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Naturalization in 2021: How and What Documents You Need to Submit to Get US Citizenship

The checklist for filing Form N-400, as well as the stages of preparation for obtaining US citizenship, described the publication Citizen path.

Photo: Shutterstock

The US Citizenship Application, officially known as the N-400 Form, is one of the longest and most detailed forms most immigrants will ever use. However, after a little preparation, you can fill out the application yourself. There are several supporting documents that you will need to provide along with the N-400 application or be available for reference. Below is the N-400 documents checklist and overview to help answer frequently asked questions about these documents and some of the most common ways to reject the N-400 form.

Permanent resident card (green card)

USCIS requires N-400 applicants to have a valid green card that has not yet expired. Typically, you will need to attach a photocopy of your card along with your N-400 application. Although many applicants with a lost, stolen or damaged green card successfully obtained citizenship using CitizenPath, it is still recommended have a valid green card with you, the validity of which has not yet expired. Permanent residents are required by law to carry proof of status (INA 264 (e)).

What's more, you may need a green card while you wait to become a US citizen. During the 8-12 months required to obtain citizenship, you must have a green card for several other purposes, such as:

  • Proof of your eligibility to work in the United States
  • Re-entering the United States after traveling abroad
  • Eligibility for a home loan
  • Extension of driving license

If you really need to replace or renew a green card, this will not slow down much the process of obtaining US citizenship. Submit Form I-90, Application for Replacement Permanent Resident Card, to renew or replace your card.

Approximately 1-3 weeks after your application is filed, USCIS will send you a receipt letter confirming that you have successfully submitted your application. Use a photocopy of this letter instead of a photocopy of your green card along with your N-400 application.

fees

State fees

Most people will pay government fees to complete the N-400 Citizenship Application Form. The current registration fee is $ 640 plus $ 85 for biometric services. One payment of $ 725 must be referred to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security using a personal check, money order, or cashier's check. You can even pay by credit card. Attach Form G-1450 to pay by credit card.

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However, applicants aged 75 and over are exempt from biometric service fees. Applicants applying on the basis of qualifying military service do not pay any fees.

Exemption from payment of fees

Low-income applicants or those with certain financial difficulties may be eligible for a partial or full exemption from the fee. For more information visit USCIS Fee Waiver Page.

Document preparation fees

Lawyers can charge various fees ranging from $ 500 to $ 2500 to help you prepare your citizenship application. It is often the best choice for applicants with a criminal or poor immigration background.

Marriage documents

Photo: Shutterstock

If you have ever been married, you will need a copy of your current legal marital status document. It includes:

  • Marriage certificate; or
  • divorce document; or
  • evidence about the death of the former spouse.
Name change documents

If you have changed your name, you will need to provide proof of a legal name change. To determine if this applies to you, take a look at your current green card. If your current name is different from the name on your green card, you need to provide documentation to prove the name change. Examples of acceptable documents include:

  • Marriage certificate;
  • divorce judgment;
  • any court-issued document in which your name has been legally changed.
Registration for military service

If you are a man who has resided in the United States anytime between your 18th and 26th birthday, then military service registration most likely applies to you. By law, a man must register with the Selective Service within 30 days of his 18th birthday. The Selective Service can accept late registrations, but not after the man turns 26. This requirement applies to US citizens, permanent residents, refugees, asylum seekers, and even undocumented aliens. This does not apply to women or foreign nationals in the United States with nonimmigrant visas. Nonimmigrant classifications include: foreign government officials, business or leisure visitors, foreigners in transit through the United States, treaty traders and investors, students, international representatives, temporary workers and interns, foreign media outlets, visitors to exchange, fiance / fiance of a US citizen, transfers within the company, NATO officials, religious leaders and some others.

It is very easy to receive confirmation of registration in the Selective Service. Use an online spot check service. You will need to include your last name, social security number, and date of birth. You will immediately receive a confirmation email that you can print or save on your computer. If you do not register properly, this may force you to postpone your application.

For applicants who are applying on the basis of marriage to a US citizen, their N-400 list of documents includes some additional points:

Some permanent residents are eligible for citizenship in as little as three years if they have been married to a US citizen the entire time. Accelerated citizenship requirements have some additional requirements for supporting documents.

Evidence of dissolution of previous marriages

In addition to confirming your current marital status, you will need proof that all previous marriages have ended. In other words, you will need proof that all previous marriages have been dissolved as a result of divorce or death. Again, examples of acceptable documents include divorce certificates, annulments, or death certificates.

Proof that the spouse has been a US citizen for at least 3 years

To comply with this provision, you must provide proof that your spouse has been a US citizen for at least three years and continues to be a US citizen. Examples of acceptable evidence include a photocopy of your spouse's documents:

  • birth certificate (if your spouse has not changed citizenship since birth);
  • US passport;
  • certificate of citizenship acquisition;
  • Form FS-240, U.S. Citizen Abroad Birth Report.
Proof of the reality of marriage

In addition to your marriage certificate, you need to provide supporting evidence that the marriage is genuine. Typically, this can be most effectively demonstrated with documents that show that you have a common finances, constantly lived together and have common children (if applicable).

Submit documents proving that you and your spouse were married for at least three years prior to the date you filed Form N-400, Application for Citizenship. Examples of acceptable documents include:

1. Copies of joint tax returns for each of the last three years (two if all three are not yet available). You can file a tax certificate instead of a tax return. To get a free extract from the IRS tax return, visit www.irs.gov. Select "Tools" and then select "Order a declaration or account statement". You can also call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 for help.

2. Copies of statements from general bank accounts in the names of both spouses. Joint accounts can include checking, savings, credit cards, insurance policies, rentals, or mortgages. Submit applications covering three years (if applicable). For example, include a copy every three months for three years.

Copies of birth certificates of children born in marriage (if possible).

Any other evidence of family ties that speaks to your marriage in good faith. You can provide photos of both spouses (for example, on vacation, away, etc.). Include the date, place, and names of other people in the photo.

Give some examples of your marriage in good faith. It is important to show that you have shared financial responsibilities, cohabitation, and family ties (such as photographs). For all the evidence, if possible, provide examples that span the entire three-year period.

Additional documents you may need

This N-400 document checklist covers the elements required for typical citizenship applications. Additional documentation may be required if you have ever failed to file the required tax return, have an arrest record, or have traveled extensively (for example, travel for more than 6 months) abroad. Often in such situations, the help of an experienced lawyer is required.

You can provide photocopies of all documents mentioned above when filling out Form N-400 (unless otherwise noted). However, it is recommended that you bring the original with you to your citizenship interview. Originals of documents are rarely requested. But if the USCIS officer needs confirmation, you will be ready to remedy the situation. Otherwise, the consideration of your case may be postponed.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

Get a copy of your immigration file

As part of the naturalization process, a USCIS officer will evaluate your entire immigration history to ensure that your permanent residence has been granted correctly. This can be a little scary because most people are unsure of the information the government has. Well, you can recognize her.

You have the right to request a copy of your immigration file under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In fact, immigration lawyers will regularly submit requests to the FOIA for this information before submitting additional forms. There is no government filing fee, but it can be a lengthy process. It can take six months to receive the entire file.

Form N-400 preparation

While documentation may not be required, there is additional information you need to have on hand when preparing an N-400 application. Typically, you will need five years of information:

  • history of residence addresses;
  • employment history;
  • travel history (time outside the US).

If you are applying for marriage to a US citizen, these stories can be shortened to three years.

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