USCIS Announces Evening and Weekend Naturalization Interviews
April 2, 2008
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun
holding weekend and after-hours interviews for individuals applying for
citizenship in some districts. The agency is advising individuals that if they
receive a notice from USCIS indicating their interview to be scheduled on a
Saturday, Sunday or after traditional business hours, the notice is correct.
The additional hours are part of USCIS's attempt to work within their processing time goals in the midst of last summer's flood of citizenship applications. The agency received 1.4 million citizenship applications in the 2007 fiscal year. Nearly half a million of these applications arrived right before the fee increase.
Benefits from evening and weekend interviews include enabling a greater number of individuals to naturalize in time to vote in November's presidential election. The extended hours may also prevent some interviews from conflicting with applicants' work schedules. The change will not, however, address delays stemming from FBI name checks, a security measure involving a search for applicants' names, or similar names, in FBI records which is holding up more than 180,000 applicants for citizenship.
Emilio T. Gonzalez, outgoing Director of USCIS, recently wrote that the agency expects to process between 20 and 25 percent more citizenship applications in 2008 than in the previous year. According to Gonzalez, more than half of all the citizenship applications received in June and July will be completed by September 30. Unfortunately, USCIS has failed to meet goals like this in the past.