Each year, thousands of green card holders apply for citizenship in the United States. They’ve waited years to reach this step, and likely have one question left on their minds: how much longer?
There are several steps from the time a permanent resident applies for citizenship to the day they receive their Certificate of Naturalization. Here are the stages involved, including the average wait time for each one:
- Application for naturalization: 10 months
This involves the filing and review of your N-400 form. For Chicago specifically, this step currently takes seven to 15 months. Before submitting your form, you should double check that all information is correct and supporting documents are included. It’s important that you have everything translated to English, too.
- Biometrics appointment: 0 extra months
Your biometrics appointment is typically scheduled about a month after your application is received. You will get a letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) specifying the date and location. At the appointment, an USCIS agent will collect your fingerprints, photo and signature. These will be used to verify your identity and conduct a background check.
- Citizenship interview and exam: 4 months
On average, USCIS schedules your citizenship interview and exam about 14 months after they receive your application. Both usually take place on the same day at the same location. Again, you will receive a letter detailing the date and location, as well as the documents you need to bring.
- Application outcome: 0-4 months
USCIS will either approve, continue or deny your application. Typically, they will continue it if you did not pass the exam or provide correct information. If they continue or deny it, you have 30 days to respond or file an appeal.
- Oath and certificate: 0-1.5 months
After your application is approved, it’s time for the final step of the process. Your naturalization ceremony will usually take place within a few weeks of your approval. At the ceremony, you will take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and receive your Certificate of Naturalization.
The naturalization process can feel quite long. However, it is the final wait before you’re officially a citizen. Soon, you can join the millions of people who became naturalized citizens – and gain full rights to vote and participate in our democracy.