The Washington Post ran an interesting article recently titled: “Immigrants seeking citizenship face growing longer wait times for their applications”.
The article starts out by letting the reader know that “more than 700,000 immigrants are waiting on applications to become U.S. citizens, a process that once took about six months but has stretched to more than two years in some places under the Trump administration.”
“The number of immigrants aspiring to become U.S. citizens surged during 2016, increasing 27 percent from a year earlier as Trump made cracking down on immigration a central theme of his campaign.
At first, the government kept up with the applications, but then the wait grew.
Backlogs are nothing new in the U.S. immigration system. It often takes years to receive asylum or to be deported. But naturalization — the final step to become a citizen, obtain a U.S. passport and receive voting rights — had not been subject to such delays in recent years.
Now the average wait time for applications is more than 10 months. It takes up to 22 months in Atlanta and as long as 26 months in parts of Texas according to official estimates.”
“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said the longer waits to naturalize are because of the surge in applications, not slower processing. The agency decided 850,000 cases in 2017, up 8 percent from a year before.
Despite “a record and unprecedented” spike in applications, the agency is operating more efficiently and effectively and “outperforming itself,” spokesman Michael Bars said in a statement.”
“Citizenship applications typically rise before an increase in filing fees and during presidential election years as immigrants get excited about the prospect of voting and advocacy groups conduct widespread outreach to get more eligible voters to the polls.”
Wait times are varying by region in the United States. In Sacramento California the wait time is currently about 6 months. San Francisco’s wait time is about a year. San Jose’s wait time is about 9 months. These time periods will likely change over the next year or two.
I expect the wait times in these areas (as well as many other places in the country) to increase over the next two years.
However, despite the wait time, many people want to apply to become U.S. Citizens. If you are considering applying to become a U.S. Citizen you should read our popular blog post titled: ” 10 reasons to become a naturalized U.S. Citizen.”
Lawrence Gruner is an immigration attorney with over 20 years of experience handling immigration cases including fiance visa cases, marriage green card cases and naturalization cases. His office handles cases in California, the United States, and the World. He would be happy to consult with you about your immigration case. He may be reached at 888-801-6558 or firstname.lastname@example.org