Jefferson City welcomes new Americans in naturalization ceremony

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JEFFERSON CITY - The United States District Court in Jefferson City for the Western District of Missouri conducted a 30-minute naturalization ceremony Monday. 

"It's a special day for all of us, including all of the applicants that were here, all of the friends and families, this means a lot to them," Carrie James, a deputy clerk with the Federal Court in Jefferson City, said.

The Oath of Allegiance was administered to 41 new American citizens from 23 different countries including Canada, Cuba, Haiti and China. 

“The ceremony today was the end to a long process for the applicants to become American citizens," James said.

She said the process begins with an application, and the process takes up to five months. Each applicant has to go through a security clearance which includes having their finger printed and then an interview. After the applicants pass the citizen test, they can take an oath and become naturalized as an American citizen.

Belma Onaran came to Jefferson City five years ago for career development. She and her husband just became new American citizens at Monday's ceremony.

"I like the work and life balance and the nature here. I think there are a lot of opportunities here, you may move in whatever direction you want to move," Onaran said.

James said every year the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City has between 40 and 50 applicants.

"Here in Jefferson City we hold only one ceremony a year, one ceremony is also held in Springfield, and there are several ceremonies held in Kansas City," James said.