The established time frame for a decision on your naturalization or citizenship case after an interview is 120 days
The interview is an important part of the naturalization or citizenship application process.
If you’ve already conducted your interview, you may be wondering what comes next.
How long does it take US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review a case?
That’s what we’re here to discuss. We’ll share the approximate time you can expect a USCIS decision, what to do if your case takes longer and the possible outcomes following your interview.
Plus, we’ll explain how our knowledgeable lawyers at Spar & Bernstein can help you if your decision is delayed.
How Long Does It Take USCIS To Review Your Case?
To issue a decision after your naturalization or citizenship interview, the USCIS has 120 days.
To decide on your case, USCIS uses:
- Governing policies
- Precedent decisions
In some situations, your case may take longer. Keep in mind that the delay may be due to various reasons that are not directly associated with you.
If the USCIS does not issue a decision within 120 days of your interview, you can request a judicial review of your application in district court.
(How) Can You Expedite USCIS Decision After An Interview?
Although there is no law compelling USCIS to process your application faster, requesting expedited processing may be possible, in some cases.
Such situations include:
- Emergency situations that require you to become a citizen quickly, such as a serious illness needing treatment
- Severe financial loss to you and your business if your case is delayed, such as the expiration of your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
- Humanitarian reasons such as a war
- Denial of a past application or delay of a current application, due to mistake
- A request by the Department of Defense or a government agency to expedite your case as a matter of national interest
To request expedited processing:
- Send a letter to your local USCIS field office
- Call the USCIS Contact Center
- Contact our knowledgeable immigration lawyers at Spar & Bernstein
Note that it is your responsibility to provide evidence supporting the reasons for your request and that it is entirely up to USCIS to agree to speed up your application, or to deny your request.
To decide if a request for expedited processing is possible or worthwhile in your situation, contact our experienced immigration lawyers at Spar & Bernstein.
What To Do If Your Case Takes Longer Than 120 Days
If your case takes longer than 120 days, you may:
- File a mandamus
- Request a judicial review of your application by the US Federal District Court in your area
Filing A Mandamus
A mandamus, or a writ of mandamus, is a civil action lawsuit that aims to push a government entity to act on a case where it is legally obligated to take action.
If your case is delayed after an interview for longer than 120 days, a mandamus can help you push the bureaucratic process to move it along.
A mandamus is filed with the court. In this case, the judge will not review your application but will order USCIS to make a decision.
Preparing and filing a mandamus is a complicated legal process that you will not be able to do on your own.
The knowledgeable immigration attorneys at Spar & Bernstein can help you draft and file your petition, making sure your case is no longer neglected and your case is acted upon.
Requesting A Judicial Review
If USCIS does not act upon your case after your lawyers have filed a mandamus, you may request a judicial review of your application by the federal district court where you reside.
Based on the court’s own findings and the applicable laws and regulations, the court may:
- Approve your application
- Deny your application
- Send your case back to USCIS so they can decide on your application
Take into consideration that involving the Federal Court would heavily depend on the circumstances and facts of your individual case.
What Are The Naturalization & Citizenship Interview Results You Can Expect?
Here are the possible outcomes after your naturalization or citizenship interview.
Your Case Is Approved
If your application is approved, USCIS officers will conduct internal procedures to re-verify your approved application for quality. The re-verification officer is different from the officer who conducted your interview. They cannot change the outcome, but they may raise questions related to your eligibility.
If the re-verification process does not find any disqualifying information, USCIS will notify you to appear at an Oath of Allegiance ceremony.
If the re-verification process finds disqualifying information, USCIS will not schedule you for an Oath of Allegiance ceremony.
If you are found ineligible for naturalization and USCIS cannot resolve your disqualifying information, the officers will issue a motion to reopen and re-adjudicate the naturalization application.
Your Case Is Continued
Your case is continued when USCIS needs additional information or you have failed a part of your naturalization test.
If your case is continued:
- You will be asked to provide additional evidence
- You will be scheduled for a subsequent re-examination
If you receive a written Request for Evidence, you will typically have 30 days to provide the information required.
The Request for Evidence will include information about:
- The specific information or documentation you must provide
- How to respond
- The time in which you must reply
If you submit the requested evidence on time, USCIS will decide on your eligibility.
If you don’t submit the requested information on time, USCIS will make a decision on your application based on the evidence they have.
To resolve any ineligibility issues, you will be scheduled for re-examination.
Re-examination is also mandatory, if you have failed a part of your naturalization test. In this case, you will receive a second opportunity to pass the test within 60 to 90 days after your initial interview.
If you do not appear for re-examination when requested, your application will be denied.
Your Case Is Denied
Your naturalization application can be denied if you:
- Do not meet all eligibility criteria
- Are placed in removal proceedings, except for certain cases related to military service-based naturalization or cases when you were removed but reentered the country with proper authorization and documentation
Your written denial notice will provide information about:
- The facts on which your application was denied
- The eligibility requirements you failed to meet
- How you can request a hearing on the denial
The most common grounds for denial of your application include failure to prove:
- Lawful admission for permanent residence
- Physical presence
- Continuous residence
- Good moral character
- Lack of prosecution
- Knowledge of US history and government
- Understanding of the English language
How Spar & Bernstein Can Help You With Your Citizenship Or Naturalization Application
Waiting for your results after an interview can be extremely nerve-racking. Delays after the normal processing time can cause additional frustration and increase feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.
Our trusted immigration attorneys at Spar & Bernstein will help you overcome the stress and ensure you are heading in the right direction.
We have helped over 10,000 clients obtain immigration benefits and successfully resolve their cases.
If your naturalization or citizenship case is delayed after your interview, we will:
- Research your case
- Communicate with the authorities regarding your application
- Draft and file a mandamus to push USCIS to speed up their decision on your case
- Represent you in court if you request a judicial review of your application delay
- Represent you in court if your application was denied and you appeal the decision
- Prepare any additional documentation you may need
For more information, check out our video below on this topic:
Have Questions About How Long It Takes USCIS To Review Your Case? We Can Help!
USCIS must decide on your naturalization or citizenship application within 120 days after your interview.
You may speed up your application processing in some situations. You can also request expedited processing of your case, however, USCIS has no obligation to comply with your request.
After a naturalization or citizenship interview, your case can be:
- Continued, due to lack of information on your eligibility or failure of the interview test
If the process is delayed for more than 120 days, you can file a mandamus to push USCIS to act upon your case or request that the US Federal District Court in your area review your case.
The court can grant or deny your application or return it to USCIS for a final decision.
We know this process can be difficult, and that’s why our attorneys are here to help. Contact us at Spar & Bernstein for help throughout the entire process, along with peace of mind, knowing that we’re on your side and fighting for you.
We will research your case, help you check the status of your application, prepare the necessary documents in case of delay and represent you when needed.
Disclaimer: attorney advertisement. prior successful results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
Bradford H. Bernstein
This article was written and reviewed by Bradford H. Bernstein, a second-generation leader at Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., who has helped over 100,000 clients with immigration and personal injury issues. Brad joined the firm in 1993, became a partner in 1997, and assumed leadership in 2000 after Harry Spar retired.View Brad's Bio