18 September 2006

USCIS hits Citizenship processing targets

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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it has eliminated the backlog for the N-400 Naturalization Application.

Having completed some 342,290 backlogged cases, the average processing times for the processing of citizenship applications has fallen from a high of 14 months in February 2004 to 5 months, but USCIS said the total number of pending cases that exceeded the six-month wait period fell from 3.8 million in January 2004 to 1.1 million in July this year.

Nearly 1 million applications will still be outstanding at the start of October, but the agency considers these outside its control because they are awaiting feedback from other agencies such as the FBI, or information or documents from applicants.

“Our work takes on significance beyond other government benefits," said USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez.

"What we do is more than just numbers, applications and forms. The services we provide profoundly affect people’s lives.

"By eliminating the Naturalization backlog, we provide those who aspire to become Americans with an invaluable opportunity to contribute back to our Nation.”

The announcement comes after President George W Bush asked the agency in July 2001 to establish a six-month standard from start to finish for processing immigration applications.

The offices with the biggest numbers of backlogs are New York, Miami and Atlanta.

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