US Immigration hosts forum encouraging Chinese immigrants to apply for citizenship

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This week San Francisco will host the first-ever national US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Chinese-language public engagement forum where US immigration officials will answer questions about the US naturalization process. The event, which will also be held in Mandarin and Cantonese, is being held in the hope that it will encourage more Chinese immigrants to become US citizens.

The forum is the first in a series called "Jiao Liú" (Chinese for Engagement) and will include officials from USCIS and the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Those who cannot attend the event in person will also be able to participate via teleconference or on the internet. USCIS plans to focus on other areas of immigration benefits in the coming months.

According to recent US Homeland Security figures, approximately 220,000 Chinese permanent residents are eligible for naturalization.

According to the USCIS, the forums are part of an ongoing effort to provide information for the different communities it serves. There are various reasons why citizenship is important; Citizens are eligible to vote, can petition for certain family members from abroad, are eligible for certain social benefits and can run for office.

There is also a fee-waiver form available for applicants who cannot pay the naturalization application fee.

There are several different requirements that must be satisfied for US naturalization. In most cases, the applicant must:
  • Be 18 or older;
  • Have continuously resided in the US for five years after becoming a US permanent resident or three years if married to a US citizen;
  • Have spent at least half of the permanent residency time physically in the US;
  • Have lived for at least three months in the jurisdiction where the application will be filed;
  • Reside continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization;
  • Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of US history and government.
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