Becoming a U.S. citizen is a long and stressful ordeal, but once it’s over, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits that U.S. citizenship has to offer. First, however, you’ll need to assemble your citizenship application packet for submission to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services). The most important things to include in this packet are your Form N-400 and your cover letter, but these items are also necessary to complete your citizenship application packet.
Your Citizenship Application Packet: Payment
You’ll want to submit your application fee payment with your application packet rather than separately so that it has less of a chance of getting lost. USCIS receives thousands of applications each month, so make it as easy as possible for them to keep it all together. The current fee is $320 plus $70 for fingerprints. The fingerprint fee does not apply if you are over the age of 75 or are an active member of the U.S. military.
Your Citizenship Application Packet: Photographs
USCIS requires two passport-style photographs along with the rest of the information in your citizenship application packet. Because they have certain criteria for these photographs, it is best to have them taken at a store that provides passport photos. Write your name and your A-number (which can be found on your green card) in pencil on the back of each of the photos.
Your Citizenship Application Packet: Green Card Photocopy
Make a photocopy of both sides of your green card on two sheets of 8 ½-by-11-inch paper. Make sure that the photocopies are clear, and that you have used good-quality ink. It is best to make copies at Kinko’s or another store that offers similar services.
Your Citizenship Application Packet: Proof of Residence
Tax returns, property titles, magazine and/or newspaper subscriptions, credit card bills, and anything else that might demonstrate proof of residence should be included in your application packet. Make sure, however, that you do not include the originals of these documents, but legible photocopies.
Your Citizenship Application Packet: Waivers
If you are asking for a waiver of any of the laws surrounding citizenship, make sure you include copies of those waivers and any documentation that can substantiate your claims. For example, if you are applying for the three-year rule because you are married to a U.S. citizen, provide evidence of your marriage and life together, including bills in both of your names, a marriage certificate, mortgage or home in both of your names, and other sufficient evidence.
NOTE: Make sure that all documentation and photocopies are made on 8 ½-by-11-inch paper, light bond. Don’t try to make a photocopy of your green card, for example, on a tiny sheet of paper, because it will have to be re-copied. Similarly, do not make copies on larger pieces of paper because they will not fit in government files.