For immigrants, becoming a citizen of the country they live in can be an important milestone, guaranteeing certain rights and opening the doors to a new way of participating in civil life. If you’re considering moving abroad definitively or applying to citizenship in a country you’re already living in, you might be wondering: How long does it take to get citizenship?
In this post, we’ll compare how long it takes to become a citizen in four countries: the US, Macedonia, Switzerland, and Peru.
This is a comprehensive article on how to obtain U.S Citizenship. If you would like to get a more in-depth information on how to gain citizenship from other countries, check out this index below!
- How to Get Italian Citizenship
- How to Get German Citizenship
- How to Get Japanese Citizenship
- How to Get Israeli Citizenship
- How to Get Russian Citizenship
How Long Does It Take to Become a US Citizen?
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, in 2018, 756.800 new US citizens naturalized. Aside from how valuable is the citizenship itself to those living on US soil, it’s worth mentioning that a US Passport is one of the most powerful worldwide, since it allows entry to nearly every country in the world, bypassing visa checks. Thousands of people apply yearly to US citizenship, looking to achieve the American Dream. In recent years, there have been complaints about very long and convoluted application and preselection processes, since some immigration protocols have been tightened in recent years.
Making no mistakes when filling the application is very important since the naturalization process takes longer every time it’s reinitiated. Along with application forms, candidates will need to provide certain documentation. If the required documents are not in English, the services of a certified translator will be needed. Missing (or mistranslated) documentation or information will make the process take longer.
Let’s say we want to apply for US citizenship as a foreign resident. First, USCIS will process our application for naturalization (Form N-400) which takes around 8 months. The next step will be a biometrics appointment. Then, 4 months later, we must attend a citizenship interview and an exam. If we’re yet to master the English language, it’ll be best to attend this interview with an interpreter. The decision on our application can take an additional 4 months. If it’s positive we can take the Oath of Allegiance, and in around 1.5 months receive our Certificate of Naturalization. We can conclude that the average total time to naturalize is between 12 and 17.5 months.
But, what about the rest of the world? In some countries, the naturalization process is difficult, and in order to apply, foreigners must meet a series of very challenging requirements. On the other hand, some nations have a fast and smooth naturalization process, as a way to develop their industries, attracting foreign talent and investment.
Getting a Citizenship in Macedonia
The Foreigners Act allows foreign individuals to settle and start a business in North Macedonia or just work as self-employed. For them, a temporary residence permit and personal work permit are issued. A detailed business plan and proof of financial means are also required to stay in the country. The permits are issued in less than 6 months and are extended for as long as you do business and meet a certain income level. After residing in Macedonia for eight continuous years, you qualify for citizenship. Macedonian language skills and knowledge of the country’s history, values, and culture are also required to become a full citizen. It’s not necessary to renounce your previous citizenship to apply.
Becoming a Swiss Citizen
It is possible to obtain Swiss citizenship through marriage or through the C permit that allows you to live and work in the country. The naturalization process for individuals requires five years of continuous residence if you’re a European Union/U.S./Canadian national, and 10 years for the rest of the world. The application can take up to 12 months independently of the way you choose to apply. The process’ fees (1000 CHF on average) and exact duration may vary between Cantons. This country also allows you to have dual citizenship.
Peru’s Fast Citizenship Application Process
The requirements to obtain Peruvian citizenship include being at least 18 years old, having 2 years of legal residence in Peru, and having spent at least 183 days per year in the country. Interpol, health and tax documentation is also needed, as well as a birth certificate translated by a qualified translator. To finish the process successfully you also need a sworn application letter sent to the President of Perú, since he is the only one allowed to grant citizenship to foreign individuals. Once these steps of the process have been overcome, you’ll need to take an exam with questions about Peruvian culture and history.
While the Peruvian government determines that the process ought to take one year, it can be even faster.
So, How Long Does it Take to Get a Citizenship?
Citizenships usually take from one to two years, if we only count the process itself. We should also consider the time of residency we’ll need to qualify for an application, as well as any extra time we spend collecting and preparing relevant documentation. Something’s for certain: Understanding the process and what to expect, as well as having legal and linguistic assistance can guarantee a more dynamic application that doesn’t take a day more than it should.