Naturalization Numbers Increased In 2022; 3rd Highest in U.S. History

In a Nutshell

- USCIS limited its services at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak to comply with government and local lockdowns, which exacerbated an already backlogged immigration system. - In the 2022 fiscal year, USCIS granted citizenship to 900,000 immigrants, or 11.25% more people than in fiscal year 2021.

Written by ImmigrationHelp News Team
Written December 8, 2022

Completing the naturalization process is a milestone in many immigrants’ lives. It allows people to finally vote, travel abroad with a U.S. passport, and have peace of mind of knowing that immigration processes are finally over.

Early in the COVID-19 outbreak, there was a reduction in immigration processing as government agencies complied with measures needed to mitigate the spread of the virus. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field offices shut down. Though they gradually reopened, this caused noticeable delays in 2021 and affected other immigration processes as well, such as green card applications.   

Pew Research Center reports that USCIS granted naturalization to more immigrants this fiscal year than in the past two years. In 2020, USCIS processed an estimated 154,000 naturalization applications during the April–June quarter. In 2022, processing went back to its normal range of 160,000–250,000 per quarter. Indeed, 2022 is the first year USCIS has been able to process citizenship applications with an average wait time of 10.5 months. While still a long way to go, this bodes well for new applications as the agency catches up with backlogs in its system. 

That’s not all. Since USCIS and other U.S.-government agencies and international governments have gradually reopened, the number of legal immigration applications these agencies have approved has also increased. This includes:

  • Foreign student visas

  • Legal permanent residency (green cards)

  • Tourist visas

  • Other nonimmigrant visas

In fiscal year 2021, USCIS granted citizenship to 809,000 immigrants. This fiscal year, USCIS granted citizenship to 900,000 immigrants, or 11.25% more people. The U.S. immigration system still faces backlogs, but these naturalization numbers show that things are moving in the right direction.