The wait time for immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship has increased significantly over the past few years. On average, it now takes 10 months for a legal resident to become a citizen, up from about five months in 2014. In the city of Los Angeles, the processing time for an Application for Naturalization (N-400) form is currently estimated to be 9.5 to 15.5 months. Wait times are similar across other service centers throughout California. According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), N-400 citizenship applications have increased sharply in recent years.
Immigration law and immigration priorities have changed dramatically under the Trump administration, and citizenship is not an exception. N-400 forms are receiving more scrutiny, fewer staff resources, and increased denial rates, effectively making the citizenship process slower and more difficult. According to one research analysis, the rate at which citizenship applications are being processed is at its slowest level in at least 10 years. Combine that with an increased number of applications and you have a recipe for long delays.
About nine million immigrants are currently eligible for U.S. citizenship. In most circumstances, United States citizenship is available to adults who have been a legal permanent resident for at least five years. The benefits of citizenship are immense.
- Voting rights
- Ability to travel abroad without time restrictions or limits
- Ability to sponsor additional family members for a green card
- Additional protections from deportation
- Access to Social Security benefits
Staffing at USCIS offices is not likely to grow significantly, if at all, under the current administration. If you or a loved one has considered becoming a U.S. citizen, filing your N-400 form as quickly and as accurately as possible is recommended. An experienced immigration lawyer can help. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has been helping permanent residents become United States citizens for 35 years. For a free citizenship consultation, call our offices today at 888-517-9888.