Forty years after arriving in the U.S. from Mexico, Saul Montoya, 57, decided it was time to apply for U.S. citizenship. Saul started the path to citizenship because he wanted his voice to be heard and knows that the best way to make a difference in the country is by voting.
Many aspiring Americans like Saul often times find the citizenship process difficult to navigate and face hardships along the way. The $680 naturalization application fee and the English language requirements of the naturalization exam cause many potential new Americans to put their plans on hold.
For Saul, paying the application fee and having a basic understanding of English were barriers he had to overcome. “I began studying the day I mailed in my application. I had the desire and interest in becoming a citizen and I knew I would overcome any hurdle to get to my goal.”
(Saul Montoya (right) with son and wife, Letisia, at his naturalization oath ceremony)
Organizations like NALEO Educational Fund can help applicants prepare for the exam and assist with the application fee waiver. NALEO Educational Fund’s bilingual toll-free citizenship hotline 888-839-8682 (Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EDT), can help citizenship applicants find U.S. civics, history and language classes in their area – all are subjects necessary for the naturalization exam. Citizenship applicants can also prepare for their interview by using USCIS practice exam materials and flashcards.
On the day of his naturalization interview, Saul admitted he was confident, had a relaxed state of mind and was determined to pass.
Saul’s hard work paid off on July 22, 2015 when he was sworn in as a U.S. citizen at a USCIS Oath Ceremony in at the Los Angeles Convention Center. After the ceremony, Saul offered this piece of advice for citizenship hopefuls: “Don’t wait as long as I did. Try to [become a citizen] the earliest possible. With a little help, the challenges faced during the citizenship process can be overcome. There is always help out there; you just have to look for it.”
Now as a new American, Saul is most looking forward to voting in next year’s election and finally having his voice heard.
If you have any questions about the citizenship process, please call NALEO Educational Fund’s hotline: (888) 839-8682.