How long does naturalization take in the US?

Naturalization in the U.S. is the process that offers green card holders full U.S. citizenship. The U.S. has various benefits that come with it, like the right to apply for your family members’ green cards, to apply for specific jobs, to vote and also to run for positions. People usually naturalize when they take the USA as their home.

Now you have decided to change your green card and turn it into a certificate of citizenship. Good for you. But then, what next? What happens after you file your Form N-400, and how long would the whole naturalization process take?

As of April 2021, the average time it takes for naturalization processing for U.S. citizenship is 12 months. By the way, this is mainly for the processing wait time of your applications. The time it takes to process your Form N-400 alone covers about eight months. This is exclusive of several other steps that elongate the application process timeline to nothing less than 15 months.

Below is a brief outline of the naturalization process from application filing to the swearing-in ceremony:

  • Step 1: Processing Form N-400. 12 months (average)
  • Step 2: Biometrics Appointment: 0 months
  • Step 3: Citizenship Interview and Exam: 4 months (average)
  • Step 4: Receiving result of your application: 0–4 months additional
  • Step 5: Swearing-In and Oath of Allegiance and receiving your Certificate of Naturalization: 0–1.5 months

Total time to naturalize: 16 to 20 months

It is crucial to note that most of the figures here are averages. The processing time estimates may be shorter or rather longer for your application. They also do not take into cognizance any possible delays. Another factor is your location. Naturalization in the U.S. may be faster for some people depending on where they are based in the U.S.

Some USCIS field offices process naturalization applications much quicker than other offices. Therefore, where you live is also a deciding factor in what your wait time would eventually be.

One other crucial determinant to take care of on your end is to ensure you send a fully completed application and get it right from the first time – this is imperative for a successful naturalization application process. You cannot afford to have an error. USCIS policy released in 2018 makes this clear for U.S. citizenship applications and other related significant immigration applications.

Generally, a lot of application paperwork goes into the process of naturalization. This is why the process often takes a year or more to complete. So technically, waiting is a huge part of the process.

Learn more about Can my naturalization be lost in the US?

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