Largest Number of Service Members Naturalized Since 1955
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that in fiscal year 2010 it granted citizenship to 11,146 members of the U.S. armed forces at ceremonies in the United States and 22 countries abroad. This figure represents the highest number of service members naturalized in any year since 1955. This number is a 6 percent increase from the 10,505 naturalizations in fiscal year 2009 and a significant increase from the 7,865 naturalizations in fiscal year 2008. Since September 2001, USCIS has naturalized nearly 65,000 service men and women, including those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“As our nation’s immigration agency, USCIS makes every effort to provide members of the military and their families with exceptional access to our services,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “We are proud to partner with the Department of Defense in these efforts.”
USCIS has implemented outreach tailored to reach members of the military and their family. Military liaison officers at USCIS field offices in the United States and abroad conduct educational seminars on nearby military installations. Military lawyers, personnel officers and spouses are invited to learn about the naturalization process and other family-based immigration services. There is often an increase in applications for naturalization from the military community after these sessions.
The Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative has also contributed to an increase in the number of military personnel becoming naturalized citizens. Under this initiative, USCIS conducts all naturalization processing—including the capture of biometrics, the naturalization interview, and administration of the Oath of Allegiance—on the military base so that, in most cases, the recruit is able to be a U.S. citizen when he or she graduates from basic training.
“Many of our service members have risked their lives across the globe before becoming citizens here at home. Their brave acts, and those of more than 65,000 service members who have become citizens since 2001, demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to America,” said Director Mayorkas. “We are enriched by their decision to serve our nation and to join us as United States citizens.
USCIS has established several information services exclusively for members of the military and their families to find information about citizenship and other immigration benefits. They may go online to http://www.uscis.gov/military; call the USCIS toll-free help line, 1-877-CIS-4MIL, 1-877-247-4645; or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.