You have submitted an application for Naturalization to become an U.S. Citizen. It has been over a year since filing, and there is still no progress on your case. Why is it taking so long for USCIS to review the application and to schedule an interview? Apparently, USCIS is not the one to blame for the extremely long processing times of some of Naturalization applications. USCIS cannot process anyone’s application without prior review of the applicant’s complete immigration file (“A-File”). The paper files are stored in the Federal Records Centers (FRCs) in Kansas City, Missouri, which consist of miles-long manmade caves, built underneath Kansas City metropolitan area. For much of the COVID-19 pandemic, these centers were closed and were not processing USCIS’ requests for immigration files. And without files the USCIS could not adjudicate applications. This has created a huge disparity in case processing times, since applicants whose A-files were not located in the FRCs, were lucky enough to not experience these delays. Consequently, some cases are adjudicated very quickly, while others show no movement.
A couple of months ago, this situation caught the attention of Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), who sent a letter to President Biden asking the administration to fully reopen FRCs. In the letter, Budd noted that prior to the pandemic the FRCs in Kansas City were able to provide USCIS with estimated 62,000 immigration files each month, but currently only about 11,000 files are handed over to USCIS per month.
This situation dramatically increased processing times of Naturalization applications, and it appears it will take many more moths to clear the backlog, first at the FRCs’ level, and then with USCIS.
If you have any questions about Naturalization process, please contact the attorneys of Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan at 312-427-6163 to schedule a consultation.