Celebrities Who Became U.S. Citizens

These stars have earned their right to call themselves proud Americans

01 of 28

Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons just became a U.S. citizen
Gail Simmons Instagram

On May 19, 2022, Simmons celebrated her 46th birthday by officially becoming a U.S. citizen. The Canadian-born cookbook author, who moved from Canada to New York over two decades ago, posted the big milestone on her Instagram feed.

"Yesterday was BIG. Sure, I turned a year older (who's counting at this point?) but perhaps more importantly, after 23 years - almost to the day - as a New Yorker, I was sworn in as a US Citizen," she captioned the post.

In the selfie, Simmons is holding a mini American flag standing in front of the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in New York City.

"Next stop, registering to #vote! Ready to finally participate fully," she added.

02 of 28

Helen Mirren

Exclusive - Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren. Maarten de Boer/Shutterstock

The British Oscar winner became a citizen of the United States in 2017, and opened up to PEOPLE about how witnessing the terrorist attacks of 9/11 while living in New York City inspired her to seek citizenship.

"I saw the second tower come down," Mirren said. "I had an epiphany. I realized where my allegiance and my heart and my intellect lay in that confrontation between extremism, religiosity — all those things and everything that America represents."

"And I thought, 'I'm an American,' " the actress, who is married to American director Taylor Hackford, continued. "I got an American flag, and I put it outside my window."

03 of 28

Enes Kanter Freedom

Enes Kanter
Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics player formerly known as Enes Kanter became a U.S. citizen in late November 2021 and changed his last name for the occasion.

The center, who was born in Switzerland and raised in Turkey, changed his name to "Enes Kanter Freedom" when he earned his U.S. citizenship.

"It's Official 🇺🇸 Mr. Freedom," Kanter Freedom wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday with a picture showing him in a shirt that read, "U.S. CITIZEN, EST. 2021."

The athlete has frequently used his platform in the NBA to scrutinize China and Turkey for human rights violations. Earlier in November, he shared pictures to social media of custom shoes that criticized surveillance and labor practices in China and called for the country to not host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"Here [in the US] there is freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of the press," Kanter Freedom told CNN of his decision to change his last name and become a citizen. "I didn't have any of those with Turkey."

"Freedom is the greatest thing a human being can have," he added. "That's why I wanted to make that word a part of me, and carry it wherever I go."

04 of 28

Kallie Humphries

Second placed Kaillie Humphries of the US reacts after the second run on the podium after the second run of the women's monobob competition during the IBSF Bob and Skeleton World Cup, the opening event of the Olympic season, at the Olympic sliding track in Innsbruck, Austria, on November 20, 2021. - - Austria OUT (Photo by Peter RINDERER / various sources / AFP) / Austria OUT (Photo by PETER RINDERER/EXPA/AFP via Getty Images)

Humphries is officially a United States citizen!

The Canada-born bobsledder will be eligible to compete for the U.S. at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, according to a December 2021 announcement from Team USA. She is expected to be named to the team in January.

"I'm more emotional than I thought I would be," said Humphries in a release from USA Bobsled/Skeleton. "Even though you believe in your application and you know it meets the requirements, you don't know. When she came back in and said, 'Yes, I'm approving your application for citizenship,' then it was real."

She added, "It was a long journey, this has been a team effort and feels amazing to have the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."

05 of 28

Tyler Labine

The Canadian comedian-actor opened up about his feelings — "too many to go into" — about becoming a U.S. citizen.

"I'm a proud immigrant to this great country. Are there problems here? Yes. Are there things that I take issue with? Yes," he wrote on Instagram. "Say what you will about this place, but it's one heck of an experiment. A never ending work in progress. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't after the American Dream. It's here. It's still Alive and I was in a room full of very grateful people today who felt the exact same way."

He added, "So today is a great day. Thank you for accepting me America. For welcoming me. I'll always try my best to do right by you."

06 of 28

Gleb Savchenko

Gleb Savchenko
Gleb Savchenko. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

After 17 years, the Dancing with the Stars pro has achieved his "impossible dream" of becoming an American citizen, he revealed to E! News.

"It's a dream come true," Savchenko told the outlet of the momentous occasion, which took place on July 28, 2021. "I grew up in Russia, in Moscow, and I'd always just read [about the States]."

"It was like an impossible dream for me to live in America and one day become an American citizen," he added.

07 of 28

Brad Goreski

"Today I became an American citizen! 🇺🇸❤️ ," the Canadian-born TV personality shared on Instagram on July 28, 2021. "I've been in this country for 20 years this month and I am so grateful for the life I have here."

"So happy @garyjanetti could be with me and yes those are tears in our eyes 😭," he added, along with a photo of the pair posing with the American flag.

08 of 28

Sasha Farber & Emma Slater

Sasha Farber becomes a US citizen
Sasha Farber/Instagram

The Dancing with the Stars couple commemorated their citizenship ceremony with a happy photo on Instagram. Farber was born in Russia but moved to Australia as a child, while Slater is from the United Kingdom.

"I've dreamed of this day ever since I was a little boy in Russia watching blockbuster movies. I came to America to try out for a show called @dancingabc and my whole life changed, I proposed to my beautiful wife @theemmaslater on the show, got married, bought our first house, rescued a dog, made so many incredible memories and so many new friends I call my family here in America, and now I get to call America my home!!!" wrote Farber.

"I'm so grateful for DWTS for believing in me and giving me a chance. WE ARE OFFICIALLY CITIZENS!!! Now it's time to bring my mum and dad over to be with us thank you," he said.

09 of 28

Tristan Thompson

Tristan Thompson gets US citizenship

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Twitter account shared a photo of the Canadian-born basketball star taking the Oath of Allegiance on Nov. 24, 2020. They also shared a quote from Thompson, reading, "I came to the US on a student visa and have always had big dreams. I'm now truly living the American dream."

"Congrats on reaching your goals @RealTristan13! Best of luck with the @NBA #Celtics as a #NewUSCitizen!" the tweet read.

10 of 28

John Oliver

Celebrities Visit SiriusXM - February 7, 2017
Robin Marchant/Getty

The Last Week Tonight host — who was born in England — revealed on the Late Show to Stephen Colbert that he got his U.S. citizenship in December 2019 and "was waiting for that to feel real." He got his chance when he voted for the first time in the U.S. 2020 election.

"Standing in line (to vote) ... I didn't feel it. Giving my name and getting the ballot, I didn't feel it. Scanning it into the machine and the machine saying, 'Your vote has been counted,' - I nearly burst into tears," he told Colbert. "That is the truth. My eyes got misty, and I thought, I don't know if I can cry in a voting station."

11 of 28

Yolanda Hadid

yolanda hadid, bella hadid
Bella Hadid/Instagram

The former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, who is from the Netherlands, became a U.S. citizen "just recently" - and casted her first ballot in the U.S. 2020 election.

Captioning a series of photos of the pair, daughter Bella wrote, "Took my mama to vote for the first time today!!! She became an American citizen just recently and this year she was so determined to get out and vote. I am so proud of her!!! Wearing our best Blues!!!!!💙💙💙💙💙"

12 of 28

Ryan Reynolds

Blake Lively
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. Blake Lively/INSTAGRAM

The Canadian native obtained dual citizenship in 2018 and used his power to vote for the first time in the 2020 U.S. election.

"This is my first time voting in America," he wrote on Instagram before thanking his wife, Blake Lively, for the moral support. "I'd like to thank my wife Blake for making my first time so gentle and loving. It was super scary at first, then exciting and now I'm a little tired. But proud."

13 of 28

Cobie Smulders

"After many hours in a Federal building double masked, lathering myself repeatedly in hand sanitizer and acing the first test I've taken since High School I am a Dual Citizen of 🇨🇦/🇺🇸 ," the proud actress wrote on Instagram before adding, "(Canada you will always be my first❤️)"

"I have been living in the US for 16 years now working and paying taxes, making little humans, creating a family and making this Country my home," she continued. "But I have been unable to Vote. I am excited to do so in this coming election in November. It is an opportunity that I will not waste and am grateful to have my Vote count when so many people who are working and living in this country as long or longer than I have are not able to."

Smulders went on to ask her followers to "not waste this chance to express your beliefs and have it be counted."

"I am a Democrat and will be casting my first 🇺🇸 vote for Presidential nominee @joebiden and VP @kamalaharris," she wrote before adding her final note, "VOTE❤️"

14 of 28

Tan France

"A few minutes ago, I officially became an U.S citizen!!" the English Queer Eye star proudly announced on Instagram on June 9, 2020. "For me, this is monumental. It's something I've been working towards for literally 20 years, which makes this all the more emotional."

He added, "And now, I will exercise my constitutional right as an American. Today, I will register to vote, and vote for the change I wish to see in OUR nation."

15 of 28

Neil Young

Angela Weiss/Getty

The singer-songwriter, who is originally from Canada, shared the news on his website on Jan. 22, 2020, writing, "I'm happy to report I'm in!!" The announcement was made along with a photo of Young saluting next to an American flag and a sign that reads, "Democrats register to vote here."

"Vote your conscience," he added, along with an emoji of an American flag and a Canadian flag.

He also shared a video on Instagram, in which he waves a mini flag with the American stars and stripes on one side, as well as the Canadian maple leaf on the other.

"I'm proud to be a Cana-erican," he sings in the video, combining his two citizenships into one.

16 of 28

Robbie Amell & Italia Ricci

Robbie Amell and Italia Ricci
Angela Weiss/Getty

"3866 people from 116 different countries became American citizens today," the Canada-born Flash actor, 31, wrote on a photo of the American flag on his Instagram Story on Jan. 22, 2020. "@italiaricci and I were two of them. Today was awesome," he wrote of sharing the momentous occasion with his wife and fellow immigrant.

17 of 28

Peta Murgatroyd

Peta Murgatroyd Instagram

The New Zealand-born dancer endured "countless US Visas starting from 2006 and the last 5 years with a Green Card" during her tenure on Dancing with the Stars before becoming a United States citizen on October 9, supported by her husband Maksim Chmerkovskiy and their son Shai. In an Instagram sharing photos from the day, she admitted the milestone made her emotional.

"I'm getting misty eyed writing this, because I haven't reflected on my life up until this point ... here I was sitting in an auditorium with 1000 people, with my Ukrainian/American husband and my American son....a girl from little Perth with a big dream of being 'someone'," she wrote. "I love the life I created, but it wouldn't be possible without the United States giving me the chance to succeed and live in the best country in the world ...This will always be home now."

18 of 28

Mike Fisher

Mike Fisher/Instagram. Inset: Jason Kempin/Getty

The former NHL star, who is married to country singer Carrie Underwood, is "officially American," he announced on Instagram in March. Canadian-born Fisher smiled as he posed in a suit in what appears to be a courthouse.

"Big day I'm officially American," he wrote on his Instagram Story over a photo of him waving an American flag.

19 of 28

Billy Idol

Billy Idol becomes a U.S. citizen
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

The British rocker became an American citizen on Nov. 14, 2018. The official Twitter account of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services tweeted out their congratulations by saying, "It's a nice day for a naturalization ceremony. Congratulations Billy Idol on becoming a #newUScitizen today in Los Angeles, CA."

20 of 28

Pamela Anderson

17th "Diner De La Mode" To Benefit Sidaction At Pavillon d'Armenonville
Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty

The former Baywatch babe, who is originally from Ladysmith, British Columbia, became a dual citizen in 2004.

"I felt it was important to become a U.S. citizen in order to vote in the United States," Anderson said in a written statement. "U.S. citizenship will allow me, in the future, to petition to bring my children's grandparents down to the United States to care for them once they become older."

She was also clear to state: "I have no intention of giving up my citizenship in Canada and am very proud to be a Canadian."

21 of 28

Emily Blunt

12th Annual AIS Freeing Voices Changing Lives Gala
JOHN NACION/startraks

The London-born actress became a U.S. citizen in September 2015 and went on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss her experience. Blunt said her swearing-in ceremony wasn't as emotional as people would have expected, especially because she had her husband John Krasinski in the stands supporting her and Matthew McConaughey's wife, Camila Alves, getting sworn in with her as well. Blunt quipped that in typical casual McConaughey fashion, the Oscar winner showed up looking like he "was going on a safari" while Alves looked amazing.

22 of 28

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey with Kelleth Cuthbert. Stefanie Keenan/Getty

The actor-comedian, originally from Ontario, Canada, proudly became a U.S. citizen in October 2004 and has no plans to cut ties with his life up north.

"I have no intention of giving up my Canadian heritage, and all those who loved and supported me," Carrey said in a statement. "My upbringing in Canada made me the person I am. I will always be proud to be a Canadian."

Although his Canadian pride is still strong, Carrey also credits the U.S. for helping him "define" himself and making his "dreams come true."

23 of 28

Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban. Nicholas Hunt/WireImage

Both husband and wife are dual citizens of the U.S. and Australia. Urban described how he particularly eased into American life during a June 2014 interview with Rolling Stone.

When asked how different Nashville felt after visiting to moving there permanently, the country star said: "It instantly felt like home to me … Nashville felt very familiar to me because I grew up with so much American culture. I would say 95 percent, if not more, of all the television we watched growing up, my brother and I, was all American sitcoms, American movies, American dramas, everything. I just waltzed into Nashville and the way everyone talked sounded completely normal to me."

24 of 28

Kumail Nanjiani

NBC's "70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards" - Arrivals

The Pakistan-born actor-comedian said it took him over a decade to get his U.S. citizenship. Nanjiani took to Twitter to open up about his challenging experience.

"I feel like people think immigrating to the US is super easy. The gates are wide open. Nothing could be further from the truth," he tweeted in July 2018, according to Business Standard. "It took me 15 years to get my Green Card. Getting any kind of visa is difficult. Becoming a citizen is extremely difficult and rare."

25 of 28

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Michael Stewart/FilmMagic
Arnold Schwarzenegger. Michael Stewart/FilmMagic

The Austria-born father of five marked 35 years of citizenship in a tweet he sent out on Sept. 16, 2018.

"35 years ago today, I became a citizen of the United States of America," Schwarzenegger wrote, alongside a video containing clips of his time as governor of California. "I arrived here almost 50 years ago with empty pockets, but full of dreams. I owe it all to America. It was, without a doubt, one of the proudest days of my life."

26 of 28

Charlize Theron

2019 CinemaCon Presents The 2019 Big Screen Achievement Awards - Arrivals
Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage

The actress, who was born in South Africa, is happy to be a U.S. Citizen but revealed that it wasn't an easy process.

"Well, I've always wanted to be [a citizen] they just didn't want to take me. It's quite a process you have to work hard, you know, study up," she told David Letterman on The Late Show in 2008, as reported by CBS News. "Then finally I was approved and you have to go in and do an interview. You have to know your stuff."

27 of 28

Sofía Vergara

Warner Brothers 'Rampage' Premiere at Microsoft Theatre, Los Angeles, California, USA - 4 Apr 2018

During a 2014 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Vergara, who was born in Colombia, revealed that she passed her citizenship test with flying colors.

"They make you [jump through hoops] because they have to make sure that you deserve to be part of the country," she told host Kimmel. "The most interesting thing for me was, they give you like a hundred questions that you have to learn, and then they give you a quiz, like a test ... I got all questions perfect."

28 of 28

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson. Samuel de Roman/WireImage

The Blacklight star was born in Northern Ireland, and said he was inspired to become an American citizen after the outpouring of support he received following the tragic death of his wife Natasha Richardson in 2009, per NBC.

"That is partly the reason why I've recently become an American citizen," Neeson said on Good Morning America later that year. "I've been living here for 20 years and America's been very, very good to me."

"I'm still a proud Irishman, of course, but I've become an American citizen – I'm very proud of that," the actor added.

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