U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jess Lewis

Mia Hall officially became a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony held in U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC) Mahan Rotunda on Wednesday, Nov. 15. Hall has been working at NWC for nearly two years.

“It’s an honor to be here today and witness Mia’s naturalization ceremony,” said Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, NWC’s president. “She is a valuable member of our team here at the college and it’s a blessing to be able to be a small part in her naturalization story.”

Hall’s father, Fidelis, believed he and his family would have a better life and more opportunities in the U.S. than they had in Brazil so in the late 1980’s, he and his family migrated to the U.S.

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“He was right,” said Hall. “My parents worked very hard to be able to give my brothers and me the things we needed and I am very grateful to my parents for that.”

When asked why she wanted to be a citizen, Hall said she felt it was important to participate and really belong to the country she’s lived in for most of her life.

“Without naturalization, my voice wouldn’t and couldn’t be heard,” continued Hall. “I think it’s important to participate in what’s going on in the country. Elections are one way to do that and without being a citizen, I couldn’t vote.”

After spending more than two decades in the U.S., Hall decided that it was time for her to pursue her citizenship through the naturalization process.

“My motivation to become an American citizen changed for the better,” said Hall. “I received a lot of support from everyone I spoke to in regards to becoming a citizen. A day never went by at the college without someone coming into the barbershop to ask how the process was going and where I was at. I really loved that about everyone who took time out of their day to ask me about the process and how I was doing with it.”

The naturalization process can be complicated. There are steps that have to be met in order to complete the process and for some, it can take years to accomplish.

“The process for me wasn’t as difficult as it is or was for some people,” said Hall. “I filled out all the necessary paperwork three times because I wanted it to be perfect.”

The first step is to see if a person is eligible to be a citizen. Next, an application for naturalization must be completed and submitted. Biometrics are taken following the application submission so background checks can be performed.

“When I got my first letter for my biometrics, I cried a little,” said Hall. “I felt like I was one step closer to becoming an American.”

Once all the background checks are cleared, an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer takes place and an English and civics test is administered. Once completed, a decision is made by USCIS on the naturalization status. Once approved to be a U.S. citizen, an oath ceremony is conducted by USCIS. During the ceremony, the Oath of Allegiance is given and once completed, the person is now a U.S. citizen.

“When I got the letter for my interview, I was a nervous wreck,” said Hall. “I think the interview was the hardest part for me. For months, I studied and read that booklet like it was my job. The morning of my interview, I got sick and had to stop on the side of the road. I remember sitting in my car, in tears, praying and asking God to help me through the interview and the test. I passed but I was definitely nervous. I thought that if I failed at everything else in the world, this was the one important thing in my life that I had to succeed in.”

Hall encourages anyone who is considering becoming a citizen to go for it.

“I think filing for my citizenship is one of the most adult things I’ve done in my life,” continued Hall. “I feel a sense of responsibility and I’m ready to participate in what being a citizen is all about. I don’t think you can go wrong with being an official part of this great country.”

Hall said she felt blessed and is grateful to everyone who helped her through the process of becoming a citizen.

“It was an amazing journey and everyone just made it that much better for me,” said Hall.

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