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As of April 1, immigrants seeking naturalization in the United States who do not identify as male or female will now have the option to choose “X” as their gender when completing the revised form N-400 for citizenship, according to a press release published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The agency’s revised form for naturalization — the process by which a foreign citizen becomes a citizen of the U.S. — is the first of its kind to offer an option for applicants to select another gender identity.

“Historically, USCIS forms and associated documents have only offered two gender options: ‘Male (M)’ and ‘Female (F).’ This has created significant barriers for requestors who do not identify with either of those options,” the USCIS stated in their press release Monday.

“Limiting benefit requestors to two gender options also creates administrative challenges for USCIS when we receive birth certificates or other official government-issued documents with a gender other than M or F.”

According to the USCIS, including a third gender option on form, N-400 ensures accurate identity documents and data for all. This benefits external parties and those seeking immigration benefits. It also aligns with other agencies, like the U.S. Department of State, which now offers a gender X option on passport applications.

Applicants won’t be required to submit additional documents to select the third gender option. They can choose a gender independent of what’s listed on other documents like birth certificates or IDs.

However, the USCIS cautioned that immigrants that do opt to select “X” may be required to visit a Social Security office for citizenship status updates or obtaining a new card. The agency mentioned that the Social Security Administration would be working on procedures to accommodate the third-gender option on other forms connected to the naturalization process in the coming months.

Social media reacts to the USCIS’ announcement.

Following the agency’s announcement of their revision process Monday, some users on X (formerly known as Twitter) expressed outrage over the USCIS’ decision. Some questioned whether the announcement’s timing was an April Fools’ joke. Others raised concerns about the agency’s ability to vet and identify immigrant applicants seeking citizenship effectively.

One user wrote, “So the U.S. won’t know if the person is a male or female? Seems like that’s a national defense issue, but what do I know?”

Read some of the reactions below. 

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