US Citizenship Application (Updated 2019)

Citizenship ApplicationThe U.S. citizenship application is long and can be confusing. Don’t worry! Here are answers to the top questions asked about the application.

What are the U.S. citizenship requirements?

There are seven basic requirements for U.S. citizenship that nearly all applicants must meet. Each requirement is listed below, as well as information about the few exceptions.

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have had a green card for five years.

If married to a U.S. citizen, you only need to be a permanent resident for three years. There are other exceptions to this requirement, particularly for people who served in the U.S. military.

  • Have lived within the state or USCIS district for at least three months prior to filing your application.
  • Meet the continuous residence requirement.

The continuous residence requirement is to have spent a prolonged period of time in the U.S., only leaving for short trips. Most applicants must demonstrate 5 years of continuous residence, without having left the United States for trips 6 months or longer. There are some exceptions to this requirement, particularly for people who served in the U.S. military.

  • Meet the physical presence requirement.

The physical presence requirement is to have been physically present in the U.S. for a prolonged period of time in the years before applying for citizenship. Most applicants must meet a physical presence requirement of 30 months out of the last 5 years. There are also exceptions to this requirement, again, mostly for individuals who have served in the military.

  • Reside continuously in the United States from the date you applied until you become a citizen.
  • Be able to read, write and speak basic English and have knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics).

Applicants are required to pass an English test and civics test during the citizenship interview. However, there are some exceptions, but only for the English test. If you are age 50 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States for 20 years or you are age 55 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 15 years, you do not need to take the English test.

What is the citizenship application form?

The application for citizenship is distributed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Naturalization is the term of citizenship for immigrants who must apply for it (rather than people automatically given citizenship at birth).

How long is the citizenship application?

This citizenship application is the longest and one of the most expensive USCIS applications. The application is 38 pages long. This includes 20 pages of the form itself and 18 pages of instructions.

What is the U.S. citizenship application fee?

As of May 2018, the filing fee for citizenship is $640 plus a biometrics fee, totalling $725. Applicants who are age 75 or older do not need to pay the $85 biometric fee. Please be aware that the USCIS filing fees may change from time to time.

It is possible to apply for a fee waiver, Form I-912. You should include this form with your N-400 application. In order to qualify, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You, your spouse, or the head of household living with you, are currently receiving a means-tested benefit.
  • Your household income is at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines at the time you file. Check the current Federal Poverty Guidelines for this year at Form I-912P, HHS Poverty Guidelines for Fee Waiver Requests.
  • You are currently experiencing financial hardship that prevents you from paying the filing fee, including unexpected medical bills or emergencies.

What questions are on the citizenship application?

The citizenship application asks you questions about the following:

  • Eligibility for citizenship
  • Current and past residences
  • Family history
  • Work history
  • Biographic information
  • Employment history
  • Education history
  • Time spent outside of the U.S. during your permanent residency
  • Marital history
  • Moral character

What is the citizenship application processing time?

The processing time is the amount of time it takes for the USCIS to make a decision on your application after you submit it. Processing times vary from year to year and based on the USCIS processing center where you submitted your application. In order to get an accurate processing time, you should check your case status with the receipt number. You will receive the receipt number after send your application to the USCIS.

How can I check my U.S. citizenship application status?

You can check your case status online, on the USCIS website. Simply enter your receipt number and then you will be given information regarding your case, including an estimated processing time. You can also check your case status by calling the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.