Neil Young’s Battle To Become A U.S. Citizen


Canadian rocker Neil Young grew up listening to rock and roll, R&B, and country songs on the radio. He was impressed by the names like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard. Young embarked on his music career in Winnipeg in the ’60s. As the singer’s passion for music increased, he began to look for opportunities in the United States to create his job in the best way. So much so that he was even involved in some illegal activities while trying to reach his goal.

After illegally entering the United States, Young slowly climbed the ladder of success in his music career. Since the beginning of his solo profession with Crazy Horse, he created many successful albums and contributed to the bands like CSNY. Coming from Canada and building such a career in the United States was a complicated process for the Grammy-winning rocker. Not only reaching the U.S. but also getting citizenship was not effortless for him.

Neil Young Entered The United States Illegally


When Neil Young decided to take proper steps in his music career, he realized that the United States was the mainland for his goal. As he revealed in his 2012 memoir ‘Waging Heavy Peace,’ the singer set his mind on going to Los Angeles. According to him, the city was the center of the music industry, and he would reach that city of his dreams at all costs.

Neil Young wrote in his memoir:

“I made up my mind that someday I was going to sneak in. I targeted L.A. because that was where all the music was happening.”

The rocker took the road lurking in a hearse which having containers of marijuana. They told the United States immigration security that they were on the road to Vancouver, Canada, and drove to the U.S. because the highways were better. The immigration guard let them use the road, and Young’s adventure in the U.S. began. However, the rocker later had to deal with getting U.S. citizenship, and it was not easy for him due to his consumption of drugs.

Neil Young Faced Difficulties In Having U.S. Citizenship


In 2019, Neil Young expressed his wish to have dual citizenship and the right to vote in the United States. After living in the U.S for more than 50 years, the reason why he was enthusiastic about citizenship that year was his willingness to vote in the presidential elections in 2020. As the singer explained on his website, Neil passed the test by giving honest answers to the questions conveyed to him for citizenship. However, Young was informed that he had to be tested again due to his use of marijuana. According to the Policy Alert he shared, some people who use it may have a ‘lack of good moral character.’

Neil Young informed on his website:

“I was asked many questions. I answered them truthfully and passed. Recently, however, I have been told that I must do another test due to my use of marijuana and how some people who smoke it have exhibited a problem.”

Then, the rocker expressed his hope for having citizenship, pointing out he did his best to exhibit good moral character. Young stated that he wanted to use his vote for Donald J. Trump and his fellow American candidates during the election. He desired to have a right to vote as a part of democracy to make himself heard, especially regarding climate emergencies. Later, the issue about marijuana was resolved, and Young became a citizen of the United States in 2020.