When you decide to become a U.S. citizen, it is important to understand how long the process could take. As with anything involving immigration, you should expect to have to spend quite a bit of time waiting.
You also must go through various steps to reach the end of the process, which can vary how long it will last. The government does not have a solid timeline for how long the citizenship process takes, but you may be able to estimate based on how long it will take you for each part of the process.
A 5-year wait
You cannot start the process of becoming a U.S. citizen until you have been in the country for at least five years. You also need to have your green card first and hold it for at least five years or three years if your spouse is a citizen.
To become a U.S. citizen, you also need to have basic English skills. Your writing, reading, and speaking of the language must be adequate enough to go through interviews and testing. Learning English can take some extra time, and you cannot begin the process until you do it.
The lengthy 10-step process
Once you are ready, you can start the actual process, which requires going through 10 steps. You will have to complete testing, undergo an interview and fill out paperwork. You will need to do these things according to the schedule of your immigration office, and you will want to factor in study time. The estimate for how long the process will take is two years, but depending on the system, it could take more time.