Law Offices of Giselle M. Rodriguez, PLLC / By Nichole Silva, Legal Intern
What is an N-400 form and How can I apply?
An N-400 form is an application to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
You can file USCIS forms yourself, including Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, which can be submitted online or via mail. It does not require help from a lawyer, but a lawyer would be beneficial to make sure you are filing the correct information and proceeding in the right direction, and it would also be especially helpful to attend the citizenship interview while having legal representation.
- The form can be found on the U.S. and Citizenship Immigration Services website
- Make sure to verify that you are completing the most updated version of the N-400, Application for Naturalization form, as it is available on the USCIS website noted above.
- Be at least 18 years of age at the time you file the application
- Have been a lawful permanent resident for the past three or five years (depending on which naturalization category you are applying under)
- Continuous residence and physical presence in the United States
- Read, write, and speak basic English
- Good moral character
- Knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government
- Loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and
- Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.
Is the N-400 Interview Mandatory?
The citizenship interview is likely the most important stage of the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. The U.S. government determines your eligibility to become an American, based on all information and documentation provided. During the interview, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer will ask questions about the naturalization application (N-400 form). And, they will also be asking questions you were required to study for the citizenship test, which will also be taken on the same day.
How To Prepare For the Citizenship Interview:
When preparing for the Interview never gather important files last minute. To make sure you have everything in your hands, review any supporting documents, especially court and police records if you’ve ever had an encounter with law enforcement.
Next, you want to make sure you are on track with all of your documents especially if anything changes throughout the process.
- Note changes that occur between the time you file Form N-400 and attend your interview.
USCIS routinely asks such questions to determine whether you are still eligible for naturalization.
Another useful tip is, to be honest with the Immigration Services throughout your interview process. USCIS people like to know when you are honest and open with your background because if they discover you have been lying during your interview, they may deny your application or worse, they will place you in removal proceedings.
If you’re unsure about the N-400 interview don’t be! As long as you fulfill the requirements for naturalization and prepare for the interview, you’ll be in good shape.
Citizenship U.S. History Test:
In order to become a U.S. citizen, you will need to complete a U.S. history test after the interview. When completing the test you must demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government.
Please keep in mind that there are certain accommodations that are available to people with certain disabilities, and to people who fall under certain exceptions. Make sure to learn whether this is your case because if it might be, you might be able to have the test completely waived, or be able to take the test in your native language.
The following link has a more detailed explanation:
Here are different ways to practice for the test:
You will need to practice speaking, writing, and reading English. If you don’t feel comfortable with your English, look for a tutor or a family friend that can help you. Practicing your English will help you feel more confident and will encourage you to do better.
- Before you begin your studying journey, always verify the version of the test you will be required to take. You can find this information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
In general, the test is oral (in addition to the written one) and the USCIS officer will ask you to answer 10 out of the 100test questions. So make sure you study all 100 and not just 10 random questions!
You can download or print out the practice test that is provided on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website
- With the practice test provided above, you will get a basic understanding of what the questions will look like and how the USCIS officers expect you to answer the questions.
- Another way you can practice the test is can look up videos that can help you memorize the questions and also improve your English by listening to audio and hearing others how to pronounce certain words.
Don’t be discouraged if you feel overwhelmed with the N-400 interview and the U.S. Citizenship test. Find a lawyer near you to help you with your legal necessities. With a lawyer, you will have no stress with never feeling prepared, or worried if you filled out the correct information, along with providing the right documents.
Good luck on your journey to becoming a United States Citizen!