After a decrease of US Citizenship applications during the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of green card holders choosing to naturalize is increasing. A new study was done by Pew Research Center and published last week that shows that over 900,000 immigrants became US Citizens during Oct. 1 2021 to Sept. 30, 2022 – the 2022 fiscal year.
The 2022 number of new US Citizens is highest since the fiscal year 2008, when over one million immigrants naturalized.
The report analyzed data from the Department of Homeland Security and the Census Bureau from the first three quarters of the year.
The record high numbers of naturalized citizenship coincides with a general rise in immigration and travel to the United States. In addition, a separate Pew report showed that there is a strong increase in the numbers of people adjusting status to permanent residence, receiving green cards, as well as an increase in student visas, tourist issues and other nonimmigrant visas being issued by United States.
Despite this positive data, the delays in US immigration processes are record high across the board. Some asylum seekers have been waiting for an Asylum interview to be scheduled for over 10 years (speaking from our firm’s experience just in November and December 2022). Many applicants for US Citizenship are still waiting for a naturalization interview, the backlog being of historical proportions, i.e. 673,000 as of the end of June 2022.
Green card holders from Europe and Asia (each 73%) are the most likely to become U.S. citizens, followed by immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa (72%), sub-Saharan Africa (66%), and Latin America (56%). Naturalizations among immigrants from these regions were up by between 15 and 26 percent compared to pre-pandemic averages.