FLORENCE — Ten years after coming to the United States a family of four has traded their green cards for U.S. citizenship.

Stuart and Catherine Ferguson and their two grown children, Ross and Ashleigh, were sworn-in as U.S. citizens on Friday during a ceremony at the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services building in Montgomery.

All four are also citizens of their native country Scotland.

Monday, the students at Riverhill School honored the Fergusons.

Catherine Ferguson, a prekindergarten paraprofessional at the school, stood before the student body with her citizenship certificate as students waved American flags and sang a patriotic medley.

Stuart Ferguson explained to the students what dual citizenship means, and how the process of becoming U.S. citizens unfolded.

The family came to the U.S. 10 years ago for Stuart's job at the time.

In the intervening years, the family members kept their U.S. residence via green cards.

A year ago, the Fergusons began the citizenship process, making formal application in February. 

Undergoing a thorough background process soon after, it was the fall before documentation was approved, and testing was administered to each family member. 

"We had 10 randomly selected questions and had to have six correct to pass," Stuart Ferguson told the students. "We all passed, answering all our questions correctly, and are now naturalized citizens."

Riverhill Principal Mary Jane Fowler presented an American flag to the Fergusons. "We're all family, and we just thought you needed an American flag to fly in front of your home."

Ross Ferguson said Friday's ceremony at the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services building seemed a bit surreal.

"It felt like we were graduating into becoming Americans," he said, "and we couldn't be happier."

The family members will maintain their dual citizenship and continue to visit their Scottish homeland.

"The opportunities we and our kids have had here in America are so numerous," Stuart said. "We're a very grateful family to officially be a part of this great country."

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(1) comment

Gary Wylie

My understanding is that when someone becomes a US citizen, they 'disavow' their prior country's citizenship... ie. a person cannot be a citizen of two countries.

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