Over 59,000 Indians acquire US citizenship in 2023: report

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Nearly 870,000 foreign nationals gain US citizenship in FY 2023, over 59,000 Indians among them.

NEW YORK, Feb 12: The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released its annual progress report for the fiscal year 2023, revealing that close to 870,000 foreign nationals became US citizens during that period. Among them, over 59,000 were Indians, according to the report.

The data indicates that 1.1 lakh Mexicans, constituting 12.7% of the total number of new citizens, and 59,100 Indians, accounting for 6.7%, acquired US citizenship. Additionally, the report highlights that 35,200 individuals from the Dominican Republic (4%) and 44,800 from the Philippines (5.1%) were among those who obtained US citizenship.

To be eligible for US citizenship, individuals must fulfill specific requirements outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This typically includes being a lawful permanent resident (LPR) for a minimum of five years. Some applicants may qualify based on marriage to a US citizen or military service during certain periods of hostilities.

The report also notes that naturalization during the fiscal years 2022 and 2023 accounted for nearly a quarter of all naturalizations over the past decade under the USCIS. In FY 2023, the median number of years spent as an LPR for those naturalized was seven years.

Amid efforts to clear visa processing backlogs caused by the pandemic, visa services have been ramping up operations. The US Embassy and Consulates in India reported a significant reduction in delays after processing a record 1.4 million visas in 2023.

However, the pursuit of American citizenship remains strong among Indians, with many individuals, particularly from states like Punjab, Haryana, and Gujarat, seeking opportunities in the US job market. This drive has led to increased migration, with nearly 42,000 migrants from India attempting to cross into the United States illegally between October 2022 and September 2023, primarily through the southern land border with Mexico.

Despite enforcement efforts, approximately 96,000 Indians were caught or expelled while attempting to cross the US border in the same period. This marked a substantial increase from 2021, indicating ongoing challenges in border management.

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