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Did You Know or DYK Icon Did You Know? The Naturalization Act of 1906 standardized the naturalization procedures and made knowledge of English as a requirement for citizenship. It also laid the foundation for and established the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization.

Did You Know or DYK Icon Did You Know? The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was terminated on March 1, 2003, as part of a major government reorganization following the September 11 attacks of 2001. Most of INS’s functions were transferred to three new entities – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – within the newly created Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Did You Know or DYK Icon Did You Know? There are no annual caps on the number of immigrant visas issued to the spouses, minor children or parents of US citizens.

What are the ways to immigrate to the US?

The US grants a foreigner permanent resident status for one of these four reasons: employment, family ties, promotion of diversity, and refugee status. If a person is granted a permanent resident status, they are given a permanent visa, also known as green card.

  1. Employment: To qualify, a person must be employed in a US company. The employer requests for labor certification approval from the Department of Labor for the employee. These visas encourage highly skilled professionals to immigrate to the US. To know more please visit: H1B Visa Sponsors Info
  2. Family: To qualify, a person must be directly related to a US citizen or a green card holder. The relatives included are the spouse, children, parents or siblings of a US citizen or green card holder. The US citizen can petition for their relative’s visa if they are willing to sponsor them financially and for lawful status. It is a long process and certain relationships are given a higher preference.
  3. Diversity Visa Immigrant Program: To qualify, a person should be a resident of an under-represented country i.e. a country with a low rate of immigration to the US. If less than 50,000 people from their home country have immigrated to the US in the past 5 years, then they may be eligible to apply for permanent resident status through this program. Each year, 50,000 green cards are issued via lottery through this program.
  4. Refugee or Asylee Status: To qualify, a person must have been granted asylum in the US, or admitted into the US as a refugee or a qualifying family member of an asylee. As a refugee, they are required by law to apply for permanent resident status 1 year after being admitted to the United States. As an asylee, they are not required to apply for permanent resident status after being granted asylum for 1 year, although it may be in their best interest to do so.
What are the requirements for a foreigner to become a US citizen?

The eligibility requirements for a person to become a US citizen are:

  1. They must be a green card holder for at least 5 years before filing the Application for Naturalization.
  2. They must have lived at their current place of residence for at least 3 months before filing the application.
  3. They must have continuous residence in the US as a green card holder for at least 5 years before filing the application.
  4. They must have been physically present in the US for at least 30 months out of the 5 years before filing the application.
  5. They must reside continuously within the US from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization.
  6. They must be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government i.e. Civics.
  7. They must be 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.
Persons Obtaining Legal Permanent Resident Status in the US: 2004-2013
Year Number of Immigrants
2004 957,883
2005 1,122,257
2006 1,266,129
2007 1,052,415
2008 1,107,126
2009 1,130,818
2010 1,042,625
2011 1,062,040
2012 1,031,631
2013 990,553
Legal Permanent Resident Flow into the US by Country of Birth (Top 14): 2004-2013
Country Number of Immigrants
Mexico 1,578,107
China 741,021
India 675,241
Philippines 606,791
Dominican Republic 388,236
Cuba 354,985
Vietnam 304,605
Colombia 265,740
South Korea* 234,707
Haiti 219,302
El Salvador 215,620
Jamaica 196,962
Pakistan 160,991
Canada 154,637
Annual Legal Permanent Resident Flow into the US from Top 5 Sending Countries: 2004-2013
Year Mexico China India Philippines Dominican Republic
2004 175,364 51,156 70,116 57,827 30,492
2005 161,445 69,933 84,680 60,746 27,503
2006 173,749 87,307 61,369 74,606 38,068
2007 148,640 76,655 65,353 72,596 28,024
2008 189,989 80,271 63,352 54,030 31,879
2009 164,920 64,238 57,304 60,029 49,414
2010 139,120 70,863 69,162 58,173 53,870
2011 143,446 87,016 69,013 57,011 46,109
2012 146,406 81,784 66,434 57,327 41,566
2013 135,028 71,798 68,458 54,446 41,311