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The Growing Demand—and Waiting Time—to Become a Naturalized Citizen

Posted on in Immigration

Darien CT immigration citizenship attorneyU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been dealing with a record number of applications for U.S. citizenship by naturalization during the past few years. As a result, it is taking much longer for naturalization applications to be processed.

Growing Demand for U.S. Naturalization

The annual number of applications for naturalization received by USCIS rose from 783,000 in fiscal year 2015 to nearly one million in FY 2017, a 25 percent increase. Final figures are not yet available for FY 2018 (the 12 months ending on October 8, 2018). The first week of October marks the end of each USCIS fiscal year.

As a result of this increased demand for naturalization, it took an average of 10.2 months for an application for naturalization to be processed in FY 2018. This is nearly double the average processing time of 5.2 months reported in FY 2014.

Over the past few years, USCIS opened four new offices and expanded 10 others to handle the increased workload. However, there was an estimated backlog of over 750,000 applications at the end of FY 2018. Some critics have accused USCIS of taking too long to process each application due to the use of “extreme vetting” procedures. Despite the long waiting time, demand for naturalization has remained high. More than 750,000 immigrants became U.S. citizens during fiscal year 2018.

These long waiting times can become a problem for Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) who did not apply for citizenship as soon as they were eligible, which typically occurs five years after a person receives their green card. If you are nearing the end of your green card’s 10-year lifespan, you must be sure it is still valid at the time you take the oath of citizenship. 

USCIS rules state that you can apply for renewal of your LPR status six months prior to its expiration date. However, the reported processing time for green card renewals was 8.4 months in FY 2017 and 6.7 months in FY 2018. If you are concerned about your green card expiring before you are scheduled to take the citizenship oath, you may need to contact USCIS via their online messaging tool.

A Fairfield County, CT Citizenship Attorney

Before applying to become a naturalized citizen, consult an experienced Stamford naturalization lawyer. Gonzalez Law Office, LLC has been dedicated to providing family-based immigration and naturalization services for over 15 years. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure that your application is complete and accurate. Call us at 203-323-1440.





Fairfield County Bar Association Connecticut Bar Association American Immigration Lawyers Association Connecticut American Immigration Lawyers Association
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