More than 100 naturalization ceremonies nationwide, featuring 7,000 people becoming U.S. citizens this July Fourth holiday, also will be celebrating the 240th anniversary of the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Those seeking American citizenship must pass a civics test, federal background check and complete an in-person interview by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employee, who asks about their history and experiences.
Applicants need to demonstrate an ability to read, write and speak English, and must be able to answer basic questions about U.S. history and government.
There are 100 questions available to be tested on. Applicants are asked 10 open-ended questions, some with only one correct answer, and some with a variety of opportunities to be right. Six need to be answered correctly, officials indicate.
Claire Nicholson, a USCIS public affairs officer, told the Des Moines Register that study materials online are available in 14 languages. YouTube videos are also available, showing USCIS officers, to simulate what it's like inside the interview room.
Advantages of U.S. Citizenship include:
- Right to vote: The ability to elect American leaders is an exclusive right of U.S. citizens.
- Obtain citizenship for children born abroad: For U.S. citizens whose child is born outside of the country, he or she could become a U.S. citizen automatically.
- Ability to travel freely across U.S. borders: Enjoy all the benefits of overseas' travel with a U.S. passport. As a U.S. citizen, the amount of time one spends outside the country is not restricted. Permanent residents, on the other hand, may lose their status if they leave the country for a certain period of time.
- Collect benefits: Official citizens are eligible for benefits such as social security and Medicare.
- Become a federal employee: To be eligible for most federal jobs, one needs to be a U.S. citizen.
- Become an elected official: Most elected posts in this country require U.S. citizenship.