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How Long Does It Take to Get U.S. Citizenship After Applying?

The national average processing time for naturalization (citizenship) applications is 14.5 months. But that’s just the application processing wait time. The overall naturalization process involves more steps and a longer citizenship timeline. Not sure if you qualify for citizenship? Start by checking your eligibility.

Here’s a brief summary of how long the naturalization process takes — from application filing to the swearing-in ceremony (with helpful details on what to expect in each step further below):

  • Step 1. Processing your Application for Naturalization (Form N-400 processing time): 14.5 months (average)

  • Step 2. Attending your biometrics appointment: 0 months additional

  • Step 3. Attending your citizenship interview and exam: 4 months additional (average)

  • Step 4. Receiving a decision on your application: 0–4 months additional

  • Step 5. Taking the Oath of Allegiance and receiving your Certificate of Naturalization: 0–1.5 months

  • Total time to naturalize: 18.5 months to 24 months

It’s important to note that the wait and processing times in this guide are official averages and estimates only and do not reflect possible delays (discussed in more detail below). In practice, the naturalization process may be shorter (one year, for example), depending on where the applicant lives. This is because some U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field offices handle applications much faster than others. (see “Understanding USCIS Processing Times” blog)

Completing your application right the first time — and getting started on the process as early as possible — is also crucial to a successful naturalization process. A recent USCIS policy change (effective September 11, 2018) now leaves little room for error in a U.S. citizenship application, among other types of immigration forms.

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