US improving citizenship awareness

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) last week announced that it has partnered with two more cities to increase citizenship awareness.

Houston and Seattle are the latest cities to partner with USCIS – taking the total number of cities to eight. Through these partnerships, USCIS provides information and resources to help facilitate outreach and engagement, training and technical assistance, and citizenship education.

The announcement was made as part of Constitution Week (17th-23rd September) – which celebrates the signing of the Constitution in 1787. Over the course of the week USCIS will welcome more than 36,000 new citizens during more than 200 naturalisation ceremonies.

Congress first highlighted the significance of US citizenship in 1940 when it designated the third Sunday in May as “I Am an American Day.” In 1952, Congress shifted the date to 17th September and renamed it “Citizenship Day.” Congress changed the designation of this day to “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” in 2004.

To be eligible to apply for US citizenship an immigrant must have been a green card holder for at least five years and meet a range of additional criteria. This criteria includes having lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least three months prior to the date of filing the application; being  able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of US history and government; and being a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law.