How Long Does the US Citizenship Process Take?

The US citizenship process can take less than a year or several years. Part of the variation depends on where you are with your application right now. If you are not a legal permanent resident of the United States, this is your first step. If you wish to become a US citizen and neither of your parents are US citizens, you’ll first need to immigrate to the United States and become a legal permanent resident. Once that is completed, a process that alone can take a few years, you’ll need to remain in the United States and establish permanent residency for five years, without extended absences. Once the five years are up, you will then be able to apply for naturalization. If you take active part in the American armed forces or are married to a US citizen, the residency requirement may be far smaller. For example, a person married to a US citizen may only need to wait three years after getting permanent residency in order to apply for US citizenship.

Assuming that you already are a permanent resident and have established residency in the United States for the required amount of time, the actual US citizenship application process can take between six months to year, or even more. To begin the citizenship process, you will need to file USCIS form N-400. Processing of this form can take a little as six months or more than a year. Any mistakes on your form can delay the process considerably, so it is important to fill out the application for citizenship (N-400) as accurately and as fully as possible. You may want to get additional help with the application process to ensure that your citizenship request is not delayed due to a preventable mistake.

Once the application has been reviewed by the USCIS and has been accepted, you will be scheduled for an immigration test and interview. Again, how long it will take you to wait for the interview process will depend on your location and where you are filing for citizenship. Some districts have longer waiting lists than others.

Once you have taken in the citizenship test for exam, you will need to wait between one day and 180 days, on average, to be able to take the oath of citizenship and become a citizen of the United States. Again, the district where you live will determine the waiting time. A large number of people applying for citizenship at the same time and at the same location as you may slightly delay your citizenship request. Since the length of time taken to process a citizenship requests can vary widely, you may wish to track the status of your citizenship application online at the USCIS web site. This can help give you a sense of how long the process will take.

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