Nearly 66K Indians got American citizenship in 2022, says new US report

A total of 65,960 Indians officially became citizens of the United States of America in 2022, making India the second-largest source country for new citizens in America after Mexico, according to the latest Congressional report.

US passport
The US passport is arguably the most coveted citizenship document in the world, and many Indian-origin Green Card holders wait for years to become naturalised American citizens. Representative: Photo courtesy: X/@PassportGuide

An estimated 46 million foreign-born persons resided in the United States in 2022, approximately 14 per cent of the total US population of 333 million, according to American Community Survey data from the US Census Bureau.

Of these, 24.5 million, about 53 per cent, reported their status as naturalised citizens.

In its latest ‘US Naturalisation Policy’ report of April 15, the independent Congressional Research Service (CRS) said that in the fiscal year 2022, a total of 969,380 individuals became naturalised US citizens.

 “Individuals born in Mexico represented the largest number of naturalisations, followed by persons from India, Philippines, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic,” said the report.

Based on the latest available data, the CRS said that in 2022, as many as 128,878, Mexican nationals became American citizens. They were followed by people from India (65,960), the Philippines (53,413), Cuba (46,913), the Dominican Republic (34,525), Vietnam (33,246), and China (27,038).

According to the CRS, as of 2023, a total of 2,831,330 foreign-born American nationals were from India, which was the second largest number after Mexico’s 10,638,429.

Mexico and India are followed by China with 2,225,447 foreign-born American nationals.

However, as many as 42 per cent of Indian-born foreign nationals living in the US are currently ineligible to become US citizens, the CRS report said.

As of 2023, as many as 290,000 Indian-born foreign nationals who were on Green Card or Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) were potentially eligible for naturalisation.

The CRS said that in recent years, some observers had expressed concern over the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing backlogs for naturalisation applications.

Although there continues to be a backlog of naturalisation applications since FY2020, the agency has reduced the number of applications pending completion by more than half.

As of the end of FY2023, the USCIS had approximately 408,000 pending naturalisation applications, down from 550,000 at the end of FY2022; 840,000 at the end of FY2021; and 943,000 at the end of FY2020.

In FY2023, a total of 823,702 LPRs submitted naturalisation applications. The number of individuals who have recently applied for citizenship remains well below the estimated population of 9 million LPRs who were eligible to naturalise in 2023. The percentage of foreign-born individuals who are naturalised varies by several factors, including country of origin.

Immigrants from Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, Mexico, El Salvador, and Brazil have the lowest percentages of naturalised foreign-born, while those from Vietnam, the Philippines, Russia, Jamaica, and Pakistan have the highest.

To be eligible for naturalisation, an applicant must fulfil certain eligibility requirements outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The requirements generally include being a lawful permanent resident for at least five years.