New Jersey saw 42,622 of its residents become naturalized citizens in 2012, giving them nearly all the same benefits and rights of native-born Americans. Nationally, the number of naturalized citizens was 757,434.
The largest group of naturalized citizens in New Jersey last year were born in Asia (13,995, including 5,318 from India, 2,520 from China, 2,495 from the Philippines, 1,816 from East Timor, and 1,152 from South Korea). That was followed by 11,576 from North America. Surprisingly, few North American naturalized citizens were from Canada (243) and Mexico (678), but instead were from Caribbean islands such as the Dominican Republic (5,355), Haiti (1,068), and Jamaica (1,017).
There were 8,003 South Americans naturalized in New Jersey last year, from countries like Peru (1,562), Ecuador (1,216), Chile (951), and Brazil (815). Europeans are still becoming citizens in large numbers (a total of 5,082 including 1,167 from Poland and 548 from Portugal). Africans (3,907) made up most of the rest (including 1,216 from Egypt and 650 from Nigeria).
With the exception of spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens, an applicant for naturalization must meet a large number of requirements, including having lived in the U.S. continuously for five years; be at least 18 years old; speak, read, and write English; and pass a history and civics test.