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July 4 citizenship ceremony

Those seeking citizenship may recognize the significance of an Independence Day ceremony to complete the process. This was the case for 102 individuals whose naturalization process concluded this past July 4 at the Mount Vernon estate of the first president, George Washington. In total, reports indicate that more than 9,000 individuals throughout the nation obtained citizenship during the preceding week in Florida and around the country. In many cases, ceremonies were held in historically significant locations.

Individuals participating in these ceremonies come from a variety of backgrounds. A 52-year-old woman participating in the Mount Vernon ceremony, for example, fled Iraq after being targeted by extremists during U.S. occupation of the area. It took three years' time in a refugee camp in Syria prior to her being able to obtain status in the U.S. as a refugee. Another woman spent 33 years dealing with visa requirements that limited return visits to Egypt. As a citizen, she is able to visit family overseas for longer periods. Some of those achieving citizenship status on Independence Day planned to celebrate in traditional ways, enjoying fireworks and barbecues in honor of the day.

Achieving citizenship is a source of pride for many who come to the U.S. from difficult circumstances in other nations. Others find it fulfilling to reach this milestone after spending many years in a state of flux due to visa requirements. An individual who is interested in obtaining citizenship in such a scenario may find it helpful to meet with an immigration lawyer to discuss the requirements and evaluate any steps needed to meet knowledge or language requirements.

The backgrounds of those seeking citizenship can be varied, and their steps toward citizenship may vary based on education and requirements already met. A lawyer may provide an overview of the process and an estimate of the time required to complete the necessary steps in applying for citizenship.

Source: USA Today, "On July 4th, the journey to U.S. citizenship becomes a dream come true", Oren Dorell, July 04, 2014

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