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How Long Does it Take to Get a US Citizenship?

Posted by on September 1, 2020 in Government, Policies with 0 Comments

Many people dream of having a green card to become a full-fledged US citizen and acquire an American passport, which is one of the most powerful passports in the world. According to a report of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there are 756,800 naturalized citizens in the United States in fiscal 2018.

Before becoming a naturalized US citizen, you must take note of the requirements you need. The first step is to file the Form N-400 or the Application for Naturalization along with the following requirements:

  • You must be 18 years or older;
  • You must be a lawful permanent resident in the US (green card holder);
  • You must have been residing in the US for at least five consecutive years (if married to a US citizen, it will be reduced to three years);
  • You must be living in the same USCIS district or state for at least three months.

However, keep in mind that requirements for obtaining a US citizenship may vary on the circumstances and reasons why you qualify.

Citizenship Processing Time

As of May 31, 2020, the average time to process the naturalization applications (Form N-400) takes over eight months. However, the overall naturalization process takes up to one year or 1.5 years, depending on where you live. And if your documents are not in English, the process will also take longer. You have to translate them into English by hiring translation services, such as birth certificate translation.

Biometrics

Once the USCIS receives your application, they will give you a biometrics appointment notice. They usually send it one month after they received your application. Visit your nearest USCIS Application Support Center to have your fingerprints, photo, and signature taken.

Sometimes the USCIS requires you to have another biometrics appointment in cases when the FBI rejects your fingerprints. During the second appointment, they may ask for additional requirements such as police records or court records.

Interview

This is the next step in the naturalization process. The USCIS will send you a letter only once on the date and location of your interview. A USCIS officer will review your application and ask for clarifications, such as your immigration history. In case you aren't able to attend the scheduled appointment, you can write to them requesting to reschedule your appointment with valid justifications.

If the officer is satisfied with your interview, you can take the English and the Civics Test.

Test

The citizenship exam comes right after the interview. For the English test, you are instructed to read and write English sentences. You may also be asked to spell English words. The Civics test, on the other hand, you must have at least six correct answers out of ten to pass. If you fail any of these exams, you have to retake a portion of the exam to move on to the next step.

Ceremony

In some cases, taking the oath of allegiance will occur on the same day of your interview and exam. Otherwise, the USCIS will schedule your naturalization ceremony within one to six weeks after your papers' approval. It's crucial to appear in the naturalization ceremony. Failure to do so may lead to a denial of your application.

Preparation Is Key

Apply as early as possible and complete your application right the first time as both of these are crucial to have your naturalization process approved. You must always double-check your requirements and be prepared for anything before submitting to the USCIS to prevent errors and additional expenses.

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