Instructions for Completing USCIS Form N-400

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • Form N-400 is for individuals seeking naturalization in the United States.
  • It consists of 18 sections covering eligibility, personal details, residence, family, employment, education, and more.
  • Answer truthfully and accurately, using “NA” for sections that are not applicable.
  • Conclude the form with required signatures, to be completed during the citizenship interview.

The United States of America sees many people trying to immigrate there permanently for various reasons, such as better standard of living, employment opportunities, or living with family. If you are one of those people, you would have to go through naturalization to complete your migration. This process includes filling the form N–400. It is mandatory to fill this form, so here is the instruction on how to fill out each section of this form.

What Is Form N–400?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services give out a form called N–400 to whoever wishes to become a natural citizen.

Form N-400 is the application used by lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to apply for U.S. citizenship through a process called naturalization. Filling out this 20-page form can be intimidating, but breaking it down step-by-step can make it more manageable.

N–400 Instructions

The N-400 form has 18 separate sections that require your answers. However, you are not required to answer every question. Unnecessary answers must be avoided, and you should only answer questions that are applicable in your situation and simply write NA on all remaining questions.

Never try to make up an answer. It is recommended to always answer each question truthfully since lying on your immigration application can lead to severe consequences. Check out the N-400 timeline guide here.

The following are instructions on 18 parts of the application form.

Eligibility Requirements

Before diving into the N-400, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for naturalization. The main requirements are:

  • You have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years (or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen)
  • You have maintained continuous residence and physical presence in the U.S.
  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You are able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • You have good moral character

There are a few other requirements – review the complete list. If you meet all requirements, you can move forward with your N-400.

Part 1: Information About Your Eligibility

In this section, only one question asks you to select your eligibility criteria from the options provided. Read them all, decide which category best fits you, and select only that one. Do not select multiple options for this question.

Part 2: Information About You

This section has questions asking your basic information, such as your name, address, social security number, and other information. One question also asks if you have any disability or physical impairment that does not permit you from attempting your English and civics test that would be compulsory otherwise.

Part 3: Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities and Impairments

In this section, if you do have a disability, you can request the USCIS to provide some form of accommodations for your naturalization tests, such as asking for a wheelchair in the building, a sign language interpreter, or any other accommodation that you might need to give your test with ease.

Part 4: Information to Contact You

In this section, you will give your contact information, such as your phone number and email address, for contacting you from the USCIS office.

Part 5: Information About Your Residence

Part 5 asks for your residency history over the past 5 years (3 years if married to a U.S. citizen). Be as specific as possible with dates and addresses.

List every address where you have lived, beginning with your current address. Account for every period in between residences as well, including travel abroad over 24 hours. Detailed travel history is also requested later.

If the given space is not enough, simply write “see the attachment” and attach a white paper with your name, A – number, and a heading that states, “Attachment to form N–400,” and write the question number and section number to fill out the details of those questions for which, the space in your original form wasn’t enough.

Part 6: Information About Your Parents

Here, you need to provide information about your parents, particularly their nationality. If both or even one of your parents are US Citizens, you might not have to fill out your N–400 forms since you would already be a US Citizen.

Part 7: Biographic Information

For biographic information, you need to give your race, ethnicity, height, weight, markers such as moles or tattoos, eye color, and hair color so that USCIS can complete your background verification.

Part 8: Information About Your Employment and Schools You Attended

This part will talk about your employment status and education in the last five years. You should also mention if you have had any periods of unemployment, disability staying home to take care of a family, and the schools you have attended in the last five years. It’s okay if you can’t remember everything with pinpoint accuracy, but try to fill in as much information as possible.

Part 9: Time Outside the United States

Be prepared to account for all trips abroad over the past 5 years (3 years if married to a U.S. citizen), as requested in Part 9. Refer to your passport stamps, travel records, photos, receipts, and journal entries to compile specific travel dates and destinations.

Even short trips must be listed. Discrepancies or leaving off trips can delay your application. If you can’t remember exact dates, estimate as closely as possible.

Part 10: Information About Your Marital History

You should disclose information about your current spouse and give information regarding the same. Always include information about your current marriage along with any previous marriages you or your current spouse have had.

For example, one question asks how many marriages has your spouse had? And if you’re their 3rd spouse, you answer 3 to include your marriage and not 2.

Part 11: Information About Your Children

Provide all, and every bit of information asked regarding your children, such as missing or deceased, married or unmarried, living with you or not, stepchildren not yet adopted legally, and those born out of wedlock.

Listing children here ensures any minor children receive derivative citizenship once you naturalize. Omitting eligible children can delay or prevent their acquisition of citizenship.

Part 12: Additional Information About You

You will need to give additional information that will be used to gauge if you should be accepted. Answering “No” to any of the questions in this section could result in your application being denied. If that is the case, finding an immigration lawyer would be best.

Part 13: Applicant’s Statement, Certification, and Signature

Here, you declare that you have clearly understood everything about N–400 form and sign it. 

Part 14: Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature

In case you used an interpreter to help you with your application, the details and contact information about the interpreter should be mentioned here, along with both your and your interpreter’s signatures.

Part 15: Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of the Person Preparing This Application, if Other Than the Applicant

if you used someone else to prepare your application for you, such as a lawyer, paralegal, or anyone else, then they need to sign this place. If not, you can just leave “NA” here and move on.

Part 16: Signature at the Interview

Leave this part blank. This is where you sign after your citizenship interview is completed.

Part 17: Renunciation of Foreign Titles

If you have any foreign titles such as prince, duke, etc., you need to renounce them here in this section to attain citizenship.

Part 18: Oath of Allegiance

Leave this section blank as well. It needs to be filed during your citizenship interview.

Supporting Documents

In addition to completing the N-400, you will need to gather supporting documentation, including:

  • A copy of your permanent resident card
  • Proof of qualifying marriage, if applicable
  • Certified translations for any foreign documents

A full list of required documents based on your specific situation is available from USCIS. Gather these early so your application is complete.

FAQs

What supporting documents do I include?

Refer to the Document Checklist (page 18 of instructions) for your personal list of required documents. Basic requirements for all: copy of green card, passport pages, state ID, 2 photos, and fee.

Where do I file the N-400?

The completed N-400 must be filed at the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility, regardless of where you live. Page 20 of instructions lists the USPS/courier mailing addresses.

How do I check N-400 processing time?

Check current USCIS processing times by field office here. Total wait is typically 6 to 10 months.

Can I travel abroad after filing N-400?

Yes, you can generally travel freely after filing N-400 while it is pending. Avoid travel near interview date and carry immigration documents in case.

What happens after I file the application?

After filing you will receive receipts, then get scheduled for biometrics, then called for an interview. Study for the English and civics exams that occur after interview.

Is there a fee waiver for N-400?

Yes, fee waivers are available based on very low income. Review Form I-912 criteria and file with your application. Fee waivers tend to have slower processing.

When does my permanent resident card expire?

Green cards expire every 10 years. Check the expiration date printed on the card. Renew it while your N-400 is pending by filing Form I-90 if it will expire within 6 months.

How do I check my N-400 status?

Once your application has been delivered and accepted by USCIS, you will receive online access to track status updates. You can also contact the USCIS Contact Center with receipt number in hand.

What if my circumstances change?

If anything changes related to your N-400 after submitting – like your address, job, travel dates, legal issues, etc. – contact USCIS to provide updated testimony. Keep them current on your situation.

What if my N-400 gets denied?

Find out the reason for denial then consult with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss options for appeal, re-filing, or alternative paths to citizenship if applicable. Each case is different.

Read More

Final Thoughts

N–400 form is long and requires complete honesty from your side to complete your naturalization successfully. It is in your best interest to seek legal help and have an attorney so that you do not make any mistakes since each mistake reduces your chances of having citizenship granted drastically.

This 18 part form has several questions that could confuse you. Always make sure you have the supporting documents with you to prove your words if required and make sure you file everything in the proper order to avoid last-minute confusion and hassle.

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Frank Gogol

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.

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