A recent study found that only about 36 percent of Mexican immigrants who are eligible for U.S. citizenship apply to obtain it. For immigrants from other Latin American countries, the figure is 61 percent, and for all eligible immigrants 68 percent apply.
The study did not explain why so few immigrants from Mexico apply for citizenship. However, some participants in the study cited English-language skills and the difficulty of the citizenship test as obstacles to applying for citizenship.
The process of becoming a U.S. citizen is called naturalization. There are many different ways to become eligible for naturalization, but you may qualify if:
- You have held a green card for at least the past five years and have been physically present in the U.S. for 30 or more months of the previous five years
- You are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, have held a green card for at least the past three years and have been physically present in the U.S. for 18 or more months of the previous three years
- You have served in the U.S. military
- You are the child of a U.S. citizen, were born outside of the U.S. and currently reside outside the U.S.
These are a few common ways people become eligible for naturalization. However, there are many paths to citizenship. An experienced immigration lawyer can evaluate your situation to determine whether you are eligible for United States citizenship.
In my practice, I have met many people who are eligible for citizenship, but for one reason or another wait to apply. I generally advise people in this situation to stop delaying and file for naturalization. Why wait to enjoy the benefits of citizenship?