Feb 15 2008
Naturalization Backlog May Take Three Years to Clear Up
According to a recently published report by the Migration Policy Institute, it may take USCIS nearly three years to clear the naturalization backlog caused by an increase in applications received last summer. During the three summer months of 2007, USCIS received a total of 737,223 applications, three times the amount received during the same period the prior year. In October 2007, nearly 1 million naturalization applications were pending. Because of this surge in applications, the processing times for naturalization applications, according to USCIS has more than doubled. Applications filed during the summer of 2007 will take roughly 16 to 18 months to adjudicate, compared to a 6 to 7 month processing time period for applications filed in 2006.
USCIS officials believe this surge in applications is due to a number of reasons, including citizenship campaigns launched throughout the U.S., the heated political climate revolving around the immigration issue and the upcoming presidential elections. To counteract the effects of the surge, USCIS has expanded work hours for its employees and hired additional staff. USCIS also plans to hire an additional 1,800 employees (including retired USCIS staff) to assist in managing the naturalization backlog.