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Receiving a decision on your N-400 application

If all goes well and you’ve provided all the paperwork that USCIS needs to make a decision, your naturalization application may be approved on the same day as your citizenship interview and exam. Otherwise, USCIS will have 120 days (four months) from the date of your citizenship interview and exam to send you its decision in writing. More specifically, you’ll receive Form N-652 (officially called the “Notice of Examination Results”).

You can expect one of three outcomes:

1. Your application is approved, in which case you can move on to Step 5 below.

2. Your application is continued, meaning USCIS will place it on hold for one of these reasons:

  • You did not pass your citizenship exam (or a portion of it): In this case, you must return for a second interview and retake the necessary portion of the exam. If you do not pass the exam a second time, your application will be denied.

  • You did not provide the appropriate documentation or information: In this case, you must wait to receive a Form N-14, explaining what, where, and how to send the required information/documentation to USCIS. You will have 30 days to respond. If you do not fulfill this request within the deadline, your application may be denied.

3. Your application is denied, in which case you will receive a letter from USCIS stating this decision and your options. If you believe you deserved to be approved for U.S. citizenship, you may file an appeal (request a hearing with a USCIS officer) within 30 days of receiving the denial letter. USCIS will then schedule a hearing within 180 days. If the USCIS officer denies your application after the hearing and you still believe you deserve approval, you can request to have a U.S. district court review your case.

To prevent this process from dragging on (and your application from being denied), it’s important to adequately prepare for the citizenship interview and exam. It’s also critical to provide all of the information that USCIS needs in a timely fashion.

Filing your application package is only the first step of the naturalization process. It could be several months or more until you obtain U.S. citizenship.

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