What Documents Are Required For U.S. Citizenship?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS requires some documents to be submitted along with Form N-400, Application For Naturalization. The documents required help the USCIS prove your eligibility to become a U.S. citizen. The type of supporting documents required varies from one applicant to another, depending on the circumstances of their application. Also, different documents may be required at different stages of the application process.
If you are preparing to apply for U.S. citizenship, this article will help you understand the document checklist to prepare for your application, and at what stage you will be required to provide these documents.
Application To Become A U.S. Citizen
The first step of the application for naturalization is filing Form N-400. This is the official application for U.S. citizenship by naturalization. There are some documents that the applicant must submit along with Form N-400.
Supporting Documents Filed With Form N-400
U.S citizenship applicants may be categorized into three groups according to the situation of their application. These groups are:
- A green card holder with no special circumstances
- A green card holder applying based on their marriage to a U.S. citizen
- An applicant based on military service
A Green Card Holder With No Special Circumstances
All applicants must be permanent residents of the U.S. to be eligible for naturalization except those applying on the basis of military service (basing on military service during wartime or peacetime). These are the documents that a green card holder must submit along with their application for naturalization. For applicants required to have a green card, some of the documents submitted are similar. These are:
Proof Of Permanent Residence
The proof of permanent residence is the Permanent Resident Card or the green card that bears the name and number of the applicant. It is also referred to as Form I-151. All applicants are required to submit a copy of both the front and back sides of this document.
Proof Of Payment Of The Application Fees
The USCIS does not accept cash payments for the application fees. Some payment methods accepted by the USCIS include money orders, personal checks, cashier checks, and credit cards. Prior to submitting the fees, your A-Number should be written at the back of the money order or check. If you are using a credit card to pay for the fees, you will be required to file Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transaction. Form G-1450 will also be submitted along with Form N-400. It is important to remember that you can only use one payment method for all your application fees for the naturalization process.
Proof Of Identity
For green card holders living and filing from abroad, they must provide proof of their identity. They will be required to submit their 2 passport size photos in accordance with the U.S. passport-style requirements.
A Green Card Holder Filing Based On Marriage To A U.S. Citizen
A green card holder who is married to a U.S. citizen will be required to submit all the documents as of a typical lawful permanent resident and the following additional documents:
Proof Of Marriage To A U.S. Citizen
A marriage certificate is one proof of marriage under this category. If the applicant was in any other previous relationship, they must also provide proof of termination of the previous relationship by providing a divorce decree, the death certificate of the previous spouse, or annulment documents. The applicant can also submit official records of a ‘Single Status Certificate’ or a ‘No Records of Marriage’ as evidence of being eligible for marriage.
Citizenship Application Based On Military Service
These are the documents that the applicant will be required to submit if their application for naturalization is based on their service in the US military:
Proof Of Military Service
Applicants under this category are required to file Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service. This applicant will be required to submit the application for naturalization Form N-400 along with Form N-426. Applicants seeking naturalization based on their military service are not required to pay any fees, therefore, they will not need any proof of payment.
Supporting Documents For Waiver Of Fees Or Reduction Of Fees
Apart from the applications based on military service who are exempted from application fees, other green card holders may request a waiver of fees or a reduction of fees if they are eligible. If you need a waiver of fees, you must submit Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver along with your citizenship application. If you need a reduction of fees, you must submit Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fees. An applicant who has a reduction of fees must also submit proof of payment of the reduced fee through money order, personal check, cashier check, or a credit card.
Supporting Documents For Medical Conditions Or Disability
Applicants who would like to seek disability exceptions or accommodations for the U.S. Citizenship test will be required to file Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. The medical certification must be completed by a qualified medical practitioner as proof that your medical condition may hinder you from effectively taking particular parts of the naturalization test.
Applicants Who Want To Be Accompanied By An Attorney Or Representative During Their Naturalization Interview
This type of applicant will need to submit all documents of a typical applicant and an additional Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative. If you have a case that needs legal advice and/or representation, you may need to have an attorney with you during the interview. However, the attorney will not help you with your naturalization tests, neither can he/she stop the USCIS from asking any of the test questions.
Read more: The U.S. Citizenship Test
Supporting Documents Required During Naturalization Interview
There are a few other documents that an applicant is required to bring with them during the citizenship interview. These documents also depend on the type of applicant or their application situation. Here is a classification of these categories and the documents that will be required during the citizenship interview.
Read more: U.S Citizenship Interview Questions
A Green Card Holder With No Special Circumstances
All green card holders will be required to bring original copies of the following documents during their interview:
Proof Of Permanent Residence
The applicant is required to provide the original copy of the permanent resident card that bears their name and A-Number. The green card will be revoked by the government if your application for naturalization is successful. The naturalized citizen will then be given a certificate of naturalization.
Identification Documents Issued By The State
Other identification documents that are issued at the state level will be required. Examples are:
- A driver’s license
- A valid state ID
- Work permit
All Applicants are required to bring the following documents for their records of travel:
- A passport
- Form I-94, Travel Records issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Proof Of Continuous Residence And Physical Presence In The United States
If you traveled abroad and stayed beyond the statutory period (six months and above), you will need to show proof of continuous residence in the United States and evidence of the physical presence in the United States. Applications based on military service are exempted from this requirement.
The documents that you may bring as proof of continuous residence and physical presence in the US include the following:
- Copies of stamped entry and exit visas on your passport
- Copies of income tax returns for 3 years or 5 years as applicable
- Property lease documents, mortgages, or rent payments for the U.S. residence
- Bank Statements of a U.S. bank showing frequent transactions
- Any records that show you maintained your permanent residence while abroad, such as school fees for your children studying in the U.S., and bills paid for the U.S. residence
Applicants Who Listed Their Children As Dependents On Form N-400
Applicants who listed their children as dependents will have to provide the following documents:
Proof Of Parental Rights
- Birth Certificate of the child or children
- Adoption papers
- Court orders showing your granted parental rights
- Proof of fulfilled financial obligations to the child
- Government order for child financial support if the child stays with a separated partner
- Copies of government documents payments towards child support
- Notarized letter from the separated parent who lives with the child
- Wage garnishment for the sake of the child support
Green Card Holders Filing On Grounds Of Marriage To A U.S. Citizen
These applicants must bring the original copies of the marriage certificate they submitted with their application and the following additional documents:
Proof Of the Citizenship Of The American Spouse
The applicant must prove that their U.S.-based spouse has been an American citizen for at least three years prior to the filing of Form n-400.
- Birth certificate
- Certificate of naturalization
- Certificate of citizenship
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen
Proof Of Marriage Authenticity For Three Years Prior To The Application
- Joint bank account statements
- Joint lease or mortgage payments
- Birth certificate of the children
- Joint income tax return
- Joint insurance policies
Application Based On Military Service
If you applied for naturalization based on Military and Civil Service Registration, you will be required to bring your proof of Selective Service Registration. If you did not register for selective service when you were required to, you will provide the following:
- Status Information Letter available in the selective service registration system
- Sworn affidavit explaining why you did not register when required
- Sworn affidavits from other people who can support your reason
Proof Of Good Moral Conduct
All applicants are expected to be of good moral conduct. If an applicant has ever been charged with any offense, arrested, convicted, detained, given an alternative sentence, or rehabilitated, the applicant must provide documents that prove the following documents
If you have ever been arrested or detained anywhere in the world but no charges were filed against you, you must provide an original certified court arrest report and an official certified statement from the law enforcement that there were no charges filed against you.
If you were arrested or detained in any country in the world and charges were filed, you must provide the arrest report, charges documents, and the court sentence for the offense.
If you have ever been convicted anywhere in the world and placed in an alternative sentence or rehabilitation, you must bring the court-certified sentence or its original, and the original or certified copy of the certification record stating that you completed the sentence or rehabilitation.
If your arrest or conviction was vacated or sealed, you must provide the original court order that certifies this claim and an original statement by the court that no such conviction records exist anymore.
If you have ever been arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or any other related traffic offenses, you must provide an original arrest document, an original police report, and any other document applicable as mentioned above.
Proof Of IRS Tax Compliance
All applicants are required to show proof of tax compliance, especially those applicants who traveled abroad for more than six months. Here are some of the required documents:
If you owe the government taxes, you will need to provide signed evidence from a tax collection office that you paid the tax you owed.
If you have a payment arrangement of the tax, you will need to provide evidence of the agreement from the appropriate office.