The following is a brief summary of the various steps of the naturalization application process. Steps may vary from one individual to another. Please see our Citizenship Now! Naturalization Guide for step by step information on the application process.

1. Mailing the application

The USCIS application for Naturalization (N-400 Form) requires a $640 filing fee*, with an additional fee of $85* to cover the cost of fingerprinting (“biometrics”). The check or money order for $725* should be made payable to “Department of Homeland Security”, you may also pay by credit card by submitting a completed and signed Form G-1450 Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. Remember to keep a copy of everything you send out to USCIS, the receipts for your money order, and your postal receipts. (Speak with an immigration law expert for the list of required materials to include with your application.) Once you have gathered all required documents, review the application checklist before mailing your application package to USCIS.

Applicants 75 and older are exempt from paying the $85* biometric fee and but must appear in person to have their photos taken at the Application Support Center (ASC). The total fee for applicants over age 75 is $640*.

If you are unable to pay the $725* filing fee to apply for naturalization you can request USCIS to waive the fee or pay a reduced fee. To qualify for a fee waiver, you must document your inability to pay. To qualify for a reduced fee, your family income must be greater than 150% but not be more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Complete the I-912 Form, Request for Fee Waiver or the new I-942, Request for Reduced Fee and submit with the N-400 Form, Application for Naturalization.

2. You will receive a Receipt Notice

USCIS will issue a receipt notice, confirming that your application has been received and is being processed. The receipt number can be used to monitor the status of your application online

3. Biometrics Appointment

After mailing your application, you will receive a letter from the USCIS advising you to appear for fingerprinting at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC).

4. USCIS Interview (English and Civics Exam).

After the fingerprinting appointment and after you clear your background check, you will be invited to an interview with a USCIS officer. At this interview, you will be expected to prove your eligibility for naturalization and you will be tested on your basic knowledge of English and United States history and civics.

After the interview, you will receive either an invitation to your “Swearing-In” ceremony at which you will become a citizen of the United States, or a letter stating the reason for the denial of your citizenship request. If you failed the English exam or the United States history and civics exam at the first interview, the USCIS officer will give you a new date for your second interview.

5. Go to your Swearing-In Ceremony

On the day of your swearing-in ceremony, you will take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and become a naturalized citizen.

6. Change your Social Security Card 

7. Let us know that you became a U.S. Citizen!

If we helped you with your application, let us know that you became a U.S. Citizen by writing to us at: citizenshipnowinfo@cuny.edu, or via Facebook or Twitter. (Note: we do not respond to legal questions at this e-mail account or via social media)

*Fees and mailing addresses listed as of December 2016. Check the USCIS Immigration Forms website for updated fees.

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