Los Angeles: Seven Muslims who have been waiting for years to become US citizens were notified that their applications have been approved.

The decision was made two months after they joined a lawsuit accusing immigration officials of illegally delaying background checks and allowing applications to linger indefinitely.

The settlement was announced by American Civil Liberties Union attorneys in Los Angeles who filed the suit on behalf of 10 Southern California Muslims who complained about the lengthy delays.

Attorney Ranjana Natarajan said the government did not explain the delays or why the applications were approved so quickly after the filing of the lawsuit. Marie Sebrechts, spokeswoman for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, declined to comment but said the agency is also frustrated by the lengthy delays.

Three other plaintiffs in the lawsuit are still waiting for approval, said Natarajan. Under an agreement reached with the government, the seven who were approved should be sworn in as citizens by November 30. In turn, they agreed to drop their cases against the government.

Mustafa Aziz, an Irvine resident, said he hopes to be sworn in earlier so he can vote in the November 7 election. Voters must register 15 days before an election, giving Aziz, 25, a window of about two weeks.