Many people can see the benefits of becoming a United States citizen. Whether you want to live here because you have close family and friends in the United States or you just want to move here for improved living conditions, you will certainly have one important question on your mind while applying for citizenship: How long is this process going to take?

In the best of conditions and provided that you meet all the requirements, getting U.S. citizenship can take under one year or as long as several years. If you’re not a permanent resident already, however, you’ll first need to formally immigrate to the country and begin the process of becoming a legal permanent resident. In that case, your road to citizenship will be longer than this depending on your circumstances.

Becoming a permanent resident could take several years. Then, after obtaining permanent residency, future citizens may need to wait up to five years while maintaining a permanent presence in the United States without long absences. Once this permanent residency period is over, the naturalization process can begin. In cases where individuals are married or have worked as an active part of the U.S. Armed Forces, they may benefit from a much shorter road to citizenship.

Before you begin your application for naturalization, make sure that you meet the various requirements for citizenship. For example: Have you maintained U.S. residency for the required period?

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your desire to become a United States citizen, learn about the various strategies available to you and your family and move forward with the most appropriate one for your needs.