gather required documents
Whether you’re seeking assistance from a nonprofit legal services organization, a citizenship clinic, a private attorney, or applying on your own, you should gather the following documents to help prepare your application.
Everyone will need the following documents:
- Your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
- List of home addresses for the past five years and the dates during which you lived at these addresses
- List of employer names and addresses for the past five years, including the dates you worked with these employers
- Dates you have been outside the U.S. since becoming a permanent resident and the countries you traveled to during these trips. Bring your passport, itineraries and, if available, tickets to track all trips made outside the U.S.
- Your children’s complete names, dates of birth and their A#s (alien registration numbers) if they are legal permanent residents
- Your spouse’s name, date of birth, date of marriage, spouse’s social security # and A# if they are a legal permanent resident
- Your most recent tax return and W-2 form
- If you receive public benefits (such as SNAP food stamps, SSI, TANF, Medicaid) obtain your most current award letter. Anyone who receives public benefits can apply for citizenship for free, without paying the $725 filing fee. You must bring the award letter as proof; your EBT or Medicaid card is not sufficient. Click here for more information on how to obtain this letter.
- All documents you have about your immigration record, including a copy of your application for permanent residence, if you have it
Other documents that may apply to your case:
If the name on your green card is different than your current legal name:
Bring the documents that legally changed your name (marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court document)
If you are applying for US citizenship based upon a marriage to a US citizen bring:
Information about your spouse and his or her previous marriages and divorces;
Documents showing that you and your spouse are living together (examples: tax returns, bank statements, leases, mortgages, birth certificates of your children)
If you have been married more than one time:
Bring marriage certificate and divorce (or death) decree, or specific dates of all marriages and divorces. Bring the birth date(s) of your ex-espouse(s) as well. Bring proof of your payment of any court ordered support
If you have been outside the US for more than 6 months in any year since becoming a Permanent Resident:
Bring details about the dates you left and came back to the US, and proof that you maintained a job or home in the U.S. (ex: apartment lease, bank statements, letter from your employer, etc.)
If you have a spouse or children who do not live with you bring:
Any court order requiring you to pay financial support;
Evidence of your financial support (examples: cancelled checks, money order receipts, evidence of wage garnishments, or letter from the parent or guardian who cares for your children)
If you think you have been arrested, detained, or if you have had to appear before a court or been given a ticket for any reason whether in the last five years or earlier:
Bring ALL certified court and police documents (examples: police report, court appearance and disposition). In general, you can request these records from the court where your case was heard. Learn how to request your court documents here.
Exception–Minor traffic violations (examples: parking tickets, speeding tickets)
If you have ever been detained by immigration, stopped at the border, deported or received a deportation order:
Bring a copy of your full immigration record and any paperwork relating to your detention or deportation.
If you will be applying for a fee waiver:
Use this online tool to see if you might qualify for a fee waiver.
If you qualify for a full waiver because you receive a means tested public benefit, you must obtain an award letter from the agency giving you the benefit (for example, Department of Health and Social Services or DSHS). You can request this letter from the office where you originally applied for the benefit, or any affiliated office. The letter must be recent (within the last 6 months), have the agency logo, and show you are currently receiving the benefit. Click here for a sample letter.
If you qualify for a full or partial waiver based on your household income, you must prove your income for the past year by submitting last year’s tax return. If you don’t have it, you can also submit all paycheck stubs, and/or a letter from your current employer stating your income. The household size and filing status on your tax return must match what you write on your waiver application.
If your federal, state, or local taxes are overdue (or you have failed to pay them):
Bring copies of any documents, letters, or papers you sent to or received from the government regarding this issue
If you registered for the U.S. Selective Service:
Bring the date you registered and your selective service number, if known