What is Form N-470?
Form N-470, “Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes,” is an immigration form used by lawful permanent residents (green card holders) who need to preserve their residence for naturalization purposes.
Generally, a green card holder must maintain continuous residence in the U.S. to be eligible for naturalization (U.S. citizenship application).
Green card holders who remain outside the U.S. for more than 1 uninterrupted year will become ineligible for U.S. citizenship unless they have an approved Form N-470.
By filing Form N-470, green card holders can request that their time spent abroad be considered as time spent in the U.S. for naturalization purposes.
This helps in meeting the naturalization requirements (Form N-400, Application for Naturalization).
Who can file Form N-470?
To be eligible to file Form N-470 you must meet all the of requirements below:
- One-year physical presence in the U.S.: The applicant must have been physically present in the U.S for at least one year (without any absences) after obtaining their green card
- Absence of one year or more: The applicant must be absent from the U.S. for one year or more
- Qualifying employment abroad: The applicant needs to reside outside the U.S. due to employment with the U.S. government, certain recognized religious organizations, or certain international organizations. See the list of qualifying employment below
- Naturalization: The applicant wants to preserve his/her continuous residence for naturalization purposes (filing Form N-400)
Qualifying employment for purposes of Form N-470
For purposes of filing Form N-470, the qualifying types of employment outside the U.S. include:
- Employed by or under contract with the U.S. government;
- Employed by or under contract with an entity that is currently recognized by USCIS as an American institution of research;
- Employed by an American firm or corporation engaged in the development of U.S. foreign trade and commerce, or a subsidiary thereof if more than 50 percent of its stock is owned by an American firm or corporation;
- Employed by a public international organization of which the U.S. is a member by treaty or statute and by which the applicant was not employed until after becoming a permanent resident; or
- Engaged solely for the purpose of performing the ministerial or priestly functions of a religious denomination that has an organization in the U.S., or engaged solely by a religious denomination or interdenominational mission organization having a bona fide organization within the U.S. as a missionary, brother, nun, or sister.
Is a reentry permit the same as Form N-470?
No, a reentry permit is not the same as Form N-470:
- Reentry Permit (Form I-131): A reentry permit (Form I-131), is a travel document issued by USCIS. This document allows green card holders to travel abroad for an extended period (up to two years) without abandoning their permanent resident status. It is typically used by green card holders who need to stay outside the U.S. for an extended period due to reasons such as work, study, or family obligations. The reentry permit helps prevent the automatic abandonment of permanent resident status due to prolonged absences.
- Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes: This form is used by green card holders who need to preserve their continuous residence in the U.S. for naturalization purposes. Only green card holders who are employed by the U.S. government, certain recognized religious organizations, or certain international organizations can file Form N-470. The primary purpose of filing Form N-470 is to request that the time spent abroad be considered as time spent in the U.S. for the purpose of meeting the continuous residence requirement for naturalization.
A green card holder filing Form N-470 must also apply in advance for a reentry permit by filing Form I-131.
When to file Form N-470?
Form N-470 must be filed before the applicant has been absent from the U.S. for a continuous period of 1 year.
Applicants do not have to be physically present in the US when filing Form N-470.
Exception: religious workers can file Form N-470 at any time:
- Before departing from the US
- After departing the U.S.; or
- After returning to the U.S.
How much does it cost to file Form N-470?
Form N-470 filing fee is $355.
Acceptable forms of payment:
- Money order
- Personal check
- Cashier’s check
- Pay by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
If you pay by check, it must be payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
USCIS filing fees are subject to change, check the most recent Form N-470 fees on the USCIS website (“Filing Fee”)
How to file Form N-470
Filing Form N-470 involves the following steps:
Step 1. Obtain the Latest Form:
- Download the most recent edition of Form N-470 from the USCIS website
- Ensure that you are using the most recent edition, as using an outdated version may result in delays and rejections
Step 2. Gather Supporting Documents:
- Collect all the necessary supporting documents (see the checklist above)
- Unless directed otherwise, submit only photocopies of the documents
Step 3. Complete the Form:
- Fill out Form N-470 accurately and completely
- Provide all required information, and double-check for accuracy before submission
- If a question does not apply to your situation, mark it as “N/A” (not applicable)
- Sign and date the form in ink
- Unsigned or undated forms will be rejected by USCIS
- USCIS does not accept computer-generated or stamped signatures
- Fill out and submit Form G-1145 to receive an electronic notification (text message or email) containing USCIS receipt number
Step 4. Pay the Filing Fee:
- Check the most current filing fee for Form N-470 on the USCIS website
- Acceptable forms of payment include:
- Money order
- Personal check
- Cashier’s check
- Credit card payment (fill out Form G-1450)
- If paying by check, the check must be payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Step 5. Submit the Application:
- Mail the completed Form N-470 along with the required supporting documents and the filing fee to the correct filing address (“Where to File”)
- It’s recommended to mail the application via express mail with a tracking number
- Make a copy of the completed application for your records
Step 6. USCIS Review:
- If you submitted Form G-1145 with your application, 1-2 weeks after the submission you will receive a text message or email from USCIS with your Form N-470 receipt notice. Check your spam folder.
- USCIS will mail the receipt notice 2-3 weeks after the submission date
- You can track the status of your application online by entering the Form N-470 receipt number
- After USCIS receives your application, it will be reviewed to determine whether USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) during the review process.
Step 7. Notification of Decision:
- USCIS will notify you of its decision on the Form N-470 application by mail