Naturalization in the US was a two step process from 1790 through at least the mid 1900s (I don't know how it works now). The first step was filing a Declaration of Intention which could be done after living in the US for two years. Three years after filing the declaration you could file a Petition for Naturalization. You became a citizen when the petition was granted.
I have found both the Declaration of Intention and Petition for Naturalization for three ancestors. Two of them waited significantly longer than three years to file their petition.
- Joseph Basista waited three years: Declaration in 1923 and Petition in 1926.
- Joseph Yurkiewicz waited six years: Declaration in 1917 and Petition in 1923.
- Stephan Bazarnicki waited nine years: Declaration in 1894 and Petition in 1903.
Why would Joseph, and especially Stephan, wait so long to file their petitions? Was this normal? Were the advantages to being naturalized not big enough to feel an urgency? Were there conditions or exceptions that could delay their ability to file the petition? I don't mean conditions such as being stranded on an island but perhaps requirements that needed to be met in addition to living in the US for those three years.