Permanent residents use Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, to apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process.
Naturalization refers to the process in which a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. For foreign-born persons, naturalization is the most common way to become a U.S. citizen. Nearly a million people naturalize a year and now enjoy the benefits of U.S. citizenship.
The permanent resident must meet certain requirements before he or she is eligible to apply for naturalization with Form N-400. Generally, applicants must be 18 years old and fall into one of the following three basic eligibility categories
- Have been a permanent resident for the past 5 years | Learn more
- Currently married to and living with a U.S. citizen and have been married to and living with that same U.S. citizen for the past 3 years | Learn more
- Currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces (or will be filing your application within 6 months of an honorable discharge) and have served for at least 1 year | Learn more
The vast majority of applicants fall into one of the categories above. But there are additional eligibility categories which you can find in Chapter 4 of the USCIS Guide to Naturalization.
Cost to File N-400
The cost to naturalize with Form N-400 is more than filing a green card renewal, but significantly less than remaining a permanent resident over a lifetime. There is also a fee waiver and partial fee waiver for certain qualified individuals. Learn more about costs of filing Form N-400.
What Happens After Filing Form N-400
The processing time for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, can vary from 5-12 months for the majority of applicants. Most people will need to attend three separate appointments: a biometric appointment, naturalization interview, and the oath ceremony. To learn more, see what happens after filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.