Foreign nationals who live in the United States legally understand how confusing it is to submit paperwork to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To make matters worse, some of their forms have similar names. For example, Forms N-400 and N-600 may appear similar.
There is one main difference between USCIS Form N-400 and Form N-600. If you are not a U.S. citizen but want to become one, you file Form N-400. If you are already a U.S. citizen but need a certificate to prove it, you file Form N-600.
An Overview of Forms N-400 and N-600
While these two forms may have similar names, they serve two separate purposes. The main difference between these two forms is that:
- Form N-400 helps you become a U.S. citizen.
- Form N-600 helps you get a certificate that proves you became a U.S. citizen as a child through a parent’s citizenship.
There are a lot of different USCIS forms. And because they’re often referred to by just their form numbers, it can be difficult to remember which is which.
Form N-400 and Form N-600 are both forms that have to do with U.S. citizenship. But they have two very different purposes. Form N-400 is used by green card holders to apply for citizenship through a process called naturalization, whereas Form N-600 is used by people who are already citizens, but do not have proof of their citizenship.
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When to File Form N-400
Use Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, if you are not a U.S. citizen but want to become one through naturalization. It allows you to apply for U.S. citizenship. You can file Form N-400 once you meet all the citizenship requirements.
You might want to become a naturalized citizen if you are already a permanent legal resident of the U.S. but want more rights and benefits. Things a citizen can do that a permanent resident cannot include the following:
- Serve on a jury
- Travel with a U.S. passport
- Bring family members to the United States
- Obtain citizenship for your children under age 18
- Apply for a federal job
- Become an elected official
- Eliminate the risk of deportation
- Receive federal grants and scholarships
- Receive government benefits
How Much Does It Cost to File Form N-400?
It costs $680 USD to file Form N-400, including the $85 USD biometrics services fee for those required to pay it. At your biometrics appointment, you get your fingerprints, photograph and signature taken.
When to File Form N-600
Submit Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, if you are a U.S. citizen and need to prove it. Form N-600 is not a request to become a U.S. citizen. It allows someone who became a U.S. citizen as a child through a parent’s citizenship to request a certificate that proves they’re a citizen.
You might need a citizenship certificate if, for example, you were born outside of the country. Your birth certificate reflects your birthplace, but you want a certificate that proves you are a U.S. citizen. In this example, you could ask the government for a citizenship certificate by filing Form N-600.
How Much Does It Cost to File Form N-600?
If you’re a U.S. parent requesting a certificate for a child you adopted, the filing fee for Form N-600 is $550 USD. For all other N-600 certificate requests, the fee is $600 USD. The filing fee can only be waived for U.S. military personnel or veterans applying for citizenship certificates for themselves.