USCIS N-400 Priority Processing for Certain Non-Citizen SSI Recipients

In August 2011, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would prioritize the processing of USCIS Form N-400 (application for naturalization) in some cases for SSI recipients. SSI recipients who have had an N-400 application pending for at least four months and SSI recipients who will have SSI benefits ended within one year of their date of receipt may qualify for priority processing.

If an SSI recipient will have benefits terminated within one year and has already submitted USCIS form N-400, the SSI recipient can ensure priority processing by creating an INFOPASS appointment to discuss priority processing. The appointment can be made by calling 1-800-375-5283. As an alternative, the SSI recipient can also seek priority processing for their naturalization application by mailing a cover letter and supporting documents to the USCIS office with jurisdiction over the area of residence. The cover letter should outline that SSI benefits will be ended within one year and that a Form N-400 has been pending for at least 4 months. In addition, the SSI recipient should send a recent letter from the Social Security Administration, stating when SSI benefits will end. It is important to write the petitioner’s USCIS alien number at the top right hand corner of the Social Security Administration letter before sending it to the USCIS, in case the letter is separated from the cover letter.

SSI recipients who will have benefits terminated in one year or less but who have not yet applied for naturalization can still enjoy priority processing. These applicants should fill out and file Form N-400, writing “SSI” at the top of page 1 of Form N-400 in large, bold print. Applicants should file the form, and include a copy of a Social Security Administration letter which indicates the end period for SSI benefits. Forms received in this manner and with all appropriate documentation may be eligible for propriety processing.

It is important to note that the propriety processing from USCIS will not otherwise affect naturalization applications. That is, all applicants – whether SSI recipients or not – will need to meet all requirements for naturalization in order to be accepted. Priority processing will not affect eligibility or acceptance of applications, and will not ensure or guarantee acceptance. While applicants may need to wait a little less for an answer, it is still important for applicants to ensure eligibility and to fill out Form N-400 correctly and fully.