Thousands of expats in the US celebrated Independence Day this year by formally becoming citizens of the United States.
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIC) the number of expatriates who became new citizens in the run up to this year’s Independence Day rocketed, with over 24,000 new citizens being acknowledged over 350 ceremonies. Discussing the figures, Alejandro Mayorkas, USCIS Director commented: “Every Fourth of July we celebrate our country’s spirit of independence. This spirit, and our founding ideals of freedom and democracy, have allowed us to achieve great success as a nation of immigrants.
“Immigrants come to America in search of opportunity and, by taking the Oath of Allegiance, embrace the rights and responsibilities of US citizenship.”
One of the most prominent ceremonies in the approach to this year’s Independence Day was a special ceremony aboard the USS Midway in San Diego, during which 200 members of the armed forces swore allegiance to the US flag. Other similar ceremonies took place in Baghdad, Kabul, and Camp Arifjan, Kuwait as part of the USCIC’s drive to assist troops to gain US citizenship no matter where in the world they are serving.
Process for Applying for US Citizenship
All those who are officially recognized as citizens of the US are entitled to vote in all United States elections and are provided with a US passport.
Expatriates living in the United States can apply to become US citizens once they have lived in the country for five years, or three years if you are married to a US citizen, and must remain on US soil for at least six months of each of those years.
Once you have passed this basic requirement you should download and complete a U.S. Citizenship application form: N-400, application for naturalization.
If you successfully pass the first stage of the application process you will be contacted by the USCIC and requested to attend a fingerprinting centre to have your fingerprints recorded. Next you will be required to attend an interview, during which you will take the English & Civics Tests, which are designed to verify your English abilities and your knowledge and understanding of the history of the U.S. and its political systems.
If you meet all the requirements you will be contacted by the USCIC and invited to take an oath to become a permanent U.S. citizen.
The full process guide to applying for US citizenship can be found online: How to Become a Permanent U.S. Citizen.