US Issues 1,031,631 US Green Cards & 757,434 Naturalizations in 2012


The US Department of Homeland Security released information about the number of people who became US citizens in the year 2012. There has been an increase in numbers since the previous fiscal year. In 2012, 757,434 people became naturalized citizens of the United States as compared to 694,193 in 2011.

Naturalization is the process by which a green card holder in the United States becomes a US citizen. The green card holder has to meet several eligibility criteria before qualifying to apply. The applicant has to be at least 18 years old, should have had the green card for 5 years (3 in case of marriage to a US citizen), should meet the continuous residence, physical presence and state stay requirements, should have good moral character and should be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.

There are observations that, in the year 2012, there may have been slightly more people who applied for naturalization considering that it was the election year. Being able to vote is a right granted to only US citizens. A lot of people applied for naturalization for the sole reason of being able to cast their vote during the Presidential elections.

Green card holders are better known as lawful permanent residents of the United States. The lawful permanent resident status comes with rights and responsibilities.Green card holders can live in the US permanently. They can work here without the need for any work permit. They are also allowed to invest in property, start businesses, join certain branches of the Armed forces, have access to certain tuition and health benefits and those who meet the eligibility requirements can also apply for US citizenship.

There are several ways in which a person can get a US green card. People within the US can get green cards through an adjustment of status. People from outside can get green cards through family sponsorship. Adjustment of status happens when people are within the country in different statuses – through employment, through marriage, through investment and trade, and through humanitarian circumstances.

In the year 2012, 1,031,631 became lawful permanent residents of the United States. 547,559 green cards were issued through adjustment of status and 484,072 were given to new arrivals.

Things to note: A majority of green cards were given to people from Mexico, China and India. Mexico, Philippines, India, Dominican Republic and China were the countries of birth of a majority of the people who became naturalized citizens.

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