U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today naturalized 55 noncitizen
members of the U.S. military and 17 military spouses at the Yongsan U.S. Army
Garrison in Seoul, South Korea. The special ceremony marked a milestone
for USCIS, with 196 members of the military becoming U.S.
citizens in the Republic
of Korea this year, more than in any other year since the inception of the
overseas naturalization program in 2004.
Before administering the Oath of Allegiance, USCIS Bangkok District Director
Robert Looney remarked that this achievement is a result of USCIS's willingness
to travel to locations throughout South Korea and arrange for members of the
military community to become citizens. Since 2004, USCIS has naturalized 961
members of the U.S. military and 134 military spouses in the Republic of Korea.
During her keynote remarks, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Kathleen
Stephens addressed the new citizens. "You are from different countries
and different backgrounds, but you are united by your act of service that has
enabled you to become a U.S. citizen," she said. "You have chosen
not just to live in America, but to serve and protect the United States."
ambassador also cited the stories of several citizenship candidates, including
one soldier who was a student in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. She said, "That
day became not only part of our national history, but also part of his personal
history and was part of the reason he joined the U.S. Army."
Today also marked an achievement for a family originally from Nigeria: the
spouse became the third member of his family to become a U.S. citizen in Korea.
He followed in the path of his wife, who naturalized in Korea last year through
her service in the Army, and their daughter, who naturalized as a military
The new citizens were born in 30 counties: Albania, Australia, Bangladesh,
Cambodia, China, Dominican Republic, Dominica, France, Germany, Ghana, Guinea,
Guyana, Haiti, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Palau,
the Philippines, Russia, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad
and Tobago, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
Since September 2001, USCIS has naturalized more than 63,000 members of the
military in ceremonies across the United States and in 20 countries abroad.
USCIS has also naturalized more than 820 military spouses during ceremonies
in 14 countries since 2008.