How Long Does the U.S. Citizenship Process Take?

Currently, it takes about six months to a year to get U.S. citizenship from the time you apply. The process starts when you first get your green card, but there’s no accurate way to tell how long each application will take. Your unique circumstances will determine your application status.

From getting a green card to taking the U.S. citizenship test and interview, it can take quite a long time to become a U.S. citizen. While not too difficult, the process can be complex. This video outlines the requirements for U.S. citizenship and the timeframes for each one.

Why Does Getting U.S. Citizenship Take So Long? 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives many applications each year and takes time to review each one carefully. Because of the high scrutiny they have for each application, it can take many months before they finally get to yours. The U.S. citizenship process also includes a testing process and an interview segment. 

All these steps require a significant amount of time to complete thoroughly. All you can really do is be patient while the USCIS does its job. Due to recent events and the number of applications received each year, the backlog for applications has increased, and you may end up waiting a while before finally obtaining citizenship. 

Is There a Way to Check Processing Times? 

Yes, there is. You can check your processing times by going to the USCIS website. On it, they provide a tool that can help you track the status of your application and generally see how long the U.S. citizenship application process will take currently. 

Are There Ways to Speed Up the Application Process? 

Some people believe they have that one “secret” or “trick” to make the citizenship process faster. The truth is, there is no real way to speed up the process in any meaningful way. While citizens who sponsor family members can potentially get fast-tracked, you’re still looking at several months of wait time. 

This includes provisions for marriage as well. Many people falsely believe that marriage is a fast way to obtain citizenship. However, the USCIS takes marriage fraud very seriously, and the amount of investigation they conduct to ensure the marriage is legitimate can take roughly the same amount of time. 

How Much Does It Cost to Apply for U.S. Citizenship? 

silhouettes of family holding american flags
Silhouettes of a family holding American flags. The U.S. citizenship process can take a long time to complete. Find out why and what steps you must take to apply.

Currently, the fee is $725 in total. There is a fee waiver available that you can use to get a reduced cost or avoid paying altogether. The price of applying for citizenship isn’t low, so it’s extremely important that you get your application done right the first time. If you get rejected, you won’t get a refund on the money you paid. 

What Are the Application Steps for U.S. Citizenship? 

The steps for applying are simple. What makes them hard is knowing how to get them done correctly. Here is a basic timeline of the U.S. citizenship application process and how long it generally takes. 

Submit Your Form N-400 and Schedule a Biometrics Appointment 

The first step is to fill out Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Pay all the fees necessary and provide all your supporting documents. After the USCIS receives your application, they should provide you with a notice of action within one to two weeks

Around this time, you will also need to provide biometrics such as your fingerprints, photo, and signature. You will have to make an appointment to do this step. When everything’s said and done, your application and biometrics processing will take roughly six to ten months after filing.

Taking Your Exams and Interview 

When everything gets processed successfully, the next thing you need to do is set up an appointment for your exam and interview, which both occur on the same day. Your exams and interview will usually take place about eight to twelve months after filing your application. While this step isn’t too challenging, it’s still good to prepare adequately for it in order to pass the test and interview without any major issues. 

Taking Your Oath of Allegiance 

After you pass your test and interview, you will have to do your oath of allegiance. This will usually occur around a year after you first filed. Once you take your oath, you are officially a citizen of the U.S. The oath of allegiance is an integral part of the naturalization process many people mistakenly find trivial, so don’t miss it.

Get Help With Your U.S. Citizenship Application Today 

The experts here at FileRight can help you apply for U.S. citizenship today. Don’t risk making errors that can cost you a lot in time and money. With our services, you can count on getting it right the first time and setting yourself on the path towards citizenship. Please reach out to us today to learn more. 

What To Do After Getting your Citizenship

Congratulations on becoming a United States citizen! Once you’ve obtained citizenship, the USCIS recommends you do the following:

  • Apply for a passport or passport card as soon as possible. You’ll receive an application at the ceremony or you can pick one up at any U.S. Post Office.
  • Register to vote.
  • After 10 days have passed, update your Social Security record at your closest Social Security office.
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