can I file the N-400? Typically, you can submit the N-400 after you have been a lawful permanent resident for five years. If you have been married to a U.S. citizen for three years, you can file after three years. In both cases, you can file the N-400 90 days before your three or five-year residency anniversary. This leeway is given to account for USCIS processing times.

Name Change: You can legally change your name on the N-400. If you do not declare the name change on the N-400 and later decide that you’d like to change your name, you can do so at the interview.

Exemption from the English Language Test: The naturalization interview is conducted in English. If you qualify for an exception from this requirement, you will request the exemption on form N-400. Review our guide to see if you are eligible for an exemption.

What Information Will I Need to Provide My Attorney?

You will need to provide your attorney with the following information:

  • Address history for the past five years;
  • Employment history for the past five years;
  • Dates of your exits and entries from the United States, for the past five years;
  • Biographical information about your spouse;
  • Information about your current spouse’s former spouses;
  • Biographical information about your former spouses;
  • Biographical information about your children and step-children;

What Evidence Will I Provide to my Attorney?

In submitting your N-400 application, you will also provide supporting evidence. General evidence includes:

  • A copy of the front and back of your green card;
  • A copy of your birth certificate, with English translation;
  • A copy of the biographical page of your passport;
  • A copy of your marriage certificate and all prior divorce judgments;
  • Copies of federal income tax returns for the past five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen);
  • Proof of compliance with any child support orders;
  • Certified dispositions for certain arrests;
  • If filing in 3 years based on marriage to a U.S. citizen include evidence of your spouse’s U.S. citizenship;
  • If filing in 3 years based on marriage to a U.S. citizen also include evidence of your continued cohabitation;
  • Two passport-sized photos.

Pitfalls

If you believe that one of these pitfalls applies to you, it is crucial that you consult with a knowledgeable and experienced immigration attorney. Common pitfalls include:

  • Having claimed to be a U.S. citizen (examples include: registering to vote, or using a U.S. birth certificate to obtain a benefit);
  • Voting in an election;
  • Failing to file federal tax returns;
  • Failing to register for the selective service;
  • Certain arrests.

If you would like information about naturalization, please contact an immigration attorney who is trustworthy and knowledgeable! Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC, are experienced in both simple and complex naturalization cases. Please feel free to call us at 510-488-1020 to see how we can help!

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