Category Archives: Citizenship

Immigration Insider articles in this category include information about the many paths to citizenship in the United States and the practical matters when naturalizing as a U.S. citizen with Form N-400.

Getting Ready for the Naturalization Process

Naturalization Process for US PassportThe naturalization process is the path through which a foreign national can voluntarily become a U.S. citizen. In order to begin the naturalization process, an applicant must first meet several requirements. Then, he or she must file an application for naturalization, attend an interview, and pass an English and a civics test.

Nearly 823,000 permanent residents filed an application to naturalize in the previous 12 months according to USCIS data. In fact, nearly a million people become naturalized U.S. citizens each year. Continue reading

USCIS Receipt Number Explained

USCIS Receipt Number ExplanationAfter you’ve filed almost any application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they will respond by mailing you a Form I-797C, Notice of Action, within approximately 1-3 weeks. (It may take longer to receive the I-797C for some other forms like Form I-751.) The I-797C, Notice of Action, is commonly known as a receipt letter.

For applicants who have incorrectly filed or included the wrong payment, the receipt letter will indicate that USCIS has rejected your case. You will need to refile. If you’ve prepared the form correctly and followed the USCIS directions carefully, the receipt letter will indicate that USCIS has accepted your case. Once the form has been accepted, USCIS will begin reviewing your case.

The receipt letter contains a unique 13-digit receipt number. Also known as a case number, it’s a very important number to help you track the progress of your case or identify a particular immigration filing.
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Apply for Citizenship with an Expired Green Card

us citizenship with an expired green cardYou’ve decided that it may be time to apply for U.S. citizenship, but you also realize that your green card is expired. You’ve heard that you can’t apply for citizenship with an expired green card. Worse yet, the cost to renew your card and then apply for citizenship is too much.

Currently, the USCIS fees to renew a green card are $540. Then, the USCIS fees to apply for naturalization are currently $725. That’s $1,265 in fees to do both.

For most people, this cost is a barrier to applying for U.S. citizenship with an expired green card. But it’s not mandatory to renew an expired green card before applying for citizenship. Continue reading

Certificate of Naturalization Replacement Process

certificate of naturalization replacement processUpon naturalizing as a U.S. citizen at an oath ceremony, new citizens are presented with a Certificate of Naturalization. This is your proof of U.S. citizenship for the purpose of obtaining a U.S. passport and other benefits. If your certificate has been lost, stolen, destroyed, or misprinted with an error, you may need to replace it. Additionally, if you’ve had a legal change in your name or gender, you may need to start the Certificate of Naturalization replacement process.

Although replacing a Certificate of Naturalization is a fairly straight forward process, minor mistakes of oversights can easily derail an application.

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Filling Out the Application for U.S. Citizenship

Filling Out the Application for U.S. CitizenshipWith 20 pages of questions (and another 18 pages of instructions), filling out the application for U.S. citizenship can be intimidating for many applicants.

Officially known as Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, the majority of applicants can prepare the application without extensive help from an attorney. If you have a straight forward case, you can probably do it yourself.

If you’re ready to tackle the application for U.S. citizenship by yourself, go to the website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at www.uscis.gov/n-400/ to download Form N-400 and the filing instructions.

If you want some extra support and the reassurance that you’re doing everything correctly, Continue reading

5 Common Reasons Form N-400 Gets Denied

form n-400 denied uscisU.S. citizenship is perhaps the greatest benefit any immigrant can receive. It is often the pinnacle of a long journey over many years and many miles. Over 2.2 million permanent residents have naturalized as U.S. citizens in the past three years.

However, during the same period, over 261,000 permanent residents had their Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, denied. In fact, the number of denials increased in every quarter of fiscal year 2018 under the Trump administration. There are many reasons for this. We’ve compiled a list of the five common reasons for a continuation or denial of a Form N-400 application. Continue reading

Getting Ready for Naturalization: N-400 Document Checklist

n400 document checklistThe application to apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization, officially known as Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is one of the longest and most involved forms that most immigrants will ever use. However, with a little preparation, you can complete the application on your own. There are several supporting documents that you’ll need to submit with the N-400 application or have available for reference. We’ve put together an N-400 document checklist and an overview that addresses the frequently asked questions about these documents. Once you are prepared, filling out the U.S. citizenship application can be a quick process.

After you’ve gone through the N-400 document checklist, be sure to review some of the most common ways Form N-400 get denied.
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Divorce After Green Card

How Divorce Can Affect Your Immigration Status

divorce after green cardDivorce can be a devastating life event. It’s emotionally exhausting, financially costly and can even affect one’s immigration status in the United States. A divorce after green card may introduce new challenges to a permanent resident. But in other cases, it’s not an issue.

Before you file another application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), take the time to understand how your divorce or annulment may affect your situation. Continue reading

Travel Abroad Affects N-400 Citizenship Eligibility

Travel Abroad Affects N-400 Eligibility for us citizenshipWhen applying for U.S. citizenship via naturalization, English and civics tests get much of the attention. But permanent residents often do not understand how travel abroad can affect their eligibility for naturalization.

Two related but separate requirements, continuous residence and physical presence, must be satisfied for one to be eligible to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Excessive travel abroad can adversely affect eligibility. Excessive travel can include one long trip or the accumulation of several trips over the period that precedes your admission as a U.S. citizen. Continue reading

Applying for Citizenship Through Marriage

Applying for Citizenship through MarriageSpecial rules in U.S. immigration law allow permanent residents applying for citizenship through marriage to become naturalized in just three years. Most permanent residents must live in the United States for a minimum of five years before applying for citizenship. However, the spouse of a U.S. citizen who resides in the United States may be eligible to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, on the basis of his or her marriage after just three years.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA Section 319(a)) describes the special provisions for the spouse of a U.S. citizen living in the United States. The spouse must have continuously resided Continue reading