By: Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson
Last month, I announced that Tucson is joining cities and counties across the country in promoting naturalization – becoming United States citizens – to eligible permanent residents as part of Cities for Citizenship.
A 2015 Urban Institute study of naturalization in 21 U.S. cities found that, once people become naturalized U.S. citizens, their annual earnings increase 8.9%; their employment rate increases 2.2%; and their homeownership rate increases 6.3%. These are individual effects. Aggregated across the 21 cities in the study, they amounted to $5.7 billion in new revenue and $2.03 billion in new federal, state and city income taxes and federal payroll taxes.
Many thanks to our partners in this effort: Chicanos Por La Causa, Citi, Pima Community College, Pima County Public Library and Vantage West.
(Para información en español, vea mayorrothschild.com/ciudadanía.)
To become a naturalized citizen, you apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Who is eligible
You must meet the following general eligibility requirements to apply for naturalization and become a U.S. citizen:
You are at least 18 years of age at time of filing;
You have been a permanent resident for the past three or five years (depending on the provision of law under which you are eligible to naturalize);
You demonstrate continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
You are able to read, write, and speak basic English;
You demonstrate good moral character;
You demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
You demonstrate a loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and
You are willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.
For detailed information and exceptions, including special provisions for those who have served in the U.S. military, please see USCIS Policy Manual Citizenship and Naturalization Guidance.
How to apply
Complete Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Submit the completed form, supporting documentation, and a filing fee of $595 plus a biometric services fee of $85 for applicants under age 75. Visit the USCIS website for forms and instructions. If you need help completing your application, you can find an immigration attorney through the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Referral Service.
Preparing for the English and citizenship tests
Pima Community College offers free citizenship classes at various locations. Contact the Adult Basic Education For College & Career division at (520) 206-3987 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Classes for English language learners are available through Pima Community College, the University of Arizona and Literacy Connects. (Literacy Connects classes are free. Non-credit Pima classes are also free. Both Pima and Literacy Connects have day and evening classes at various locations throughout the community.)
Curious what’s on the citizenship test? You can take a practice test here.
Vantage West Credit Union offers citizenship loans up to $1,500 to help cover application fees, class fees, and other costs associated with applying to become a naturalized citizen.
If you need help completing your application, or with other immigration issues, you can find an immigration attorney through the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Referral Service.
I would like to help others become U.S. citizens
Contact Literacy Connects or Pima Community College to learn about becoming a citizenship and/or English language instructor. For more ways to help, contact Chicanos Por La Causa.
*The Economic Impact of Naturalization on Immigrants and Cities, Urban Institute, 2015