Posts Tagged ‘Form N-400’

Per the law, US Federal courts can administer the oath of allegiance. However, there are certain courts that have waived this privilege and permit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to administer the oath of allegiance. If a court administers the oath of allegiance, it is called a judicial ceremony. Whereas, an oath administered by USCIS is called an administrative ceremony.

You will be subject to a judicial ceremony if you reside in a place that is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the court. Depending on where one lives, different applicants will have different types of ceremonies as USCIS field offices often service more than one state or more than one court district. For instance, the Washington Field Office services the District of Columbia and parts of Virginia as well. If you reside in DC, you will have a judicial ceremony, whereas, if you are from Virginia, you may have an administrative ceremony.

If you want to change your name while filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, you have to indicate it on your form. In this case you will have a judicial ceremony. Your name change has to be approved by a judge. So it is evident that your name change will be changed at a judicial ceremony. USCIS Offices that conduct administrative ceremonies may have same-day naturalization ceremonies. The field office web pages will have information about which offices have same-day ceremonies.

Also note that you might have a judicial ceremony even if you do not live in an area under the jurisdiction of the court if it is a special ceremony or if it is easier to schedule you for a judicial ceremony. Likewise, you might have an administrative ceremony in some cases if you are not changing your name and the court has waived its privilege to administer the oath or under special circumstances.
Remember cannot administer the oath of allegiance in certain military naturalization cases.


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On Oct. 19, 2011, a USCIS issued an update announcing improvements in the processing of certain naturalization and citizenship forms. USCIS is enhancing the filing process for certain applications related to Naturalization and citizenship (N-Forms). From Oct. 30, 2011, applicants can file N-Forms at a secure Lockbox facility instead of the USCIS local offices through the new process. This change is aimed at streamlining the way forms are processed, accelerating the collection and deposit of fees focus on improving the consistency of the USCIS intake process.

As mentioned earlier, applicants have to submit forms directly to the appropriate Lockbox beginning Oct. 30, 2011. However, note that all such forms received by local USCIS offices during a transition period (Oct. 30 and Dec. 2, 2011) will be forwarded to the USCIS Lockbox facility. Forms received at local USCIS offices after Dec. 2, 2011, will not be forwarded but will be sent back to the applicant with further instructions on how to file again at a designated USCIS Lockbox facility. USCIS will be centralizing intake of Forms N-336, N-600 and N-600K at the Phoenix Lockbox facility. Form N-300 will be handled by the Dallas Lockbox facility and applicants filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, file at a Lockbox facility.

The USCIS has updated the information on their N-Form Web pages regarding filing forms at a Lockbox facility to clearly identify this change. Ensure that you read the form instructions thoroughly before filing the form to ensure that you are filing the correct form type at the correct location. It is very important to remember that applicants submitting the wrong form type for the benefit sought will not receive a fee refund. Instead, they will be required to re-apply using the correct form and pay a new fee.

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To qualify for American citizenship, you have to show that you resided continuously in the U.S. for five years before filing the citizenship form. If you are applying based on marriage to a US citizen, then it is three years of continuous residence. Continuous residence plainly means that you have maintained residence within the US for the required period of time as mentioned above.

If you away from the US for an extended period of time, it may disrupt the continuous residence requirement. If you are absent from the US for more than six months but less than one year, it may disrupt your continuous residence unless you can prove otherwise.

In almost all cases, if you leave the United States for 1 year or more, you have disrupted your continuous residence. This is true even if you have a Re-entry Permit. If you leave the country for 1 year or longer, you may be eligible to re-enter as a Permanent Resident if you have a Re-entry Permit. But none of the time you were in the United States before you left the country counts toward your time in continuous residence.

If you return within 2 years, some of your time out of the country does count. In fact, the last 364 days of your time out of the country (1 year minus 1 day) counts toward meeting your continuous residence requirement.

Physical Presence :

You have to prove that you were physically present in the US for thirty months within the five year period before filing the citizenship form. If you are applying based on marriage to a US citizen, the the requirement is eighteen months within the three year period.

In addition, applicants have to prove that they have resided for at least three months immediately preceding the filing of Form N-400 in the USCIS district or state where the applicant claims to have residency


There are certain exceptions to the continuous residence requirement for those applicants working abroad for the US government (including the Military), contractors of the US government , a recognized American institution of research, a public international organization OR an organization designated under the International Immunities Act

Should you need to preserve your continuous residence for naturalization purposes while employed abroad by one of these recognized institutions, you are required to file Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes with the USCIS.

An organization can get USCIS recognition as an American institution of research for the purpose of preserving the continuous residence status of its employees who are planning to get naturalized and are assigned abroad for an extended period of time.


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Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements before applying for US citizenship. Being at least 18 years or older and a being a permanent resident (Green Card holder) now and during all of the past 5 years are few of the requirements. You should have resided in the United States for a continuous period before filing of the citizenship application. If you are not married to a U.S. citizen, you should have resided in the U.S. for a continuous period of five years after admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you should have resided in the U.S. for a continuous period of three years following your admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident.

A prolonged absence from the U.S. will break the continuity of your residence in the U.S. for naturalization purposes. Additionally, you should have met physical presence requirements too. It means that you have actually been in the United States. Prior to applying, you should have resided in your current state for at least 3 months.

If you are applying for US Citizenship, you should file Form N-400 , Application for Naturalization with the USCIS. Certain supporting documents should be send with your N-400 application. Documents that are in a foreign language should be accompanied by a full English language translation while submitting to the USCIS. In such cases, the translator should certify the translation as complete and accurate, and also by the translator’s certification that he/she is competent to translate from the foreign language into English.

The filing fee for the citizenship application is $595.00. Additionally, a biometric fee of $85.00 is required when filing this Form N-400. You may submit one check or money order for $680 for both the application and biometric fees. If you are filing under the military provisions , you do not require a filing fee.

The processing time for the citizenship application can vary from five months to more than two years depending on where and when you choose to file your application. Then the swearing-in ceremony for receiving the certificate will take place from 1 to 180 days after the interview, although in a few USCIS district offices, it can take another one or two years. The length of time for the entire process depends on the number of Citizenship applications the USCIS offices receive in each state. Additionally, making a mistake on your application can cost you even more time. So always ensure that your application is complete and error- free.

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