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How long does naturalization take?

You want to immigrate and become a U.S. citizen. It has always been a dream of yours. However, you have heard that it takes a long time, and it’s a bit concerning to you. How long will it really take?

This is a fairly complex process. The short answer is that it averages out to more than a year. It’s generally going to take anywhere from 14 months to 19.5 months. That’s roughly 1.2 years to 1.5 years.

How does it take so long? Well, it starts with a long wait time. Just the application processing time after you initially send in that application can be 10 months. That’s the average, so it could even take longer. You might apply and the government may not even process it for a year. Don’t think this is an overnight process.

The processing time is not the end of it. You also need to go to a biometrics appointment, go to a citizenship interview, take a citizenship exam, receive an application decision, take the Oath of Allegiance and get your official Certificate of Naturalization. Some of these steps go quickly, while others can add months to the timeline.

All of that is just if things go smoothly. If you run into any problems or snags along the way, it can extend things even farther and may make it take longer than the 14-month average.

This isn’t to dissuade you from your decision, but you need to know what the process looks like so that you can have the right expectations and so you can take the time to look into the specific legal steps that are necessary.

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