Primary Source of the Month
In December 2012, twenty-nine soon-to-be citizens gathered at Colonial Williamsburg's Capitol Building to hear Colonial Williamsburg President Colin Campbell speak before taking their Naturalization Oaths of Allegiance. Every year historic sites and patriotic groups across the United States partner with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to host ceremonies welcoming new citizens as they are sworn in. In 2012, more than 760,000 people became naturalized U.S. citizens. Naturalized citizens are people who were not born in the United States but have applied for and been granted citizenship. Anyone born on U.S. soil is automatically a citizen, and does not need to do anything to claim that citizenship.
There are many paths for individuals to take to become naturalized United States citizens, but all must take a citizenship test and swear the Oath of Allegiance. Updated in 2008, the citizenship tests assess potential citizens' knowledge of U.S. history and civics. Given one hundred possible questions to study, applicants to citizenship are asked ten and must answer six correctly to become a U.S. citizen. Once they have passed this test, paid the fees, and been fingerprinted and interviewed, they are eligible to be sworn in as new U.S. citizens, promising to "support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
For more information, visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
View a webcast of the Flag Day Naturalization Ceremony, June 14, 2013. Almost 100 people became citizens on the grounds of the Colonial Capitol. The keynote speaker was Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. Huffington, herself a naturalized U.S. citizen, is originally from Greece. She spoke about her personal journey to become an American citizen.