How Long Does It Take to Become a U.S. Citizen?

Becoming a United States citizen may take several years, depending on your individual situation. If the person seeking citizenship is married to a citizen, their wait may be as few as three years. However, if they must first complete the legal residency requirements, the wait might extend to five years or more to become a United States citizen.

If the person does not acquire citizenship through a parent or spouse, and needs to establish residency, they should expect the process to take between six and eight years from start to finish. If the person does not need to establish residency, the process may take from one to five years, depending on the qualifications needed.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the time it takes to become a United States citizen can vary widely, based on individual circumstances. For example, to become a citizen after birth, people need either to be naturalized or acquire citizenship through their parents. The naturalization process requires that they apply for U.S. residency, live in the United States for at least five years, and then complete the citizenship application process, which can take up to a year. They will then need to take a citizenship test and be sworn in as a United States citizen.