Immigration

Need to move your immigration status along? Where you live could speed or slow the process

Sandro Laguerre, 9, celebrates after becoming a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Miami field office on Aug. 12, 2016. Laguerre is from Haiti.
Sandro Laguerre, 9, celebrates after becoming a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Miami field office on Aug. 12, 2016. Laguerre is from Haiti. Miami Herald File

Where you apply for a green card or to seek citizenship can make a big difference in how long you will wait for your papers to be processed.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data, the processing times for green card and naturalization applications are drastically different in South Florida — even at processing centers just a few miles apart.

Processing centers are not all equal — some can process these applications in almost half the time, according to Boundless, an independent company that guides eligible immigrants through the marriage green card process.

Boundless analyzed the data and found numerous discrepancies.

For instance, the Kendall Field Office for USCIS at 14675 SW 120th St. — just 14 miles from the Miami Field Office at 8801 NW Seventh Ave. — processes green card applications more than six months faster than its Miami counterpart, according to USCIS data.

But you have to apply at the corresponding field office based on where you live.

Here are the processing times.

The national average for processing a green card is just over nine months. For naturalization, it's about nine months.

The Miami and Oakland Park field offices will keep you waiting the longest. Both are the slowest for green cards and naturalization processing.

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In Miami, the lag time is nearly 17 months for green cards and nearly 15 months for naturalization.

At Oakland Park's office, at 4451 NW 31st Ave. in Broward County, it's nearly 16 months for green cards and the same near 15 month wait for naturalization processing as Miami.

Hialeah's field office at 5880 NW 183rd St. takes about 12 months to process green card applications and is about equal to the national average of just over nine months for naturalization.

Kendall's field office takes 10 months for green cards — the fastest in South Florida — and 12 months for naturalization.

West Palm Beach's field office at 9300 Belvedere Rd. in Royal Palm Beach takes about 11 months for a green card but is the fastest in South Florida for naturalization at eight months — below the national average.

Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.

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