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How Long Does the Naturalization Process Take?

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If you are an immigrant in the United States, you are likely used to it taking a while to process your immigration-related applications and paperwork. Knowing the U.S. immigration system is rife with delays, you may wonder how long the naturalization process takes. On average the application for naturalization takes about six to nine months to process, but the exact timeframe will vary depending on your case and the service center processing your application.

The Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh staff knows firsthand how exciting it can be to apply for naturalization. But this process can be frustrating, and we are here to help it go smoothly and as quickly as possible. If you are preparing to naturalize, reach out to learn how we can help.

Steps of the Naturalization Process

Before you naturalize, you have to:

  1. Qualify to naturalize;
  2. Submit your naturalization application;
  3. Provide biometric information;
  4. Attend your interview, pass your test; and
  5. Take the Oath of Allegiance.

Once you take the oath, you are officially a U.S. citizen.

How Long Does Qualifying to Naturalize Take?

Generally, you are eligible to naturalize if you:

  • Are 18 or older,
  • Have been an LPR for five years or longer,
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years,
  • Were physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months of the last five years,
  • Have lived in your current state for at least three months, and
  • Have good moral character.

This timeline is shorter if you obtained your green card based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen. Then, you must have:

  • Been an LPR for three years or longer,
  • Continuously resided in the U.S. for at least three years, and
  • Been physically present in the U.S. for at least 18 months of the last three years.

Alternatively, you may qualify through eligible military service.

In addition, you must pass a U.S. civics test and prove you can read, write, and speak basic English at your naturalization interview.

How Long Does the Naturalization Application Take?

When you are ready to naturalize, you submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Along with the application, you must provide supporting documents showing that you meet the eligibility requirements, and you must pay an application fee of $760 (mail filing) or $710 (online filing).

Typically, proving you have good moral character presents the greatest chance of delaying your application. If you have ever been arrested or detained for a crime anywhere in the world (except a traffic incident), you need to provide official documentation of the charges, if any, and the outcome.

Completing and submitting Form N-400 may take as little as a few days. However, if you have to track down information related to criminal charges or detention, it can take weeks or even months.

How Long Does Providing Biometrics Take?

After USCIS receives your N-400, it generally schedules you for a biometrics appointment. There, USCIS takes your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. You should receive a notice scheduling your appointment within a month or two of submitting your N-400, and your appointment should take around 20 minutes.

How Long Do the Naturalization Interview and Test Take?

Within a few weeks or months of submitting your N-400, USCIS should schedule you for your naturalization interview. The interview will generally be scheduled a few months after you submit your N-400. In limited circumstances, you can request a waiver of one or both tests. The test and interview typically take less than an hour.

Your interviewer will ask you 10 questions from a potential list of 100 questions, which are available online. You must answer six correctly to pass. The interviewer evaluates your ability to speak English throughout the interview. You also need to read one of three sentences out loud correctly and write one of three sentences correctly. If you do not pass, you will be given another opportunity.

How Long Does the Oath of Allegiance Take?

If you pass, USCIS schedules you to take the oath of allegiance. In rare circumstances, you may be able to naturalize on the day of your interview. Otherwise, you take the oath at a naturalization ceremony with other immigrants, usually scheduled within a few weeks of your interview. After you take the oath, swearing to uphold and defend the principles of the U.S. Constitution, you receive your Certificate of Naturalization at the ceremony.

How Long Does the Naturalization Process Take?

How long does it take for the naturalization process to complete? The table below provides an expected naturalization process timeline after you submit your N-400.

Time from Submitted N-400 Approximate Time to Complete
Provide biometrics 4-8 weeks 10-20 minutes
Attend interview, pass test 3-6 months 20-30 minutes
Take the Oath of Allegiance 6-9 months One hour

These times may vary based on the office where you apply.

Prepare to Naturalize

At the Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh, we assist immigrants from the beginning to the end of the immigration process. If you need help preparing to naturalize, reach out today. Naturalization is a celebration, and we would love to help you get there.

Author Photo

Rosina Stambaugh

Rosina C. Stambaugh, founder of The Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh in York, brings a wealth of expertise to immigration law. With a focus on removal defense, Ms. Stambaugh has successfully litigated cases across various Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, offering comprehensive support to clients facing diverse immigration challenges. She also represents individuals and families applying for affirmative benefits with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

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