USCIS to Welcome More Than 24,000 New Citizens on July 4th

July 4, 2011 represents the 235th anniversary of the founding of the US. To commemorate the occasion, the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) will hold 350 special naturalization ceremonies across the US, inducting 24 000 new citizens as Americans. The ceremonies will take place between June 27 and July 4. Of the special US citizenship ceremonies, eight will be held especially for members of the armed forces of the US.

Each year, the USCIS holds special US citizenship ceremonies for July 4th, to commemorate the US and the importance of US citizenship and also to celebrate the importance of US immigration to the nation’s history. Indeed, the US was founded by immigrants, so celebrating with special US citizenship ceremonies is an especially appropriate way to celebrate Independence Day.

Special US citizenship ceremonies for Independence Day 2011 include a special ceremony for US armed forces on board the USS Midway in San Diego. That ceremony was held July 1, 2011. Special ceremonies for members of the US armed forces will also be held in Baghdad, Kabul, and Kuwait. Other special ceremonies will be held in 2011 in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, in Atlanta’s Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, at Rhode Island’s McCoy Stadium, at New Orleans’s National World War II Museum, at the USS Constitution, at George WashingtonÈs Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, and at Florida’s SeaWorld theme park.

If you are an immigrant, watching these events can be a powerful way to see the importance of US citizenship today. If you have been thinking about becoming a US citizen, these special ceremonies may even prompt you to start the application process for US citizenship. While the US immigration process towards citizenship is long, and while naturalization comes with responsibilities, there are many advantages to US citizenship. For example, you will be able to live and work freely in the US once you have citizenship and you will even be able to hold public office and gain security clearance for specific jobs. As well, as a US citizen you will be able to enjoy the protection of a US passport and you will be able to vote.

If you want to become a US citizen and take part in US citizenship ceremonies yourself, the first step is to determine whether you are eligible for naturalization. In general, to become a citizen, you must be at least 18 years old and must have been a lawful permanent resident living in the US for at least five years. You must have a grasp of the English language and US civics, and must be of good moral character. If you meet these requirements, you can begin the application process by filling out and filing a US citizenship application with the USCIS. Once you have applied, you will need to pass a US citizenship interview and test before attending a ceremony to become a citizen.