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What documents do I need to apply for citizenship?

Joyce Fan • October 01, 2020

This is a basic list of what to send the USCIS with your citizenship application form (N400):

1. A copy of both sides of your green card

2. Payment: a check or money order to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. To pay by credit card, use the Form G-1450.

  • For most people, the application fee is $760. If you file online on the USCIS website, the fee is $710.
  • You may qualify for a fee waiver if your income is low. (What is this?) If you qualify, send the fee waiver form too.

Depending on your situation, you might have to send more documents:

If you are applying based on your marriage to a citizen.

If you are applying for citizenship based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen, you also have to send:

1. A copy of your marriage certificate.

2. Copies of official documents from the past 3 years, that list both you and your spouse:

  • IRS-certified copies of tax returns or
  • an IRS tax return transcript or
  • a combination of tax returns, shared bank accounts, rental or mortgage papers, children's birth certificates, or other official documents that prove you are together.

3. Proof that your spouse has been a U.S. citizen for more than 3 years, such as copies of their:

  • U.S. birth certificate, or
  • Naturalization Certificate, or
  • U.S. passport (only copy the inside front cover and the signature page), or
  • U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA or Form FS-240)

4. If you or your spouse were married before, include documents to show your past marriages ended. Examples:

  • Divorce decrees. A divorce decree is the Court document certifying that your divorce is final.
  • Annulments. An annulment says your marriage never existed.
  • Death certificates. Death certificates show that your past marriages ended in the death of your spouse.

If you changed your name.

If you changed your name since you got your green card, send a copy of an official document that proves your name change. Examples:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce order
  • Other court papers

If you support a former spouse, or a child or current spouse who doesn't live with you.

You may have to explain or show how you are supporting a child, spouse, or ex-spouse. If a U.S. court or agency ordered you to provide support, send proof that you have been supporting them financially. Examples:

  • Canceled checks showing that your dependent receives support;
  • Receipts for goods and services you paid for your dependent;
  • A document from a court or agency of your child support payments;
  • Proof of wage garnishment, a portion of your wage held by your employer to send directly to your dependent;
  • A letter from the parent or guardian of your child that describes the support you provide.

You owe taxes or paid your taxes late.

Get help from an immigration legal expert if you have late or unpaid taxes, and you want to apply for citizenship.

A legal expert can help you show that you are working with the government to pay what you owe. This may include:

  • Communications with the IRS or your local/state tax agency about late and unpaid taxes.
  • Proof of filing the late or unpaid taxes.
  • A copy of an IRS payment plan, and proof that you are making payments.

If your income is low and you have a tax problem, click here to find help.

You have been arrested.

If you have been arrested, get legal help to fill in your application and review the documents to send. This list can help you get ready for legal review. The documents must be original or court-certified:

  • If you were arrested but not charged: documents from the arresting agency or the court showing no charges were filed.
  • If you were charged: your arrest record with the charges and outcomes.
  • If you were convicted or sent to a sentencing or rehab program:
    • Sentencing record for each charge, and
    • Proof that you completed the sentence. Examples: probation or parole record.
  • If your charges were dropped, sealed, or deleted from your record, you need the court orders that:
    • Drop or delete the charges, or
    • Confirm there is no record of your charge.

You can't take the citizenship test because of a disability.

Send an original Form N-648. This is the form to request an exception to the test, because of a physical or mental disability. A licensed doctor or clinical psychologist must fill out the form.

You need to prove you registered for Selective Service.

  • If you registered for Selective Service, send proof, such as a verification letter.
  • If you are a male and between the ages of 18 and 26, you can still sign up for Selective Services. Go to https://www.sss.gov/ to learn more and sign up.
  • If you are a male who is 26 or older, and you never registered for Selective Service you need to explain why and send a letter. You won't get citizenship if you intended to not register. Find out more at https://www.sss.gov/register/men-26-and-older/.

Get legal help if you don't understand the Selective Service rules. If you are using Citizenshipworks, email support@citizenshipworks.org for more information.


Updated April 18, 2024

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