The emotional journey of immigrating to the United States is unique to everyone, but most experience many similar frustrations. While this country is undoubtedly a melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities and religions from all over the world, the path to citizenship is daunting. On top of that, the process requires lots and lots of waiting. This can be frustrating for those who are waiting to make Louisiana their home.
Getting citizenship is not as easy as just submitting a single application and waiting for a “yes” or “no.” For foreign nationals, the first step is to apply for a green card with the I-485 application. These applications take quite some time to process on top of an extensive backlog. In June 2018, nearly 682,000 applications were pending review. That number had dropped to approximately 572,500 by Sept. 2019, still a sizable number.
Once someone is approved for a green card, he or she has to live in the United States for at least five years and meet a number of other naturalization requirements. The next step is to fill out and submit the N-400 form, which is the application to become a naturalized citizen. In late 2019, 647,585 N-400 applications were still pending. There is also a 10% chance of being denied.
Anyone who dreams of leaving his or her country of origin to permanently live in Louisiana should not be deterred by the process. It is understandable to feel overwhelmed though. Finding a knowledgeable advocate who can provide valuable guidance may be helpful for those who want extra support through the citizenship process.