The naturalization process, which allows qualified new Americans to be able to vote, takes an average of six months to complete. It also offers a US passport and the chance to hold elected office in most counties and states in the US.
Department of Homeland Security data suggests that there has been a steady increase in applications in recent decades, with the country’s highest rates of naturalization belonging to Asian Americans. In 2015, of the 730,259 new naturalizations, as many as 261,374 new Americans were Asian Americans. Green card holders from India, the Philippines, and China were also among the highest-ranked people applying for US naturalization. Several organizations, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice Center, hold Citizenship clinics, aiding green card holders to maneuver successfully through the naturalization process.
The clinics are part of a national initiative, known as the New Americans campaign, which is intended to aid community groups to reach a wide number of immigrants and help in the naturalization of as many as possible. It is funded by various foundations. To gain citizenship, immigrants need to have a green card allowing them to have worked and lived in the US on a permanent basis for five years.
Many immigrants do not apply to gain citizenship. According to the Department of Homeland Security, eight million immigrants were eligible to apply for US citizenship in 2013, but only a small fraction did so.