Naturalized Citizenship:

Processing Time for Applications at INS' Brooklyn, New York, Office

GGD-86-66FS: Published: Apr 30, 1986. Publicly Released: May 30, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO gathered information about the naturalization process for granting U.S. citizenship to aliens, specifically the time it takes for the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) Brooklyn, New York, office to process aliens' citizenship applications compared to the processing time in other INS offices.

GAO reviewed 250 case files that the INS Brooklyn office had scheduled for interviews in February 1986 and calculated the average number of months from the application date to the scheduled interview date. The Brooklyn office's processing time was about 7.5 months, compared to an average of about 4 months at most of the other offices analyzed. GAO found that the Brooklyn office took longer to process applications because it: (1) does not have a computer-assisted processing system; (2) experienced a larger increase in applications than the other offices surveyed; and (3) could not assign additional staff due to its limited office space. GAO noted that the Brooklyn office feels that it will reduce its average processing time because: (1) the number of applications in the New York district during the first 4 months of fiscal year (FY) 1986 was about 20 percent less than for a similar period in FY 1985; (2) INS plans to move its Brooklyn office to a new location with more office space and assign five additional persons to process applications; and (3) the Brooklyn office is scheduled to complete its conversion to a computer-assisted processing system in April 1986.

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