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How long does it take to become a U.S. citizen?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2022 | Immigration

The path to becoming a U.S. citizen is not an easy one, but it is worth it in the end. One thing you may wonder before embarking on the journey is how long will it take from start to finish.

According to, it is difficult to give a solid timeline as the citizenship process can vary from person to person. Although, some estimates say it takes almost two years once you begin the process.

Waiting period

Before you begin the process to become a citizen, you do have to wait at least five years. Requirements state that you must hold a green card for at least five years before you can apply for citizenship. There is an exception if your spouse is a citizen. In that case, you only need to hold a green card for three years.

English requirement

Another thing that could slow down the process is that it is a requirement that you speak, read and write basic English. If your English skills need work, it can take time to get them where they need to be before you file.

The process

The actual naturalization process requires completing 10 steps. These include passing examinations, completing interviews and filling out paperwork. To take the exams and do the interview, you will have to schedule with the immigration office. Depending on when you can get in, these parts of the process can take a while. Add to that the fact you will want to study for the exams, which can take a while as well.

The issue with the timeline for becoming a U.S. citizen is that various steps in the process involve other people or agencies. You are at the mercy of their schedule on many occasions. Plus, there are things that generally just require time, like studying and learning English. So, while the basic estimate for the timeline is about two years, it could take much longer.