How Long Will It Take to Become a US Citizen?
On average, it takes a little over 14 months to become a US citizen. However, it can take up to 24 months, depending on several factors. Below you’ll see the steps in the process and an estimate of how long each takes.
Step 1: Application for Naturalization
Becoming a U.S. citizen starts with an application process that typically takes about 14.5 months. You will send in an N-400 application form, along with a copy of your green card and any other required documents.
All documentation must be in English. If your supporting documents are in any other language, you will need a certified English translation.
To help prevent any delays or potential rejections, be sure to fill out the application fully and truthfully. Additionally, if you move during the application process, you will need to notify the USCIS.
At Espinoza Law Offices PA, our team of immigration attorneys in Lakeland Florida (Tampa area) can help you get the process started smoothly. We can walk you through each step and help ensure you meet each requirement and deadline.
Step 2: Biometrics Appointment
The next step is to submit fingerprints, photos, and your signature. After your application is received, you will get a “Notice of Action,” or Form 1-797C, with your appointment information.
It will advise you of any documentation you need to bring, such as your green card and a form of ID. It is vital that you take all of this with you to your appointment to prevent any delays.
Under most circumstances, you’ll only need to attend one appointment. At times, however, a second set of fingerprints may be required. If this is the case, you will receive another appointment letter.
Should your fingerprints be rejected again, your application might be denied. Contact Espinoza Law Offices PA, your immigration lawyers Lakeland FL (Tampa FL area), to help.
Step 3: Citizenship Interview and Exam
Next will be an interview that typically takes place around 14 months after the USCIS receives your application. You will receive a letter with the details of your interview, in addition to anything you need to bring along.
Often, you will take your citizenship exam on the same day. This is a combination of civics and English language skills. Failing the exam means that you will have to take it again within 60 to 90 days.
If you cannot attend your interview or exam on the specified date, it is crucial that you inform the USCIS in writing. They will then send you a new appointment time and date, but it may be months down the line.
It’s also important to note that if you do not notify the USCIS in advance that you cannot attend, they will pause your U.S. citizenship process. If you do not contact them within a year, your U.S. citizenship will automatically be denied, and you’ll have to restart the process.
Before taking such a chance, contact our immigration lawyer Lakeland Florida. At Espinoza Law Offices, we can help you keep things on track.
Step 4: Application Decision
In some cases, you might receive your application decision on the same day as your interview and exam. However, the USCIS has up to 120 days to make a decision.
Your application can either be approved, continued, or denied. If approved, you immediately begin moving to Step 5. If it is continued, that simply means it is on hold, generally for one of the following reasons:
* You did not turn in all the necessary documentation. The USCIS will send Form N-14 telling you what they need and where you should send it within 30 days.
* You didn’t pass your exam. You will receive a notice for another interview and testing opportunity. If you don’t pass the second time, your application is denied.
If your application is denied, you can file an appeal within 30 days. A hearing will be set to take place within 180 days. If you are denied again, you can ask to have your case reviewed by a U.S. District Court. Having immigration attorneys Tampa FL on your side can help ease the process.
Step 5: Oath of Allegiance and Certificate of Naturalization
If you pass your exam and interview, and your application is approved that day, your Oath of Allegiance might also happen on the same day. However, it could occur up to six weeks later if all requirements are not met on time.
Don’t take chances with your status as a US Citizen. Keep a lawyer Lakeland Florida on your team to help you stay on track and receive your citizenship as quickly as possible.
Becoming a U.S. citizen is exciting, but it can be an intimidating process. Our team of immigration lawyers in Lakeland FL (Tampa FL area) can help shoulder the challenge. Give Espinoza Law Offices PA a call to help get started.