The Difference Between the USCIS N-400 Citizenship Application and the N-600 Application for a Certificate of Citizenship

Are you a green card holder eligible and interested in applying for United States citizenship? If you answered yes, then you may use USCIS form N-400 to apply for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen. Are you already a United States citizen because you were born to or adopted by U.S. citizen parent(s)? If you answered yes, then you can use the USCIS form N-600 to apply for a certificate of your United States citizenship. The main difference between the two forms is whether you are seeking to become a U.S. citizen (N-400) or need a Certificate of Citizenship to prove your current U.S. citizenship (N-600). Below, we explain the differences between the N-400 and N-600 application forms in more detail.

N-400 Applying to become a United States Citizen

Once you have qualified for naturalization to become a United States citizenship by fulfilling the eligibility criteria, you may use form N-400 to apply for citizenship. To be eligible to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have had a green card for 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen)
  • Have been continuously living in the U.S. for the past 5 years*
  • Have been physically present in the U.S. for 30 of the previous 60 months*
  • Meet the good moral character requirements

*If you or a relative served in the U.S. military, you may be able to apply for citizenship without meeting some of the above requirements.

How much does it cost? After December 23, 2016, the application fee will increase from $595 to $640. In addition to the filing fee, the biometric exam fee costs $85. During the biometric exam, USCIS will collect your fingerprints, your photograph, and signature.

N-600 Applying for a Certificate of Citizenship

The N-600 form may be used to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship if you were born outside of the United States to U.S. citizen parent(s) or adopted by parents with U.S. citizenship. Note that the N-600 form is not necessary for persons who were born in the United States and granted U.S. citizenship by birth.

If you currently have a United States passport, your passport serves as proof of citizenship. However, a Certificate of Citizenship may be required when applying for certain benefits including:  social security, state issued identification cards, financial aid, employment, and passport renewal.

How much does it cost? After December 23, 2016, the application fee increases to $1,170 from $600. Currently, applicants may be eligible for a $550 application fee if they meet certain circumstances.


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