Naturalization Processing Time
How long will it take for me to become a U.S. citizen. In this article, we will look through the citizenship timeline and general naturalization processing time. Understanding the N-400 processing time will help your life planning.
I. Naturalization processing time overview and the general citizenship timeline
Like any other applicants, you probably will be anxious to know how long it takes to get U.S. citizenship once after filing the Form N-400. If the USCIS field office where you live and is processing your N-400 has a heavy workload, the N-400 processing time may be delayed. With all that taken into consideration, the naturalization processing time is 8 to 14 months in general.
How long does it take to get citizenship? Here is the estimated US citizenship timeline.
- Step 1. Filing N-400 and receipt of application: approximately 2 ~ 3 weeks after filing of N-400
- Step 2. Appointment notice for biometrics: approximately 3 ~ 5 weeks after filing of N-400
- Step 3. Biometrics appointment: approximately 5 ~ 8 weeks after filing of N-400
- Step 4. Appointment notice for naturalization interview: approximately 5 ~ 9 months after filing of N-400
- Step 5. Naturalization interview: approximately 7 ~ 11 months after filing of N-400
- Step 6. Notice of Oath ceremony: approximately 1 ~ 4 weeks after naturalization interview
- Step 7. Oath of Allegiance ceremony: approximately 8 ~ 12 months after filing N-400
*It’s important to note that the naturalization processing time in this guide is the official average and estimate time ONLY and DO NOT reflect possible delays. Completing the naturalization application correctly at the first time and getting started early as possible is also a critical factor in shortening your naturalization process time.
Lawfully provides an intelligent USCIS case tracking system. It lets you check your case status easily without logging to the USCIS web page and see your whole case history at one click. Also, based on Lawfully’s advanced machine learning technology, you can receive predictions of when your case will be processed. Talk with other applicants for the N-400 processing time and compare with my own naturalization processing time. Download the best USCIS tracker and manage your citizenship timeline intelligently!
STEP 1. Filing N-400 and receipt of application
Approximately 2 ~ 3 weeks after filing of N-400
Once you complete the Form N-400 and properly gather all necessary documents, you then will submit the application along with the filing fee(s) either online or by mail. From the date of filing, the USCIS will send you a receipt notice, formally known as I-797C, notice of action. However, if you did not properly file your Form N-400, USCIS will send a notice of action to reject the application or may send a request for evidence(RFE). Either will significantly delay your naturalization processing time.
STEP 2. Appointment notice for biometrics
Approximately 3 ~ 5 weeks after filing of N-400
After receiving I-797, the receipt notice, you should expect to receive another notice notifying your Biometrics appointment. Within the appointment notice, you will be assigned biometrics appointment date, time, and location. USCIS requires you to be fingerprinted for the purpose of conducting a security clearance and criminal background check.
IMPORTANT: If you are 75 years old or older, you are waived from paying biometric services fee, but you still have to attend a biometric appointment regardless of age.
STEP 3. Biometrics appointment
Approximately 5 ~ 8 weeks after filing of N-400
Approximately 5 ~ 8 weeks after filing of the Form N-400, you will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment (aka, USCIS fingerprint appointment). You will attend the appointment and will provide your fingerprints, photograph and signature.
This is not an interview. This is simply a part of the N-400 review process where USCIS collects your biometrics information to conduct background and criminal checks. If you are not able to attend your scheduled appointment, you will have to reschedule your biometrics appointment which will delay the N-400 processing time. If you fail to attend your scheduled appointment without your request for a new schedule, your N-400 may be considered abandoned.
IMPORTANT: If you believe to have or have a criminal record, even conviction of Driving Under Influence (DUI), we suggest that you need to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before going to a biometrics appointment.
STEP 4. Appointment notice for naturalization interview
Approximately 5 ~ 9 months after filing of N-400
After biometric appointment notice, you will receive another appointment notice for your naturalization interview. Interview notice will arrive by mail as another Form I-797, Notice of Action. Make sure to attend the scheduled interview appointment to avoid any delay in the naturalization processing time. The interview will be scheduled at a USCIS office near you. If you are not able to attend your scheduled appointment, you will have to reschedule your interview appointment which will delay the naturalization processing time. If you fail to attend your scheduled appointment without your request for a new appointment schedule, your N-400 may be denied.
STEP 5. Naturalization interview
Approximately 7 ~ 11 months after filing of N-400
You are almost at the end of the citizenship timeline. At the interview, USCIS officers will ask various questions about your N-400 application to confirm that the answers you provided are still correct. In addition, you will need to take the naturalization test (aka, citizenship test) to demonstrate that you are able to read, write, and speak basic English and that you have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics). Based on your understanding of the questions and responses to said questions will typically be considered as part of English test. In addition, you will be asked to read and write a sentence in English. Thereafter, they will administer the civics test. For more information, please see our “How to Prepare for the Naturalization Test” for a more detailed information
After your naturalization interview, USCIS will give you Form N-652, naturalization interview results. It gives you the result of your interview. They will either Grant, Continue, or Deny your Naturalization application.
- Granted – USCIS approves your naturalization application
- Continued – USCIS may continue your naturalization application if you failed a test or did not provide all or incorrect documents. This will add additional time to complete the naturalization process
- Denied – USCIS denies your naturalization application.
If you successfully complete your interview and receive a preliminary approval for naturalization, then the next step will be to wait for the notice with the place and time of the oath Ceremony. It’s almost the end of the citizenship timeline but you are NOT yet a U.S. citizen until you swear at the Oath Ceremony.
STEP 6. Notice of Oath ceremony
Approximately 1 ~ 4 weeks after naturalization interview
After the successful interview, you will soon receive a notice to attend oath Ceremony, Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. The notice will provide you with the date, time, and location where the ceremony will be held.
If you cannot attend your scheduled ceremony, return the notice, Form N-445, to your local USCIS office with a letter requesting a new date along with an explanation why you can’t attend the scheduled ceremony. The rescheduling would delay the naturalization processing time, but failure to appear more than once for your Naturalization Ceremony may lead to a denial of your naturalization application.
STEP 7. Oath of allegiance ceremony
Approximately 8 ~ 12 months after filing N-400
The oath is administered by USCIS at an administrative ceremony or by a judge in a judicial ceremony. A court has exclusive authority to conduct the ceremonies in certain USCIS districts. After taking the Oath of Allegiance, you will turn in your green card and receive your Certificate of Naturalization.
Reasons of delayed naturalization processing times
You may find that your interview has been postponed for some reason, and that would make you worried. But it is not unusual that many applicants experience delays of the citizenship interview and the swearing-in ceremony. There are several reasons of a delay that causes you to wait longer than a normal processing time:
- Your background check is still underway. As the FBI conducts name checks on you, it may have found that you have a common or same name with someone who can be a threat to the U.S.
- If you are changing your name, it would possibly take you longer than an expected time. Since the federal courts or the USCIS can conduct ceremonies depending on a state, and only the federal court has an authority over a name change, this might be challenging if you live in a region where the USCIS conduct most of the oath ceremonies.
- There has been some mistakes. If your application is via mailing, it is possible that some files or letters were lost.
That is why Lawfully as well as USCIS strongly encourages online application!
We’ve looked over the general N-400 processing time and the overall naturalization processing time. Usually it’s between 8 months and 14months but the most important one is the correctly completed naturalization application. Work with Lawfully to prepare your documents perfectly and use Lawfully USCIS tracker to get an AI-analysed prediction of your naturalization processing time.