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

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

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

After applying for U.S. citizenship, a brighter future is in sight. You are one step closer to achieving your goal, which is to become a citizen of the United States. However, this time may also be filled with anxiety as you wait for your application to process. Commonly, applicants wonder how long the waiting period is to obtain citizenship after submitting their application package to USCIS. The timeline varies by case due to the numerous factors influencing the process, so it depends on your specific situation.  

Vestal Immigration Law can help you create a realistic outlook. We delve into the various timelines for each step of the naturalization process below.  For information specific to your case, call us for a consultation. 

Application for Naturalization

The naturalization process begins when you submit your complete application package to the USCIS. It is not unusual for a naturalization case, once filed, to pend for up to a year or more.  This is due to the large volume of citizenship applications USCIS receives, as well as backlogs. However, exact processing times may vary depending on your location. Some local USCIS offices do move faster than others and sometimes an interview will be scheduled within six months!

Receipt Notice and Biometrics

Next, you’ll attend a biometrics appointment about one month after the USCIS receives your application. At the appointment, an official will collect your signature, fingerprints, and photos. You will need to bring your appointment letter, green card, and an additional form of photo ID, such as a state ID, driver’s license, or passport. Forgetting to bring a document can lead to a longer processing time.

Citizenship Interview and Test

After your biometrics, you will go into a waiting period while USCIS is in the process of scheduling your interview and testing. Use this time wisely by studying for your civics test and practicing your handwriting.  The interview is used to confirm the information you’ve provided about yourself on your application and to address any other issues USCIS may have spotted or needs clarification. Most applicants will also need to take the U.S. citizenship test on the same day as your interview. The test contains an English comprehension (reading, writing, and following verbal commands) section as well as a civics section. Prepare for all parts. If you don’t pass the exam, you must retake the section you missed to continue your application within 60 to 90 days of the initial exam. 

Application Decision

If the USCIS finds no problems with your application, they will approve it on the same day that you take your citizenship interview and exam. If not, you’ll receive notification of their decision within 120 days. This is called a continuance notice and will give you an opportunity to correct or clarify any information.

When your application is approved, you will be scheduled for your oath ceremony. This is a special event for many people and you are encouraged to take photographs with the displays and flags in the ceremony room to share with your family and friends. On this day, you will receive your naturalization certificate and then you are eligible to register to vote and apply for your U.S. passport.  

Contact an Immigration Attorney for Legal Guidance

The U.S. citizenship process can be complicated, and it’s better navigated alongside an experienced immigration lawyer. Vestal Immigration Law provides the information you need to successfully apply for U.S. citizenship. Call today to discuss your case.

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