Tips for Do-It-Yourself U.S. Citizenship

If you’re deciding to complete your U.S. citizenship application on your own there are some very important facts you should know. The goal of most immigrants to the United States is to be able to become a citizen and enjoy all the benefits of doing so. First let’s talk about those benefits and responsibilities of a naturalized citizen.

Benefits and Responsibilities of American Citizens

Naturalization is the process someone who was not born in the United States becomes a citizen. Taking the oath of citizenship comes with some responsibilities but also has plenty of benefits.

Responsibilities include:

  • Giving up all prior allegiance to any other country.
  • Swearing allegiance to the United States.
  • Supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States
  • Serving the country when required.

The benefits of citizenship are:

  • Ability to vote for elected officials.
  • Bringing family members to the United States.
  • Most children can become citizens automatically.
  • Travel freely with a U.S. passport.
  • You can work for the federal government.
  • Run for elected government positions.

Knowing what to expect from becoming a citizen is a good way to decide if citizenship is for you. Next we’ll discuss the requirements.

Time to Obtain Citizenship

Requirements for Citizenship

The following requirements account for the majority of immigrants looking to become citizens of the United States.

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a green card for at least five years.
  • Must have a permanent residence for five years without trips outside the United States longer than six months.
  • Must prove you were physically present in the United States for two and a half years.
  • Lived in the same area for three months.
  • Be of good moral character.
  • Have basic knowledge of English and Civics.
  • Have an attachment to the Constitution.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services these requirements apply to 90 percent of immigrants looking to become American citizens.

You can find out if you meet those requirements right now by taking our free eligibility quiz. It takes a few seconds to get your results.

Now lets clarify some of those requirements because they can be confusing.

Continuous Residence: You have not left the United States for a long period of time. Trips that last six months or longer can impact your continuous residence.

Physical Presence: You have actually been in the United States. You have to be in the United States to meet this requirement.

Good Moral Character: Be a good person without an serious criminal violations or history of lying during government interviews or on government forms.

Attachment to the Constitution: The Constitution is a document the founding fathers of the United States wrote and is considered the law of the land. You must be prepared to support and defend it.

Form N-400 Basics

If you meet the requirements of citizenship and will accept the responsibilities and benefits that come with American citizenship then you’ll have to know about Form N-400 Application for Naturalization. This is the application you will need to complete and send to the government in order to become a citizen.

The application itself is 20 pages long. The instructions are 18 pages long. If you’re considering doing your application yourself you must read and understand all the instructions. Making a mistake on this form can lead to costly delays.

FileRight will help guide you through the process and check your application for mistakes. Our team of immigration attorneys will also review your application to  ensure there are no errors.

Form N-400 Application for Naturalization is the USCIS’ longest application. Once completed and if you’re accepted, the entire process should take around six months.

Currently the government fees are $640 for the application plus a $85 biometrics fee. They must be paid together so you’re looking at government fees of $725. The application is the only one payable by credit card. If you’re considering citizenship it’s important to act quickly because the price never goes down and can increase at any time.

What if I’m doing this application on my own?

It’s very important to complete your naturalization application clearly and carefully. Here are some tips to ensure your application is completed accurately.

  • Only answer questions that apply to your situation. You are not required to answer every question on the N-400 application. Depending on your situation, there may be several questions that don’t fit your situation. In these cases, you should write “N/A” (not applicable) rather than leaving the space blank. If you’re not certain how to answer a question, consider getting help from an attorney or by using online immigration software such as
  • Be honest. You should answer all questions truthfully. Lying on an immigration application could result in your application being denied—or worse. It’s possible to have your immigration status revoked for lying about your eligibility.
  • Don’t forget to sign your form. The USCIS rejects all unsigned forms.
  • Be sure to use the most current version of the form. The USCIS regularly updates their forms. You can find the most current versions on their website.
  • Write clearly and use extra pages if necessary. Make sure your writing is legible. If there’s not enough room for an answer, you can write, “Please see attachment” in the field and then attach a separate piece of paper with the answer. At the top of the attachment page, print your name, A-number, and the words “Attachment to Form N-400.” Then state which question(s) from which part(s) of the form you are answering.

There are resources to help you complete the application. That’s where FileRight comes in. FileRight will help simplify questions and checks for errors along the way.

Benefits of FileRight

Our customers can attest to the benefits of FileRight. For example, Dino moved to the United States from the Philippines. He admits he would typically do immigration paperwork on his own.

“I just wanted to make sure things would go right,” Dino said. “I usually just do it myself but I wanted someone who’s been doing it all the time with a pretty good success rate.”

Knowing the importance of getting his Form N-400 filed right, Dino chose FileRight’s guidance.

“When I got the packet everything was in order so all I had to do was follow everything in order and the cool part was you have a checklist at the end too so you can’t miss anything.”

Many of our customers love knowing they are eligible for citizenship before they start the lengthy application. Our eligibility quiz takes just a few seconds to complete and you get an answer immediately.

If you’d like to know more about using FileRight to fill out your Form N-400 just click here.

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