005 - Becoming a Citizen with Bintal Patel
In this episode, we join new U.S. citizen Bintal Patel who talks about the naturalization process she just completed in order to become a U.S. citizen.
She has lived here since she was a young child and has long been eligible for citizenship. She finally went through the process to make her American side official and to become more civically engaged. She was actually a little worried about what this might meant for her British identity, but she feels the process really enhanced and expanded her identity, rather than restricting or changing it.
If unfamiliar with it, a simplified overview of the process is that a VISA is required to come to the US for an extended period of time, often to study or work. From there, a green card is the next step which requires sponsorship by a US citizen or company and can take many years. After the green card, the person can become a naturalized US citizen after waiting five additional years.
It's this final step that Bintal just completed and, like many Americans, I'm actually not too familiar with the process. So I wanted to sit down and chat with her about it.
In 2014, the LA Times ran an editorial series on citizenship, what it means, and the parts that lead to political tension, which you can find here. In particular, it includes this article encouraging those who are eligible to go through the naturalization process to become U.S. citizens.