Form N-600 Processing TimeWhat Happens After Filing Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship
1. Receipt of Application
Approximately 2 to 4 Weeks After Filing
If you properly file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, USCIS will initially respond by mailing you a receipt notice that confirms receipt of your application. Formally known as Form I-797C, Notice of Action (see example below), the receipt notice typically arrives 2 to 4 weeks after filing. If you did not properly file your Form N-600, USCIS will send a Notice of Action to reject the application. A rejection will significantly delay your request and overall N-600 processing time. Thus, it's important to prepare the citizenship document replacement application package correctly and submit all required supporting documents. Learn how.
N-600 Rejection Statistics
Source: USCIS FY22
2. Biometrics Appointment
Approximately 5 to 8 Weeks After Filing
Next, USCIS mails an appointment notice that assigns your biometrics appointment date, time and location. (The location will generally be the USCIS Application Support Center nearest you.) USCIS requires applicants to be fingerprinted for the purpose of conducting a security clearance and criminal background check. Don’t be alarmed — All applicants must have background checks.
The USCIS biometrics appointment, also known as a biometric screening, is generally a short appointment (less than 20 minutes) so that USCIS can collect your fingerprints, photograph and signature. Your appointment notice will tell you what you need to take to the appointment. Expect to take some form of government-issued photo identification to enter the building. USCIS can accept ID documents such as:
- Passport or national photo identification issued by your country
- Driver’s license
- Military photo identification
- State-issued photo identification card
This is not an interview. The appointment’s purpose is to collect your biometrics information only. Try to attend the appointment as scheduled. Rescheduling the biometrics appointment will lengthen your the N-600 processing time. If you think you might have a criminal record (even a DUI), contact an immigration lawyer before going to a biometrics appointment. Some crimes will make you ineligible for immigration benefits.
N-600 Historical Processing Times at USCIS
The graph below illustrates median processing times (in months) for the previous 10 fiscal years. Currently, USCIS reports N-600 processing times are within a reasonable range. However, most cases appear to be taking much longer.
3. N-600 Interview
Approximately 8 to 14 Months After Filing
Generally, USCIS requires applicants who file Form N-600 to appear for an in-person interview. However, USCIS may waive the N-600 interview at their discretion. USCIS will determine, based on the evidence submitted in support of your request for a Certificate of Citizenship, whether you are required to appear for an N-600 interview. USCIS may waive the interview requirement if all the required documentation necessary to establish the applicant’s eligibility is already included in USCIS administrative records, or if the application is accompanied by one of the following:
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240);
- Applicant’s unexpired U.S. passport issued initially for a full 5 or 10-year period; or
- Certificate of Naturalization of the applicant’s parent or parents.
Review your appointment notice for specific guidance on documents to take to your interview. Generally, you should always take original documents of the copies you submitted when you filed your Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship. In addition, take any other supporting documents that will establish your eligibility. Remember, if you are taking a foreign language document, you must obtain a certified translation in English.
N-600 Backlog Report
The graph below shows the number of open cases at the end of each fiscal year. There is an unprecedented number of N-600 cases in the backlog. If unaddressed by USCIS, more backlog can contribute to longer processing times for future applicants.
4. Receive Your Certificate of Citizenship
Approximately 9 to 14 Months After Filing
Assuming that USCIS approves your Form N-600, they will likely schedule you to take the Oath of Allegiance. In many cases, the Oath ceremony may be conducted on the same day as the interview. However, the USCIS office may have to schedule you for a later date. If you are under the age of 14, you may not be required to take the Oath of Allegiance. Upon approval of the N-600 application and taking the Oath (if applicable), USCIS will issue you a Certificate of Citizenship.
Once approved, USCIS will mail your Certificate of Citizenship. Make sure you use a reliable mail address on the application. Your certificate is proof of U.S. citizenship and can be used to apply for a U.S. passport.
Total N-600 Processing Time
Submitting your Application for Certificate of Citizenship is a big moment, but then the waiting begins. You’re probably anxious to know what happens after filing Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and how long it takes to receive the certificate.
Although the steps that take place are fairly consistent, the Form N-600 processing time will vary based on the USCIS case load, the USCIS office where you filed, and your ability to properly file an accurately prepared citizenship certificate application package. You only have control over the preparation.
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