The New N-400 Application for Citizenship is Now Mandatory

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(Photo source: The Beacon – The Official Blog of USCIS)

Beginning this week, anyone applying for citizenship must use the new N-400 application form for naturalization. The 90-day period during which USCIS was accepting both the shorter old form and the longer new form has ended. An applicant for citizenship who submits an old N-400 will have it rejected by USCIS.

The new form, and the instructions that accompany the form, are considerably longer. In part, this is because new questions have been added to determine if an applicant might be disqualified from citizenship on the basis of new laws passed by Congress several years ago. The new questions will apply to very few applicants, but will likely lead to more “red flags” that, in a group processing workshop, will take up more of the time of volunteer attorneys supervising the volunteers who help applicants fill out the forms.

Another reason the form and instructions are longer is because USCIS attempted to make the instructions more clear, and even in the form itself, there is language added to explain some of the terms used. Unfortunately, in any form created to determine legal eligibility for a government benefit, there will be a tradeoff between clarity in the language and length of the form.

Finally, there is a huge bar code at the bottom of each page. When the form is filled out on a computer, the barcode changes to record the information. The code can be scanned by USCIS computers and the information is captured. An applicant can still fill out the form with a pen; it is not necessary to fill it out electronically.

Here are a few resources on the new N-400:

  • USCIS has a “tip sheet” for filling out the form on its website.
  • The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., has posted on its website some questions and answers that were raised at a recent USCIS stakeholders meeting with service providers. CLINIC also has a 90-minute recorded webinar discussing changes in the format and content of the new N-400. You can find that recording here.

Posted on May 9, 2014

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  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More