Over 14,000 immigrants will become new citizens of the US in a ceremony to celebrate the 242nd birthday of the nation in almost 175 naturalization ceremonies across the country, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The ceremonies began on 28 June and will continue until 10 July.
The first naturalization ceremony of the celebrations for Independence Day took place at San Antonio’s Bexar County Courthouse in Texas on Thursday. L Francis Cissna, the director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the naturalization ceremony is the end of the citizenship journey for immigrants, while also marking the beginning of their new lives as US citizens, and that they are humbled to take part in these moments of personal triumph, pride, and joy.
On 4 July, there will be a total of 27 naturalization ceremonies, USCIS says. Many will take place at historic locations, such as the Independence National Historic Park, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and Battleship New Jersey. Many of the people already sworn in have shared photographs of the certificates displaying their new citizenship on social media.
To gain US citizenship, immigrants must possess a Permanent Resident Card, also known as a green card, for at least five years, or three years if married to a US citizen. Immigrants also need to be fluent in English, and at least 18 years of age.