New package launched to assist prospective US citizens

by Ray Clancy on July 10, 2015

Officials in the United States have launched new free tools to help prospective citizens prepare for taking the important step of changing their nationality.

It is part of a campaign intended to raise awareness about the rights, responsibilities and importance of US citizenship and provide information on the naturalisation process. The information is available at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ citizenship resource centre.

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According to the Department of Homeland Security, an estimated 8.8 million permanent residents are eligible for citizenship

‘USCIS is proud to expand its efforts to assist those eligible for citizenship, the highest privilege of our nation’s immigration system, to take the necessary steps to complete their journey,’ said USCIS director León Rodríguez.

‘Through this initiative, USCIS continues to emphasise the importance of citizenship to both individuals and the nation while providing free preparation tools for aspiring citizens,’ he added.

According to the most recent analysis by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics, an estimated 8.8 million lawful permanent residents are eligible to apply for citizenship, and the median time spent as a lawful permanent resident before becoming a United States citizen is seven years.

Green card holders who meet all eligibility requirements may apply for citizenship after five years, or three years if they are married to a US citizen.

Thousands recently became citizens at ceremonies held across the country to mark Independence Day and some have spoken of how it fulfilled their dreams. One was Maria Garcia, whose lack of English was the biggest obstacle she had to overcome to achieve her goal of US citizenship.

The Mexican failed her first naturalization interview but went on to take lessons to improve her English and watched English programmes on television to further boost her use of the language.

Fitness centre manager Dave Araque arrived in the US from Ecuador 13 years ago but has only now become a US citizen. ‘It’s a great feeling knowing that I went through a long process and knowing that I reached my goal to become a citizen makes me feel humble,’ he said.

Cardiologist Dr. Pradeep Arumugham explained that it was a growing interest in politics that gave him the push to become a citizen. ‘Just having the green card I could have done everything I wanted except vote. I feel like I need to contribute. I need to get my opinion out. That is when I truly decided I am going to get this done. I’m going to get my citizenship done so I can go out and vote,’ he said.

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