Filing and Interview

1.    Application Timeline

When does my time as a permanent resident begin?

Your time as a permanent resident begins on the date you were granted a permanent resident status. This date is on your Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as an Alien Registration Card or “Green Card”). The sample cards on this page show where you can find important information, such as the date when your permanent residence began.

I have had my green card for almost 5 years. Can I apply early?

Yes. You are allowed to apply for naturalization up to 90 days before the 5-year anniversary of the date when you became a legal permanent resident. You can find out the earliest date when you can apply by using the USCIS Calculator.

I have had my green card for 3 years, but I have been married to my US citizen spouse for less than 3 years. Can I apply?

No. To apply for naturalization based on marriage, you must have been married to and living with your US citizen spouse for 3 full years and have had your green card for 3 years. You should not file 90 days early if you have not been married for 3 full years.

I have had my green card for over 5 years, but I am not 18. Can I apply?

No. To apply for citizenship, you must be at least 18 years old. If you have had your green card for more than 5 years by the time you turn 18, you can send your application in on your 18th birthday, but no sooner. However, if one of your parents becomes aUS citizen before you turn 18, you may automatically become a citizen at the same time.

How long does the application process take?

From the time the application is submitted to the USCIS, the process takes on average 7 months until you are sworn in at your Oath Ceremony. During the pandemic of COVID-19, it takes longer – 9-12 months or even more. This varies between USCIS offices, so depending on where you live and where you will attend your naturalization interview, it may take a longer or shorter time. You can check case processing times on the USCIS website.

Can I travel while my application is pending?

Yes. However, it is very important that you do not miss any scheduled appointments. Although it is possible to reschedule a biometrics appointment or naturalization interview, you should try to keep the original appointment time. If you are planning on taking a trip, someone should check your mail and respond to any communications from the USCIS regarding your naturalization case.

If I get US citizenship, do I lose my home country citizenship?

It depends on your home country's laws. Your home country may still consider you a citizen even after you take the US oath. To find out the rules in your home country, check with its embassy or consulate in the US or elsewhere.

Additional answers can be found in other sections of our FAQ listed below:

  • Application Timeline
  • English and Civics
  • Gender Marker Change
  • Travel
  • Passport and Other Questions
  • Selective Service


If you did not find the answer you were looking for, you can sign up for a free personal consultation with our immigration specialist accredited by the US Immigration and Citizenship Services.

Also, please check if you are you eligible for US naturalization Sign up for a free test! In three minutes you will find out your eligibility.

Please click "next" to read FAQ: 2. English and Civics