99-year-old Great Grandmother from India Gets American Citizenship This Week

On April 8, an Indian-origin woman took the Oath of Allegiance and became a US citizen at the age of 99, much to the surprise and delight of Indians stuck in the #GreenCardbacklog. The naturalization of Daibai, a great grandmother of US-born kids of Indian descent, not only made headlines but also elicited an overwhelming response from all quarters. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shared a lively picture of Daibai holding the certificate of her new status, with the adage, “They say age is just a number”, on X (formerly Twitter).

US citizenship for Indian immigrants, Green Card backlog news, Indian American community news


The nonagenarian, who would turn 100 in 2025, has divided Green Card applicants from India into two groups – the hopefuls and the cynics – over her naturalization that took place in Orlando, Florida. The hopefuls celebrated Daibai’s newly attained US citizenship and called it a ray of hope amid the challenges of America’s outdated immigration system. They found her journey to citizenship inspiring for those on the verge of losing hopes even for legal permanent residency in the land of American Dream.

The news of Daibai having become a US citizen before she hit a century has driven google searches, ‘What is the maximum age for naturalization?’, ‘What is the current Green Card wait time for H1B visa holders from India?’ The cynics opined that her stars aligned to make her a US citizen, while the 134-year Green Card backlog is like a life sentence to nearly 11,00,000 Indians. They are happy for her; on the other hand, they are afraid whether many H1B visa professionals would be able to live as long as 100 years or more for a Green Card.

“I hope to become an American citizen before turning 99,” wrote an individual in response to the news of Daibai on X, calling for pressing reforms in the US immigration policy that seems to perpetuate the unprecedented wait times for Indians. Another individual wrote that like the 99-year-old Indian woman, he would be headlined for taking the Oath of Allegiance with senile bones, withered cheeks, drooping shoulders, unstable feet, and a toothless smile after 75 years from now. “I don’t want to die within months of receiving the citizenship. Rather, I would like to taste the fruit of my efforts to become a US citizen,” wrote one of the individuals.

“Not many immigrants know that the civic test for US Citizenship comes a lot easier for senior citizens aged 65 years or more. If they have resided in the US as permanent residents for at least 20 years, they are eligible an easier and simpler version of the civic test for naturalization. What is more interesting is that they can take the test in their native language,” said Sourav Agarwal, the Editor of Travel Beats, a leading community portal for Indians in America.

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