US welcomes more than 25,000 new citizens to mark Presidents Day

by Ray Clancy on February 16, 2017

More than 25,000 immigrants and expats are set to become US citizens at hundreds of ceremonies across the country to mark Presidents Day.

Some will be at poignant sites such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site in Buffalo, New York and Washington Crossing Historic Park in Pennsylvania.

United States Flag
‘It fills me with pride to know that 25,000 will take the Oath of Allegiance and become US citizens during the week that celebrates Presidents Day,’ said Lori Scialabba, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service acting director Lori Scialabba.

‘These new US citizens will be given rights, responsibilities and opportunities that will strengthen and shape the future of our great nation, just as generations of immigrants have done before them. By choosing to naturalise, they are confirming their commitment to our country and furthering our legacy as a nation of immigrants,’ she explained.

More information is now available online to help people to prepare for the citizenship test that they take before completing the process of being a US citizen. This includes study materials for the English tests and the civic test.

There are basically four tests. The ability to speak English is done via a speaking test with a USCIS officer, which is part of the initial eligibility interview, and applicants also need to read aloud one out of three sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to read in English. The content focuses on civics and history topics.

There is also a writing test when applicants need to write one out of three sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to write in English and again the content focuses on civics and history topics.

The civics test, which is done during the naturalisation interview, involves up to 10 questions from a list of 100 questions and applicants must answer six out of 10 to pass the civics test.

Applicants have two opportunities to take the English and civics tests per application. If an applicant fails any portion of the test during the first interview, they will be retested on the portion of the test that they failed between 60 and 90 days from the date of the initial interview.

There is help for those preparing for the citizenship tests. For example, USCIS regularly holds information sessions for the public. ‘These sessions will help permanent residents and others interested in naturalisation learn about eligibility, testing, and citizenship rights and responsibilities,’ said a USCIS spokesman.

He also pointed out that USCIS now has a new fees structure and new forms. The old forms will no longer be accepted from 21 February 2017. Applicants for any USCIS functions are advised to check the fees on the organisation’s website and make sure they include the correct amount as applications with the wrong fee will be rejected. All new forms can be downloaded for free.

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