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US Citizenship Form N-400

22nd March 2011
By Paul Anderson in Immigration Law
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Want to become a US citizen and enjoy the advantages? As a US citizen, you have the right to vote in the US federal elections. You can petition your family members for permanent stay in the US. You can also obtain citizenship for your children born abroad. Additionally, you have the right to enter and exit the US without any restrictions. These are a few of the many advantages you can enjoy as a US citizen. Having so many advantages of being a US citizen, it's time to know the citizenship process.

You can become a US citizen either by birth or through naturalization. Persons born in the US are automatically citizens of the US and persons born to US citizens can also claim citizenship subject to certain conditions. Naturalization is a process where a person not born in the US becomes a citizen voluntarily. To get naturalized, you need to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

Citizenship Application Form N-400:

As mentioned earlier, N-400 is the citizenship form that needs to be filed for Naturalization. All the eligibility requirements for filing the citizenship form have to be met before applying. You need to be a permanent resident for at least five years; or, three years if married to a US citizen and living with the citizen spouse for the past three years.

You need to meet other requirements too. You need to be 18 years or above. Additionally, you have to fulfill the continuous residence and physical presence requirement. A prolonged absence from the U.S. will break the continuity of your residence in the U.S. for naturalization purposes, although it may not affect your ability to return to the U.S. as a permanent resident. You should have resided in your current state for at least 3 months. Your current state is the state where you are submitting the citizenship form for naturalization.

The N-400 citizenship form can be downloaded from the USCIS website for free. But considering the sophisticated process involved, many private websites help applicants in preparing the citizenship form by charging a nominal fee.

After you submit the citizenship form to the USCIS, you will get an Application Receipt Notice with a 13-character Application Receipt number, within 30 days. This Receipt Notice is the proof that USCIS has received your completed citizenship form and that it is being processed. With this number, you will be able to check the status of your case.

You will be then notified about the date you need to appear for fingerprinting. Meanwhile, national security background checks are conducted and finally you need to appear for an interview. In the interview, your English knowledge will be tested, as well as your knowledge of US civics.

If the immigration officials are fully satisfied, your case will be approved. If rejected, you will be notified as to how soon you can reapply using the same N-400 citizenship form. Approving or rejecting your case depends on the transparency and truthfulness of your case. So in the best interest of the applicant, it is strongly advised to be honest in all your disclosures.
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