USCIS Updates N-400 Citizenship Application

N-400 Citizenship Application

The USCIS released an updated and longer U.S. citizenship application, stating the revisions make the citizenship process simpler. Beginning May 5, 2014, the USCIS will no longer accept older versions of the form.

Double the length of the previous version, the updated N-400 includes longer good moral character and national security sections. However, upgrades to Form N-400, Application for Naturalization also include improved formatting and organization to make the form easier to read and fill out through clearer guidance of specific sections. The USCIS has also enhanced the form with 2D barcode technology to more fully automate the application process.

Specifically, the USCIS has revised instruction around general eligibility requirements, naturalization testing exemptions, and the sections that are not to be completed until the time of the interview. The USCIS has also added instructions to provide specific information for members of the Armed Forces, information explaining requirements for early filing and an expanded explanation of the “Required Evidence” section.

The USCIS improvements to Form N-400 on the technology front centers around 2D barcode technology. Barcodes, located at the bottom of each application page, actually adapt to the information submitted by the user. When the form is filled out electronically in PDF format, USCIS can scan the customized information relayed in the barcode and upload it directly to the organization’s computer systems. This results in improved data quality and more efficient processing.

While the barcodes promise improved efficiencies, they’re only usable when they stay clean. In other words, if the pages of your application become torn, or if you use a staple in the barcode space, USCIS will have to process your application manually, which will likely take longer than the automated route. The new forms are already available and being accepted.

Paperwork is arguably one of the most frustrating aspects of immigration. But thanks to a concerted effort by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that started in 2012, the forms associated with immigration are becoming easier for applicants to navigate, making the application processing more efficient and streamlined from the user standpoint.  For the USCIS, form enhancements will result in improved processing times with a reduction in the rate of application rejection.