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How long does it take to become a naturalized U.S. citizen?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | immigration |

If you are an immigrant looking to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you may be wondering what it takes and how long you can expect the process to last.

You must be eligible to become a naturalized citizen. You must be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) for at least five years, or three if you are married to a U.S. citizen. You must also have been physically present in the country for most of the period you have been a permanent resident. Other eligibility requirements being a person of good moral character and ability to read, write and speak basic English (unless an exemption applies to your situation), among others.

How the process works

If you meet all eligibility criteria, then comes the paperwork. You must submit necessary documents and fees to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will then be scheduled for a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photos and signatures.

You should then expect an interview with a USCIS officer, where you will be tested on your knowledge of English and U.S. civics. If successful, you will receive a decision on your application. Taking the Oath of Allegiance is the last step toward becoming a U.S. citizen.

The entire process can take several months to over one year, depending on various factors like the USCIS’s current workload, your location and processing requirements. Timelines can vary, and delays are possible.

Having proper assistance when applying for citizenship can help you to meet all necessary requirements, stay informed about your application status and follow up with the USCIS if necessary, increasing the odds of a successful petition.