NEW: Over 750 New Citizens Naturalized at Mechanics Hall
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Mechanics Hall’s 8,500 square-foot Great Hall was packed to the brim with proud new citizens and their families. The ceremony, performed by a Worcester Court Circuit Judge, required all prospective citizens to take the “Oath of Allegiance” to the United States. It also required anyone that wished to become a US citizen to denounce any hereditary positions of nobility in their former country of citizenship.
The ceremony lasted around a half an hour and let out Massachusetts’ newest citizens into blustery snow on Main Street. The 750 new citizens came from an estimated 90 different countries, and some have been waiting quite a while for this day.
“I am from Greece originally, and I came here 36 years ago,” Paul Kazanis said. “And today I am a citizen. I’m proud of it. God bless.”
All new citizens received their official Certificate of Naturalization to prove they are official US citizens, and are now eligible for Social Security benefits with unlimited authorization to work inside the country. The ceremony is the last step in a lengthy process.
To apply for naturalization, a resident must be a legal permanent resident of the United States for at least five years, and be present in the country for the majority of the previous 60 months. Once the application has been processed, each applicant must pass a citizenship test before they can take the oath.
For more information on becoming a naturalized American citizen, visit the United States Citizen and Immigration Service’s website here.