I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.See all posts Frank Gogol
How to Apply for Citizenship Online
At a Glance
- Online citizenship applications offer benefits over paper applications, including speed and ease of submission.
- Applying online allows you to answer questions electronically, securely pay fees, receive immediate confirmation, save drafts, and access case updates.
- To apply online, create a USCIS account, complete the N-400 application, confirm eligibility, provide personal information, detail residence and employment history, demonstrate good moral character with supporting evidence, and review and submit your application.
You’re finally ready to apply for naturalization. You want to do it as quickly and as hassle-free as possible. Considering today’s online world, is it possible to apply for citizenship online? Yes, it is!
Below we explain step by step exactly how you can apply for citizenship online. Let’s take a look.
Can You Apply for Citizenship Online?
Yes! You can apply for citizenship online! In fact, we’d encourage you to. There are many benefits when you apply for citizenship online instead of submitting paper via mail.
Benefits of Filing Online
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits when you apply for citizenship online.
Firstly, it is much quicker and easier to answer all the many questions in your naturalization application electronically with a click of a button, or to type our long answers instead of writing them by hand!
But it’s not just that. Other benefits when you apply for citizenship online include:
- You receive step-by-step instructions for each part of the Form N-400, which will guide you to complete your Form N-400 correctly.
- You can avoid common mistakes, such as submitting your application without signing.
- You can also pay your filing fee online safely and securely.
- You don’t have to wait for the mail to receive confirmation that your application was submitted. You will receive an immediate confirmation once you’ve submitted your Form N-400* online.
- You can save your draft application and return to it later.
In fact, it isn’t just filing your application online that has benefits. After you apply for citizenship online, you can also check the status of your case and related updates on your United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) account. You will be able to respond to any Requests for Evidence online on the same account, and you will have electronic access to every notice the USCIS sends you. Finally, on top of all that, you can send the USCIS secure messages on your online account and get answers quickly and directly.
How to File for Citizenship Online
Considering all the benefits, it seems like a no brainer that you would want to apply for citizenship online. So, let’s take a look at how to apply for citizenship online.
Create a USCIS Account
The first step is to create your USCIS online account. Go to the USCIS website here and click on “create your new account”. Fill in your email and click on “Sign Up”. You will receive a confirmation email in your email inbox. Confirm your email address by clicking on the link in the email.
Once you’ve set up your account, you can go back to the USCIS page and sign in with your email and password. Remember, your password will need a capital letter, number, and symbol.
The last part of signing in to your USCIS account will be to fill in the one-time password, which would be sent to your email or mobile phone.
File N-400 Application Online
Once you’ve signed in to your USCIS online account, you can start your naturalization application.
To start, click on “file a form online”. Select “Application for Naturalization (N400)” and click on “Start Form”.
You will encounter the following steps and questions as you progress through your online application.
Confirmation of Eligibility
You will first need to confirm your eligibility before you can start your application. It will automatically take you to a page where you can click on “determine my eligibility”. You will then be taken through a set of questions that will confirm whether you are eligible for naturalization.
These questions will include:
- Are one or both of your parents a U.S. citizen?
- How old are you?
- Are you a member of the U.S. armed forces?
- Are you a lawful permanent resident?
- When did you become a lawful permanent resident?
- Have you left the U.S. in the past 5 years?
- Have any of your trips outside of the U.S. been longer than 6 months?
- Have you moved in the past 3 months?
Once you’ve answered all the questions, it will confirm whether you may be eligible to apply for naturalization. Remember, if you passed this preliminary questionnaire, it doesn’t guarantee you are eligible for naturalization. It just indicates that you may be eligible based on the answers you provided.
If it confirms you may be eligible for naturalization, you can click on “Go to the application for naturalization (N-400)” to proceed with your application.
You will then be taken to a preliminary information page that confirms the fee and steps in your naturalization application. Read through the information carefully and, once you are comfortable that you understand everything, you can click “next”. It will then take you to another page which explains the online application process and provides useful information such as how long it will save your draft application before it is permanently deleted. You will also see a DHS Privacy Notice, which explains how the Department of Homeland Security will protect your personal information.
When you are ready, click on “start the application”. Every time you have completed a step, you can click on “next” to proceed to the next question or step. Each time you select “next”, it will automatically save your responses.
The application will start with a confirmation of the basis of your eligibility from the questionnaire you completed. If the basis of your eligibility is incorrect, click on “change my basis for eligibility” to correct it.
It will then ask you for the following personal information:
- What is your current legal name? This would be the name on your birth certificate unless it changed after birth by a legal action such as a marriage. Don’t fill in any nicknames here, only legal names.
- Your contact information. Make sure the contact information is correct, especially the mailing address. The USCIS will use the mailing address to contact you throughout the naturalization process.
- Your date of birth and country of birth.
- Your country of citizenship or nationality.
- The date on which you became a lawful permanent resident.
- Your name exactly as it appears on your permanent resident card. Even if your name is misspelled on your permanent resident card, provide it exactly as it appears there.
- Your A-number. This is the number located on your permanent resident card.
- U.S. social security number. You can select the relevant box to indicate if you don’t have a social security number.
- Your USCIS online account number. You would have an account if you already applied online for a renewal of your green card, for example. If you don’t have one, select the box indicating so.
- Other personal information. This will include your gender, ethnicity, race (select all the apply), weight, the color of your eyes, the color of your hair, etc.
Questions relating to where you’ve lived and worked before will be:
- Confirmation of whether you live at your current mailing address and when you moved there.
- Your residence history. Provide your current physical address, and all the addressed you’ve lived at in the past 5 years. You will have to add addresses and the exact dates you’ve lived there. Make sure there are no gaps in between dates for the past 5 years.
- Where have you worked or attended school during the last 5 years? You will again need to provide exact dates, so make sure there are no gaps.
Other personal questions will also include:
- Have you ever served in the U.S. armed forces, or have you registered for the Selective Service?
- Have you taken a trip outside of the U.S. in the last 5 years? Note this includes short trips that lasted longer than 24 hours and visits to Canada and Mexico. If yes, you will have to list all the trips and the exact dates you left and returned and the countries you traveled to. This is to ensure you meet the continuous physical presence requirement.
- Do you have any disabilities which will qualify you for the disability exception?
You will have to answer the following questions about your family:
- Your current marital status. If you select married, it will ask you for details about your current spouse. Similar questions will be asked about prior spouses if you were previously married.
- Do you have any children? This includes any children such as stepchildren, missing children, adopted children, etc.
- Questions about your parents, for example, their marital status or whether they are U.S. citizens.
You will have to answer the following questions about your moral character to determine whether you are a person of good moral character:
- Whether you claimed to be a U.S. citizen ever before or whether you’ve ever registered to vote or voted in a federal, state, or local election.
- Whether you have a hereditary or noble title.
- Questions about your previous tax returns.
- Whether you’ve been part of any club, society, organization, etc. and details thereof. This includes any organization, even a parent-teacher organization or the girl scouts.
- Questions about your involvement in political parties, terrorist organizations, etc.
- Questions about involvement in different types of crimes, your participation in military units or police unit.
Finally, it will confirm your attachment to the U.S. constitution and whether you understand and are willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.
Once you’ve answered all the questions, you will also need to provide the following evidence:
- Permanent resident card
- Marriage certificates
- Evidence of any name changes
- Evidence of the end of any prior marriages
- Any additional evidence you want to provide to support your application.
Review and Submit
Once you’ve worked through all the questions, review your whole application before you submit. Make sure there are no errors and that all the questions have been answered truthfully. When you’re ready, you can select “submit” and that’s it! Your application for naturalization will be submitted.
- Can I Stay More Than 6 Months Outside the U.S. with a Green Card?
- Green Card Process Steps: EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Visa
- SSN Update After Green Card
- How Long Does it Take for USCIS to Make a Decision After an Interview?
- Can You Be Deported if You are Married to an American Citizen?
- Which Countries Can You Visit With a Green Card?
Applying for citizenship online is quick and easy. There is no need to struggle with paper forms and snail-mail. Follow the easy steps we’ve set out above and submit your application for naturalization online today!