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At 65960, India is the second-largest source country for new US citizens

NRI PULSE STAFF REPORT

Cover photo credit: Sewa/Facebook. Photo used for representation only.

According to a recent Congressional report, India has emerged as the second-largest source country for new citizens in the United States, with 65,960 Indians officially becoming US citizens in 2022. This data places India behind Mexico in terms of the number of individuals naturalizing as American citizens.

The report, titled “US Naturalization Policy,” released by the Congressional Research Service, highlighted that a total of 969,380 individuals were naturalized as US citizens in the fiscal year 2022. Among these, individuals born in Mexico constituted the largest group, followed by persons from India, the Philippines, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.

The United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data from 2022 indicated that approximately 14 percent of the total US population, numbering 333 million, consisted of foreign-born persons. Out of these, 24.5 million, or about 53 percent, reported their status as naturalized citizens.

The report also revealed that as of 2023, 2,831,330 foreign-born American nationals hailed from India, making it the second-largest group after Mexico, which accounted for 10,638,429 individuals. China followed with 2,225,447 foreign-born American nationals.

However, despite the significant number of India-born foreign nationals residing in the US, the CRS report pointed out that 42 percent of them were ineligible to become US citizens as of 2023.

Among those eligible for naturalization, approximately 290,000 India-born foreign nationals, holding Green Cards or Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) status, had the potential to pursue US citizenship.

The report also addressed concerns over processing backlogs for naturalization applications at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Although a backlog persists, the agency has made progress, reducing the number of pending applications by more than half since FY2020.

As of the end of FY2023, USCIS reported approximately 408,000 pending naturalization applications, down from 943,000 in FY2020. In FY2023, 823,702 LPRs submitted naturalization applications, but this number remains below the estimated population of 9 million LPRs eligible for naturalization in 2023.

The report highlighted variations in the percentage of naturalized foreign-born individuals by country of origin. Immigrants from Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, Mexico, El Salvador, and Brazil exhibited the lowest percentages of naturalization, while those from Vietnam, the Philippines, Russia, Jamaica, and Pakistan had the highest.

To qualify for naturalization, applicants must meet eligibility requirements outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), including being a lawful permanent resident (LPR) for at least five years.

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