Naturalization is the process by which an immigrant or a permanent resident can become a U.S. citizen. The time it takes to become a naturalized citizen can vary depending on several factors, and it is difficult to tell with certainty how long the naturalization process will take for any individual.
That said, some general guidelines and factors can offer insights into the anticipated timeline for this significant step in your immigration journey, as explained below.
Qualifying applicants must submit Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization, along with the required documents and fees to initiate the naturalization process. Ensure your application is complete and accurate. The faster you finish the paperwork, the sooner your application can begin processing.
You will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs and a signature. This will help conduct background checks, typically within a few months of submitting the application.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may request additional information regarding your application at this stage, and it’s essential to respond promptly to such requests to avoid unnecessary delays.
Next, you’ll be slated for an appointment with a USCIS officer. This interview serves as an evaluation of your proficiency in English and your understanding of the U.S. government and history. The waiting period for this interview can fluctuate but generally spans several months.
Upon a successful interview, you will be issued a notification to participate in the Oath of Allegiance ceremony, marking the final step in your journey to becoming an official U.S. citizen.
The overall timeline
On average, the naturalization process can take anywhere from 8 months to over a year, depending on individual circumstances and location. Delays can occur due to high application volumes, background checks and other administrative factors. In certain situations, expedited processing may be available, reducing the overall timeline.
Seeking qualified legal guidance can help you avoid mistakes during the application process and increase the chances of a successful outcome.