After a sharp drop in naturalizations in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, immigrants in the United States are becoming citizens in numbers not seen for more than a decade.
More than 900,000 immigrants became U.S. citizens during the 2022 fiscal year, according to a Pew Research Center estimate based on government data released for the first three quarters of the year. That annual total would be the third-highest on record and the most in any fiscal year since 2008, when more than a million people were naturalized. Federal fiscal years run from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
The rebound in naturalizations aligns with upticks in other measures of legal immigration since the spring of 2020, when pandemic-related restrictions, border closures and office shutdowns were widespread. Government data shows a rise since then in the number of immigrants receiving green cards as new lawful permanent residents, as well as a partial rebound in arrivals by foreign students, tourists and other lawful temporary migrants.
Here are five key facts about naturalization trends and U.S. naturalized citizens, based mainly on a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Department of Homeland Security and the Census Bureau. Immigrants generally are eligible to become U.S. citizens if they are at least 18 years old and a lawful permanent resident who has lived continuously in the U.S. for at least five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen. They must meet certain conditions that include a background check and, in most cases, must pass English language and civics tests. Citizenship confers privileges and obligations that include the right to vote, serve on a jury, sponsor other family members and apply for government benefits and jobs.