Navigating the road to citizenship is never simple, but the difficulty of the process varies for many reasons—including where the immigrant seeking citizenship lives and works through the process. Although the process should theoretically be the same in any immigration office, that isn’t always the case.
A recent report from Boundless Immigration showed mounting barriers to citizenship.
Increased Obstacles in the Path to Citizenship
According to the report, the national average processing time for a citizenship application is currently about 10 months—twice the average processing time between 2012 and 2016. During the same period, the likelihood of denial has increased somewhat. In other words, applicants for citizenship nationwide are waiting longer for responses that are more likely to be negative.
Researchers aren’t optimistic about efficiency improvements in the foreseeable future since the government is facing a substantial backlog and is not processing those applications efficiently.
But, there is good news for Ohio immigrants seeking citizenship.
Cleveland Immigration Office Ranks #1 in Efficiency
Boundless Immigration ranked immigration offices in more than 100 cities, based on efficiency and speed of processing citizenship applications. The Cleveland office came in at number one, and an Ohio law professor called the office a model for how immigration offices are run. He attributed the difference, at least in part, to the efficiency and responsiveness of the Cleveland staff.
The Cleveland office processes applications for 40 counties in Northeast Ohio, including Cuyahoga and Lake counties.
Although Cleveland took top ranking, there’s good news for other Ohio immigrants as well. The Cincinnati office came in at number eight, and Columbus took eleventh place.
Cleveland Best Overall Metro Area for Immigrants Becoming Citizens
Cleveland didn’t just lead the pack in processing and efficiency but was also deemed the best overall metro area for immigrants becoming U.S. citizens. Two other Ohio metro areas—Columbus and Cincinnati—had the highest naturalization rates of eligible immigrants in the country.
Pursuing Citizenship in Ohio
The efficiency and high naturalization rates in Ohio bode well for local immigrants, who may be discouraged by national trends and uncertain whether the time is right to pursue U.S. citizenship. Eligible Ohio immigrants have good reason to be optimistic.
However, the process of applying for citizenship is complex, and small oversights and errors in applications and supporting documentation can bog down the process, or even result in a denial.
Working with an experienced local immigration attorney to assemble application materials and navigate the process can help avoid those pitfalls and keep the process moving forward as smoothly as possible.
The information presented in this post is not legal advice and does not form a lawyer/client relationship. Laws and circumstances can differ and change. Please contact us for a personal review of your situation