By Grey Martinez
The process of naturalization has become easier in recent years. Lately, many residents like 67-year-old Ana Hodge have become United States citizens. This is due to a policy recently added in November 2010 allowing the $680 application fee to be waived if the applicant meets certain guidelines. The naturalization civics test may also be taken in Spanish if the applicant is 50 years of age or older.
“I’m so grateful to be a citizen now,” said Hodge. “It was great help to take [the test] in Spanish”.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidelines, applicants can have their fee waived if they have no income or very low income, receive government assistance, or have lived in the U.S. for 20 years or longer.
The elderly are pledging allegiance to this country in record numbers, but the younger generation has also taken advantage of this opportunity as well.
Christian McDonald, a 20 year-old college sophomore, has also qualified for the fee waiver. After mailing a 36 page application form, he is glad to finally become a U.S. citizen.
“I think the process is enormously annoying but worth it in the long run,” said McDonald. “The U.S. is the land of opportunities”.
During the civics test, the applicant must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government of the United States.