How much USCIS takes to process your citizenship application?
So now you have applied for the lawful permanent resident (green card) and get eligible to apply for US Citizenship. Then here is the most awaiting guide for you to help you evaluate the time taken by USCIS to process your citizenship application. Keep on reading the guide; it also helps you prevent making the mistake that may lead to delaying your citizenship application.
There are questions in most of the applicant’s minds who are applying for the green card i.e. Do you Need Translation for Green Card? Yes, only if your green card documents are not in the English language as USCIS only accepts documents that are in the English language.
What is the time taken by USCIS to process the application?
The time taken to process the citizenship application is the same for every applicant. Moreover, the time taken by USCIS to process the application form N-400 might vary depending on the mentioned conditions:
- Number of cases USCIS is handling,
- The USCIS office where are you filed your citizenship application
- Whether you filled your application Form N-400, Application for Naturalization correctly or not.
Below given is the summary of the average time taken by USCIS for every step of the Naturalization process:
Step 1: Average time taken by the USA used to process your naturalization application Form N-400: 8 Months
Step 2: Time taken after processing of Naturalization application to attend the biometric appointment: + few weeks (average)
Step 3: average time taken to attend the citizenship interview and exam: Additional 4 months
Step 4. USCIS decides on your application: +0–4
Step 4: average time taken by USCIS to make the decision on your application: + 0-4 months
Step 5: the time taken for undergoing oath of allegiance and get the certificate of Naturalization: +0 to 1.5 months
This means the average time taken by USCIS to provide you with US citizenship is somewhere in between (12 months (1 year) to 17.5 months (1.5 years)
The above-given processing times are just estimates. They do not include any possible delays, which may happen while filing the application for Naturalization. In this guide, we’ll discuss everything in detail regarding which thing can impact your application.
Also, the process of your Naturalization depends on where you live. This is because there is several USCIS office which processes the nationalization application quicker than any other centers.
Getting the application approved for the first time is one of the perfect ways which ensures that you undergo the journey from lawful permanent resident to US citizenship quickly. No doubt many people make mistakes while filling the application; it’s not just about meeting the eligibility criteria, but you are also required to be alert while filling the application form for Naturalization. However, do you know even a single mistake can lead to the rejection of her application this means USCIS is too strict about its guidelines
If you want to visit to the United States to meet your relatives and family member but do not have an intention to live for long, you can apply for Non-immigrant visa USCIS.
Step 1. USCIS processes your Application for Naturalization – (6-10 months after you file Form N-400)
The first step involved in US citizenship requires an estimate of 6 to 10 months to get processed. Your application process can be faster, or either it can be slower. It depends on the place where you live. Form N-400, Application for Naturalization processing time means the time from when you applied to when you attended the oath of allegiance ceremony.
Your application process will be started once you send the US citizenship application and supporting document to the USCIS. The faster you fill the application form and attach the supporting documents, the faster are the possibility that you will send your application to the USCIS, and sooner they will review your application.
Before you send the application to the USCIS, you need to make sure that your application is complete. This means that you have filled all the details correctly and your supporting documents are attached in the right format as asked by the USCIS.
Also, make sure that all your documents are in English; if not, it’s better to hire a certified translation service to get your entire document translated into English. This is also why your application might get delayed, so you already get prepared for them when thinking about the estimated time taken by your Citizenship application to get processed. Even a single mistake while preparing the application forms will take a longer time to process your naturalization application.
If you submitted the N-400, Application for Naturalization, to USCIS in the right format, they would provide you with the letter. This letter (also called form N- 797c, notice of action) informs that they have accepted your application. After submitting the application form N-400, you will receive the letter within 2 – 3 weeks.
In case you made a mistake while filling the form. N– 400 or if you did not pay the application fee, USCIS will respond by sending the form I-797c to inform you that they have rejected your application.
However, USCIS might also send you the request for evidence if they feel the need to ask for some additional documents. These are some of the notice which might delay your application. So it’s important to be careful and file the application correctly for the first time and attach all the required supporting documents.
Once you receive an I-797c notice from USCIS, keep it safe with yourself since this notice contains a ten-digit receipt number through which you can check your current case status. If you filed the application form two months ago and didn’t receive notice of action, you should submit a case inquiry.
Always keep in mind; if you change your mailing address, it’s better to update USCIS with your current mailing address. If you don’t do, you might miss some of the crucial notice sent by USCIS to your provided mailing address.
Step 2. Attend your biometrics appointment – (5-8 weeks after you file Form N-400)
In the next step, USCIS will send you the biometrics appointment notice. This notice will include your biometric appointment time, date and location. Your biometrics appointment centre will be located most of the time at the USCIS application support Centre nearest to your residential area. You will get the biometric appointment notice within 3 to 5 weeks once you have submitted the application form N– 400.
Biometrics is an important official term of the citizenship application process where your signature, photograph, and fingerprint are registered. USCIS use this thing to confirm your identity. Also, USCIS sends your registered fingerprint to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to undergo the background check to ensure that you have an amazing moral character.
While going for the biometric appointment, you should bring all the relevant supporting documents. If you miss any of them, you will have to attend the second biometric appointment, which might delay your application.
The document that you are required to bring to your biometrics appointment listed below:
- Must bring appointment letter that you have received from the USCIS after filing your application
- You need to bring the passport or national photo identification provided by your country
- You should also bring the valid driver license if you have
- You should bring the military photo identification document, if applicable.
- You need to bring the states issued photo identification card, if applicable.
- Apart from all these documents, you also need to bring the additional documents mentioned in the notice provided by USCIS.
USCIS might send you the second biometrics appointment, even after bringing the relevant documents during the first biometrics appointment. For example, FBI detects something strange and denies your fingerprint, then USCIS might send you the second notice for a biometrics appointment.
If the FBI denies your second biometrics, you must obtain the police clearance certificate. You need to obtain at least one clearance certificate from each country where you lived for more than six months in the last five years. Requesting for the police clearance certificate might take a long time so when the FBI rejects your biometrics, make sure you start requesting the police clearance certificate immediately.
At the time when USCIS and FBI manage your biometrics, you might get the request for evidence (RFE) from USCIS. It is that notice through which USCIS inform you that they require some of the additional documents. The additional document can be anything from court to the police record. It can also be some other document from the checklist. The moment you receive the RFE from USCIS, make sure you start gathering the document given in the RFE and send it to the USCIS as soon as possible.
Step 3. Attend your Citizenship interview and exam – (12-14 months after you file Form N-400)
Attend the Interview
Once you have completed your biometrics appointment, then USCIS will provide you another appointment notice. That notice will act as an invitation for attending the naturalization interview and exam. The notice will contain the time, location and the date when you require attending the interview. This notice will be provided to you by USCIS 4 to 8 months after you have submitted your application form N-400. USCIS will send this notice only once, so ensure that you have given the right mailing address while filling the application form.
The Naturalization interview and exam will be held within 14 months once you have filed the application form N-400. You have the option to ask for a rescheduling the interview and exam if you can’t make it to the scheduled date. However, it may add extra months to processing your US citizenship application if you apply for rescheduling your Naturalization interview. So it’s always a better option to anyhow attend the citizenship interview and exam at the initial scheduled date provided by USCIS.
If you wish to reschedule your citizenship interview date, you can do it by writing a letter to the USCIS center where your initial interview will take place. Once you have sent the letter to the office, they will provide you with another letter mentioning the new date of your citizenship interview. If you are rescheduling an interview, it’s your responsibility to inform USCIS regarding this. If you don’t do it, USCIS will pause your application. If you still do not contact USCIS within a year after they have paused your application process, they will reject your application. If this happens, you have to reapply for the US citizenship application from the first step, and also, you have to pay the fees again.
If your citizenship application exam is coming closer and you have still not prepared for your citizenship exam, then you should start preparing for it today itself. You don’t have to worry about preparing for the citizenship exam, as USCIS provides you with multiple resources on its website to prepare yourself for the exam and interview. Even a little preparation can help you pass the exam.
Take the exam
The Naturalization citizenship exam is categorized into two parts: the civics test and the English test. The first test will be of English language, and the second test will be about the history of the US government and how the US government works. The citizenship exam also held on the same day as your naturalization interview.
If you get passed in the citizenship exam, you will be taken to the next step of the naturalization process, i.e. Oath of loyalty. You can also undergo the oath and obtain citizenship on the same day.
If you failed in any of the exams, you would have to retake that part of the exam in which you did not pass to proceed to the Oath of Allegiance. In order to request for the retake the exam; you’ll have to keep waiting for 60 to 90 days which will delay the process of application. So, always ensure that you prepare for both exams (English language skills and civics test) and acquire the passing marks in the first attempt itself.
Step 4. USCIS takes the decision on your application – (12-16 months after filling form N-400)
Once your interview goes well, you obtained the passing marks in the exam, and USCIS does not require any additional documents from you; they might approve your application on the same day as your citizenship exam and interview. If not, USCIS will ask for some time to tell the final decision about your application. The estimated time taken by USCIS to decide on your application is 120 days after your interview and exam date. USCIS will provide you with the decision of your application by sending the form N-652, “Notice of Examination Results.”
Three things might happen in this situation:
- USCIS will either approve your application, and you will move forward to the next step.
- USCIS will continue your application.
Continue means that they will keep your application on hold for any of the below-mentioned reason:
- If you did not pass any of the citizenship exams. Then you will require requesting the retake of the exam of that part in which you did not pass. When you are going for the examination a second time, ensure that you have prepared for the examination well, as if you did not pass the second exam, USCIS will reject your citizenship application.
- The second reason USCIS may keep your application on hold is that you did not provide the required documents or information as asked by the USCIS. If this situation arises, USCIS will provide you with form N–14. In the form, they will mention everything that you need to provide. After you have received the form N–14, you might respond to the form within 30 days, as if you don’t do it, USCIS will reject your application.
- If USCIS rejects your application, they will send you the letter mentioning why they have rejected your application and what you can do now. If you think that USCIS has made a mistake, you can submit an appeal against the denial of your application after you have obtained the denial letter. After obtaining your appeal against the denial of the application, USCIS will schedule a hearing within 180 days. If USCIS officer inspecting your appeal denies your application, then you have another option. You can approach US District Court to review your case. It’s always a good option to get your application approved on the first try, as you will free from the stress of headaches and appeals.
- To do this, you will have to ensure that you have made all the preparation for the citizenship interview and exams and
- Provides all the information as requested by the USCIS regarding your citizenship application
Step 5. You take the Oath of Allegiance and obtain the Certificate of Naturalization! – (12-17.5 months after you file form N-400)
Finally, after reaching this step, means that you are very close to obtaining a US citizenship application.
Once you have passed the US citizenship exam and completed the citizenship interview well, you are just a step away from becoming the US citizen. The next step is to attend the Oath of allegiance at a Naturalization ceremony. After that, you can give up on your green card because you will be considered as legal US citizen.
One of the US government officials will manage the Oath at a naturalization ceremony.
You can become the US citizen on the day of the citizenship interview and exam only under one condition, if USCIS approves your application during the interview and Oath of Allegiance ceremony also might occur on the same day.
If not, USCIS will schedule the oath of ceremony within 2 to 6 weeks once you pass your citizenship exam. They will also send you the form N-445, notice of Naturalization ceremony, after 1-4 weeks of passing the exam. This form will include the time, date, and location of the Naturalization oath ceremony. At the formal ceremony, you will get the certificate of Naturalization.
If due to any of the reason, you can’t attend the oath of allegiance ceremony, you will have to send a letter asking for a fresh date and telling the reason for not attending the ceremony. It’s highly recommended not to skip the ceremony without informing the USCIS centre where your Oath ceremony was scheduled! If you miss attending the ceremony more than once, then USCIS will reject your application, and obviously, you do not want to get your application rejected after reaching this last stage of becoming a US citizen.
Important: Before leaving the ceremony place, it’s recommended to check the certificate of Naturalization for any errors.
Understanding USCIS processing time
US citizen and immigration service (USCIS) is the immigration agency that issues all the visa and immigration passes to the applicants and processes the citizenship application through Naturalization. USCIS get the request of more than thousands of applications every year, so they have introduced multiple offices across the United States to process the local application as soon as possible. When you request citizenship, USCIS forwards your citizenship application to that office nearest to your provided ZIP Code.
Each USCIS office gets several applications. The difference among them is there some office requires longer time to process the application than others. USCIS has updated the estimated processing time for every office online, and the time gets updated every month.
Nowadays, the number of pending applications has been doubled over the past four years, and its waiting time has been increased to a greater extent. Things have become even worse after the death of COVID-19. However, several cases take more than 20 months. So it’s always better to apply for citizenship application as soon as you get eligible.
After you have submitted application Form N-400, Application for naturalization, the complete process will take somewhere in between 12-17.5 months. Also, you can track the current case status using the receipt number. To get further details about receipt numbers you can check our Complete Guide of Receipt Number for USCIS.