The road to citizenship can be long enough without the added burden of living in remote areas. Here, longer distances and processing times add to the costs and the burdens. Rural citizenship applicants face unique challenges.
As experienced Austin, Texas citizenship attorneys, we help many people achieve their dreams every year. However, we are also aware of the potential pitfalls. The road is literally a long one if you are making a rural citizenship application.
An article in Daily Yonder revealed the additional hurdles people applying for naturalization face living in areas far from processing centers. You may not face these problems in big cities in Texas such as Dallas and Houston. However, the state has vast and remote areas where obstacles could discourage eligible residents from applying for citizenship.
The article quoted Stephanie Rickels from Cascade, Iowa. Rickels had to travel more than 180 miles to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Des Moines to complete the stages of the naturalization process.
USCIS has processing centers in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Harlingen and El Paso. Some applications face trips of hundreds of miles for visits.
The Daily Yonder article pointed out some states have just one processing office. In South Dakota, applicants could face traveling as far as 1,800 miles to get to an office.
In the article, Rickels described how her handprints and picture were taken at the Des Monies office. Her appointment lasted just 15 minutes after an 183-mile drive each way.
The second trip would involve an interview and a test and the third was the naturalization ceremony to officially become a U.S. citizen.
Rickels, a French national, was eligible for naturalization because she has been married to a U.S. citizen for years.
The article in Daily Yonder pointed out that as of 2014, about 6,125 new citizens lived in so-called “noncore counties” that lacked a city of 10,000 residents or more. However, more and more people are moving out to remote areas as property prices rise in the cities.
Rural Citizenship – Isolation is Not the Only Barrier
While living in a remote area can make your bid to become a U.S. citizen more onerous, it’s not the only obstacle many green card holders face.
According to the Pew Research Center, a survey of Hispanics found 26 percent of those questioned were held back due to personal reasons and 18 percent said they faced administrative barriers.
At Peek & Toland , our lawyers are willing to answer any difficult questions you may have about citizenship. It’s not a straightforward process and we can help your path to naturalization. To speak to an attorney, call us at (512) 474-4445.