According to a recent study on naturalization in the United States, the backlog for receiving citizenship has increased drastically over the past three years, with wait times almost doubling during that period. After individuals have spent over a decade legally living in the U.S., the increased wait time is only further delaying their ability to vote and gain the other rights that citizens enjoy.
Generally, federal law considers 180 days or six months a reasonable time for U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process applications. Federal government agencies typically start referring to “backlogs” when the wait for processing applications exceeds six months. As of September 17, 2019, however, the backlog of applications for naturalization numbered more than 700,000. The average wait time for processing of naturalization applications now stands at ten to 18 months, depending on which field office has the applications for processing.
Some variables also appear to affect both the length of the waiting periods and the outcome of the applications. For instance, noncitizens serving in the military have longer wait times and higher denial rates. If USCIS flags applications for national security, they may pend indefinitely. During these extensive waiting periods, applicants and their attorneys cannot typically obtain any information about the status of their applications or their estimated remaining waiting time.
In response to this massive backlog, which exists not only concerning naturalization applications, but also other types of applications, USCIS intends to add more offices and increase staff numbers. However, a spokesperson stated that expediting applications any further would compromise the accuracy of the approval process.
No matter the type of immigration issue you are facing, the skilled and knowledgeable immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland are here to assist you. We handle many different types of immigration cases every day and have the kind of strategic experience and skills that are necessary to reach the desired outcome. By calling our office as quickly as possible after your legal issue arises, we will have the best opportunity to resolve your immigration law case successfully.