An update on citizenship application delays due to COVID-19
On June 17, the New York Times reported that approximately 650,000 citizenship applications were pending in the first quarter of the 2020 fiscal year. When the USCIS shut down in person services at its offices on March 18, naturalization ceremonies were delayed and other citizenship delays took place as well. Now that some USCIS offices are reopening and holding socially distanced naturalization ceremonies, the citizenship process is resuming but there are still some citizenship delays taking place as not all USCIS offices are reopened for in person services yet.
In fact, some USCIS offices in states such as Alabama, California, Kentucky, and New York are still closed to the public. USCIS does state on its website that it will “send notices to applicants and petitioners to reschedule postponed naturalization ceremonies,” but does not give information as to how far out naturalization ceremonies could be postponed. The socially distanced style of naturalization ceremonies that are taking place also call for smaller groups than usual, meaning that less people can take part in the naturalization ceremonies. As the New York Times points out in its article, many of those going through the naturalization process when the COVID-19 outbreak shutdown occurred in early March had been on track to receive citizenship in time to vote in the 2020 election. If the USCIS is not able to make up for lost time, some of these applicants will not be able to vote in this year’s election.
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