Written by attorney Carl Michael Shusterman

Applying for Naturalization (Part One)

How do I apply for naturalization?

To apply for naturalization, file a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

For more information on the naturalization process, please see USCIS' manual, M-476, A Guide to Naturalization.

If you are in the military and are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, please see USCIS' manual, M-599, Naturalization Information for Military Personnel.

USCIS has educational materials and resources to help you prepare for the English and U.S. history and government (civics) tests. At, you can find information on how to find English classes in your area, and you can test yourself on the civics questions you may be asked.

When can I file my N-400 application?

Most applicants wait until they have fulfilled the length of residence, continuous residence and physical presence requirements before they file. You can choose to file your naturalization application 90 days before the end of the required period of continuous residence.

o If you choose to file early, be sure you meet all the other requirements as of the day you file your naturalization application.

Can I apply to officially change my legal name as part of my naturalization?

If you actually want to change your current legal name as part of your naturalization, include a signed request with your naturalization application.

  • The request to change your legal name as part of your naturalization should clearly state the name as you want it to appear on your naturalization certificate. * You can also submit your request to change your current legal name at the time of your naturalization interview.

o This may delay the processing of your case for naturalization.

o If you want to change your legal name as part of your naturalization, you must take the Oath of Allegiance in court.* Only the court can grant a change to your current legal name as part of naturalization.

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