How to Apply

Applying for U.S. Citizenship

  1. Make sure you qualify. (If you've been a permanent resident for 5 years, you probably qualify.) View more details.
  2. Pick up an USCIS citizenship application at the reference desk, or on the Internet.
  3. Fill in the "N-400" application. Make a copy to keep for yourself. If you need help with the application, see the E.S.L. Coordinator.
  4. Put the application in a big envelope with:
    • A copy of your green card (both sides!)
    • A check for $725 Make it out to "US Dept. of Homeland Security."    Make sure that your name, address, and phone number are on the check. Write "N-400 Fee" on the blank at the bottom where it says "memo."  If you are low income, you may be able to get a fee waiver.
    • You can also pay the fee by credit card. For information about this, go to
    Send it all to:
    Attn: N-400
    P.O. Box 4060
    Carol Stream, IL 60197-4060
  5. After a few weeks, you will get a letter from USCIS that tells you that they received your application. Later you'll get another letter that tells you when and where to get your fingerprints taken.
  6. After that, you will get a letter from USCIS telling you when and where to go for your interview. To prepare for your interview, you should study the list of U.S. history and government questions (PDF) and make sure that you can say and write all of the vocabulary words on the reading (PDF) and writing (PDF) list. If you want more background on U.S. history and government, you can check out textbooks from the "Citizenship" section at the E.S.L. Center or ask for a volunteer tutor. You can also sign up for a “practice interview,” with the coordinator.
  7. At the Oath Ceremony, you will become a U.S. citizen. They will give you a certificate, so you have proof of citizenship. You can use your certificate to:
    • Register to vote: The library has an easy 1-page form. We can help you to fill it out if you like, or register online here.
    • Get a U.S. passport for yourself or for your children (sons and daughters who are under 18, unmarried, and living in the U.S. automatically become citizens when their parents are sworn in): You can apply for a passport at the Clerk's Office at Amherst Town Hall. You can also get a naturalization certificate for your children from USCIS, but this takes longer and costs more. A passport is just as good as proof of citizenship.
    • Apply for immigrant visas so that your close relatives can join you in the U.S.

Additional Information

If you have questions that are not answered on this page, contact Lynne at the E.S.L. Office.

Please keep in mind that immigration procedures are complex and can change from time to time. We have tried to provide general information in simple terms, however, we are not immigration law experts. Check with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, immigrant advocacy groups, an immigration lawyer, or your congressional office for help concerning existing naturalization procedures, as well as concerns about future changes in the process.