There has been a drastic increase in the number of immigrants applying to become a U.S. citizen. But unfortunately, the path to citizenship hasn’t been easy for many. Immigrants have been encountering many challenges in the naturalization process, especially due to the spread of COVID-19.
Challenges with Becoming a U.S. Citizen
Immigrants have been facing longer processing times, higher fees, and more intensive vetting. The Department of Justice also recently created the denaturalization section early this year, making it possible for people to lose their citizenship. Although the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reopened its offices, it’s still struggling with a budget crisis caused by the recent health pandemic. They are also struggling to keep up with the naturalization backlog.
The USCIS backlog is affecting many immigrants who were hoping to vote in the upcoming presidential elections. More than 300,000 immigrants have been affected by the naturalization backlog.
To apply for U.S. citizenship, a person must be 18 years or older, and they must have been a permanent resident for at least five years. Those married to a U.S. citizen for more than three years also qualify for naturalization. Once a person applies for naturalization, they can expect to wait eight to nine months on average before they become a citizen. That is nearly double the amount of time is used to take a few years ago. In states like Seattle and Miami, the wait time is nearly two years.
Why Is It More Challenging to Become a U.S. Citizen?
One of the contributions to the delay in becoming a U.S. citizen is due to “extreme vetting.” The extreme vetting policy requires the USCIS to interview people to ensure that they are the person they’ve claimed to be. Although their goal is to root out fraud, it significantly impacts the naturalization process for many immigrants.
If you need legal guidance with your immigration or naturalization case, our team at Perdomo Dorsett Immigration Law is here to help you. Contact our Dallas immigration attorneys today at (214) 516-7776 to schedule a consultation!