Famous People Who Became US Citizens, Charlize Theron
In 2007, the South African-born star became a U.S. citizen. She admits she was motivated by the convenience of being able to travel the world with an American passport. “South Africa wasn’t like other countries where you’re loved all over the world. When you have a South African passport, you have to get a visa for every country and it’s a bit of a nightmare. It’s nice to feel like I’m actually really home here,” Theron said.
The British actor applied to be a U.S. citizen in 2008 in order to vote for Barack Obama-but he narrowly missed Election Day by the time he was sworn in. Of the citizenship test, the Good Wife star says, “you have to swot up on 100 different subjects and then during the test they ask you six questions. I got all six right so the man doing the test looked at me and said, ‘Do you want to do some more?’ Only in America could they make a citizenship test into a game show,” he told Scotsman.com
The British beauty became a naturalized citizen in 2011 in order to avoid losing her green card in case she returned to England, but she admits American citizenship has other perks too. “Being a citizen means I can vote here which is exciting, not just being an outsider,” she told Stylist magazine. “When I come back into the country now and they stamp my passport, they say ‘Welcome home, ma’am.’ I think that’s a lovely formality. No one in England would say that, would they?”
After his wife, Natasha Richardson, passed away in 2009, Neeson was touched by the outpouring of condolences from Americans he received. “That is partly the reason why I’ve recently become an American citizen,” Neeson said. “I’m still a proud Irishman, of course, but I’ve become an American citizen-I’m very proud of that,” he told the New York Daily News.
In 2005, the singer was among some 4,500 people who took the citizenship oath during a ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center. “I will never renounce my Canadian citizenship,” Morissette said. “I consider myself a Canadian-American.”
The erstwhile James Bond became a U.S. citizen in 2004, giving him dual citizenship with his native Ireland. “I found a whole new life and identity in America, but my heart and soul will be forever Irish,” Brosnan said.
Hopkins was born and raised in Wales, and became a U.S. citizen in 2000. He celebrated the event with a 3,000-mile road trip across the country. His oath of citizenship ceremony was filmed by longtime friend Steven Spielberg.
When the Mexican beauty became a U.S. citizen, she took it straight to the Capitol, publicly objecting to a bill passed in the House of Representatives that would make illegal immigrants in the U.S. felons in 2006. “As a human being, I find this situation intolerable. As an immigrant, I find it offensive. And as an American citizen, I find it disheartening,” Hayek, a former illegal immigrant herself, said.
Though he’s officially been an American citizen since 2004, the actor insists he still loves his home country of Canada. “I have no intention of giving up my Canadian heritage, and all those who loved and supported me. This country has helped define me and make my dreams come true,” Carrey said.
The world-famous athlete, actor, and former Governor of California became a U.S. citizen in 1983. “Like other newcomers to this country, I came here for my shot at the American Dream,” he has said. “Growing up in a small village in Austria, I knew America was the Promised Land. With hard work and determination, and because the American people were so generous and welcoming, I have succeeded beyond my wildest imagination.”
The British-born comedian became a U.S. citizen in 2006. “I committed to living here and I got to understand the politics and the culture. You can’t comment on a society unless you’ve lived it,” Ullman said.
Michael J. Fox
The actor holds dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship, but he revealed his pride for his native country during the 2008 Summer Olympics. “In my heart, I’m a Canadian, I’ll always be a Canadian. That was really evident the last couple of weeks watching the Olympics. Someone diving off a platform, if they had a Maple Leaf on them, I was all for them,” Fox said.
When the Baywatch star became a U.S. citizen in 2004, she headed to Washington to lobby against animal testing on behalf of her pet charity, PETA. “Being a citizen excites me not just because I can vote, but because I can crack the whip on Capitol Hill to defend animals,” Anderson said.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, the musician obtained dual citizenship in 1980. But Matthews says he returns to his home land regularly. “I go back to South Africa at least once a year, sometimes twice, and usually for a month…to both lose myself and gain awareness of myself.”
The host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson passed his U.S. citizenship test in 2008, scoring 100 percent. He was sworn in as a U.S. citizen and an episode of his show was devoted to the event.
Originally from Austria, the celebrity chef moved to the United States in 1973, opened his first restaurant in 1982, and naturalized as an American citizen in 1999.
The Murder, She Wrote legend first came to the United States in 1940 at age 14, then became a citizen in 1951. “I’ve never stopped feeling British,” she told The Independent. But yet, Lansbury marvels at how easy it is to assimilate into American culture. “I’m as American as most Americans are. We’ve all come from somewhere else.”