One of the ways the USCIS has made the naturalization process easier for immigrants is through the revamping of their platform for electronic filing. Right now, if you’re considering applying to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you no longer need to sift through documents at home and can avoid making costly errors with a pen if you decide to file your N-400 online. Immigrants everywhere should take advantage of the online filing system because you can save your work and come back to it later to complete. This is also beneficial as you will not run the risk of your application getting lost in the mail.
If you choose the online filing method, the first step is going to the following web address: https://www.uscis.gov/file-online. Be sure to read the first two paragraphs on this page to determine if you have set up an online USCIS account. You can only complete the online version of the N-400 application if you have an online account with U.S. immigration.
Secondly, you will notice about half way down the page there is a tutorial video to follow along with. In this blog, we will highlight some of the important points brought up in this video, so you can use both resources to better assist you in your journey towards U.S. citizenship.
At the bottom of the same page, click on the “N-400, Application for Naturalization” form. From here, you will be redirected to another page where you can start your application by clicking on the Blue button that says “File Online”. Note that once you click on this button, you will be prompted to sign into your USCIS in order to start the actual application, so be sure to have your account information (ID and password) ready.
On this same page, you will also have the option to check your eligibility. You will see there is another hyperlink at the top of the page where you can take a USCIS designed survey to check the status of your eligibility for U.S. citizenship. Take this brief survey if you have are questioning whether you are actually eligible for citizenship or not.
The USCIS has done a good job breaking up the online N-400 application into user-friendly sections. When you get started, use the left hand tab to navigate which section you plan on completing. They are broken up as follows:
- Getting Started
- About You
- Your Family
- Moral Character
- Review and Submit
Each section you complete has drop down menus that you will need to complete if they are relevant for your case. For example, if you have children, you need to include your children’s biographical information by selecting “Add another” when the application prompts you. You will notice when filling out the online application that you will be asked the same exact questions as the paper version, except in order to progress on the online application, you have to enter all of the fields required for the system to add your information. Once you add your children to the online version, you should see their information appear. Keep hitting the “Add another” button until your immediate family (spouse, children) have been completed.
Under the Moral Character section, you will be asked many Yes or No questions pertaining to your life history with various group affiliations, allegiance to the United States, as well as any history of crime. Based on all of your answers, the system will either simply move forward or will prompt you to write in a text box to better explain your answer.
Uploading Evidence and Review
One of the most important sections of the N-400, whether online or paper filing, is adding additional evidence to solidify your case U.S. citizenship. In the online version, under Section 5, you need to go through the each evidence requirement and attach verifiable copies of documents. PDF version or JPEGs are acceptable. If you are having difficulty understanding which documents to attach, this is where you will need professional guidance or legal assistance, most likely from an immigration attorney.
The online version will also give you warnings about the completeness of your application in Section 6: Review and Submit. A red alert means there is something missing in your application, and you need to fix this before the system will allow you to submit. A yellow alert means you may be missing information that will slow down the review process. You should also seek the help of an immigration attorney in reference to any yellow warnings, as the process might seem unclear if you do not know which forms to attach.