World as a Family

by Feb 14, 2024Diaspora0 comments

India became the second-largest source country for new US citizens in 2023, with 59,000 Indians obtaining citizenship


Over 59,000 Indians got US citizenship in 2023, 6.7% of total new citizens of America.

Overall, nearly 8.7 lakh foreign nationals became US citizens during the fiscal 2023 (year ending September 30, 2023), around a lakh less than the previous year’s data of 9.7 lakh new American citizens, according to the just- released annual US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) report.

Over 1.1 lakh Mexicans (12.7% of the total number of new citizens) obtained US citizenship.

With 59,100 (6.7%) Indians acquiring US citizenship, India occupied the second slot as the top source country of new citizens.

Five percent or 44,800 of the new Americans were Philippines-born. The top five countries, which include the Dominican Republic and Cuba collectively comprised 32% of new citizens.

It may be noted that to qualify for naturalization in the US, applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). These requirements typically include maintaining lawful permanent resident (LPR) status for a minimum of five years. Some exemptions are given to particular applicants, such as spouses of US citizens and individuals with military service, granting them relief from certain naturalization prerequisites.

The majority of individuals who attained US citizenship in FY 2023 met the eligibility criteria by being LPRs for at least five years (INA Section 316(a)).

Following this category, applicants eligible based on being LPRs for at least three years and being married to a US citizen for three years (INA Section 319(a)), as well as those eligible due to military service during specified hostilities (INA Section 329), constituted significant proportions. Generally, non-citizens must spend a minimum of five years as lawful permanent residents to qualify for naturalization, while spouses of US citizens must fulfill at least three years of residency. The median duration of LPR status for citizens naturalized in FY 2023 stood at 7 years. Moreover, naturalization under the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during the fiscal years 2022 and 2023 accounted for nearly a quarter of all naturalizations over the past decade, as per the report’s findings.

Naturalization TestInitial Pass Rate As per US law, naturalization applicants are required to demonstrate an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language and have a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).

To fulfill these prerequisites and attain naturalized citizenship, applicants must successfully pass an English test, evaluating their comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills, as well as a civics test.

The naturalization test includes two key components: the English component and the civics component. Applicants who do not pass one or both segments can try again and take a re-exam.

In any case, Indians, of late, are topping the charts in migrating to the rich and developed (OECD)countries, and in acquiring foreign citizenship (with American citizenship continuing to dominate). Canada has shown the steepest growth in granting citizenship to foreign nationals.

According to an OECD report released in Paris last October, “International Migration Outlook: 2023”, Indians form the largest national group acquiring rich-country citizenship and Canada logged the biggest proportionate increase-a 174% jump between 2021 and 2022-among host countries.

2022 also saw the highest number of foreign nationals acquiring OECD country citizenship: 28 lakh, a 25% jump over 2021. The report doesn’t provide detailed break-up of country-of-origin data for 2022. But it says India has been the main country of origin when it comes to acquiring OECD country citizenships since 2019.

In 2021, around 1.3 lakh Indians acquired citizenship of an OECD member country. The figure for 2019 was around 1.5 lakh. China came in fifth in this race in 2021 as around 57,000 Chinese acquired OECD country citizenships.

The top three countries in the 38-member OECD that handed out passports to Indian immigrants in 2021 are the US (56,000), Australia (24,000) and Canada (21,000).

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