I’m currently living in the US as a “premanent resident”, with what is known as a “green card”. Â This means I can live here as long as I like, but I’m not a citizen. Â I can’t vote, I can’t leave the country for more than six months at a time, and there are some tax problems.
On Election day this year, November 4th 2008, I decided to apply for citizenship, and so filled in my form and sent it off. Â This is what happened so far (I’ll update it as more thing happen).
Nov 4th 2008
– Filled in the N400 form. Â This can be downloaded from the slightly confusing USCIS web site. Â It’s a PDF that you can fill in at your computer and then save and print out. Â I’m sure eventually they will accept it over the internet, but for now you’ve got to mail it in.
– Took some passport photos. Â These have to be ratther particular, 2″x2″. Â There’s a nice page explaining all the details, or you can just pay someone to do it for you. Â You need to send them two, and keep two for later. Â I did them myself, Holly took a photo of me with a white background, and I cropped it to fit. Â You write your “A Number” on the back of the photo, in pencil.
– Wrote check for $675. Â Somewhat expensive.
– Sent it all in (I actually did the above over a few days, but I mailed it on election day).
(There’s a handy checklist for the above).
Nov 13th 2008
An I-797C Notice of Action arrives, telling me my application has arrived, and I should hear from them within 425 days. Â Yes, it actually said 425 day.
Nov 20th 2008
Rather surpisingly, I hear from them a week later, with a letter telling that I have an appointment to be fingerprinted on december 4th, at 12 PM. Â Not too bad. Â But I think the long wait comes after, waiting for the interview.
Dec 4th 2008
Fingerprinting day. Â I arrive at 11:40 for my 12PM appointment. Â Not very busy. Â They are very serious about their “No Cellphone” rule, making me leave mine in the car. Â I fill in a form, and am called in less than five minutes. Â The fingerprinting took arount 10 minutes (a grumpy Russian woman, constantly berating the machine). Â My fingers were too dry, so they were squirted with water several times, but eventually it worked.
They game me a book to study for the Naturalization test, questions like: Â What is the “rule of law”. Â Now I just have to wait until an interview is scheduled. Â No idea how long that will take.
Dec 18th 2008
I’ve got my appointment for the interview. Â Set for Feb 17th 2009, at 7:45AM.
Feb 17th 2009
March 3rd 2009
I get a letter informing me that the Naturalization Oath Ceremony is on March 25th, 2009, at the Pomana Fairplex, 12:30 PM. Â I am to bring the letter, my green card, probably my passports (just to be safe). Â I also have to assert that since the interview I have not practiced polygamy or been a habitual drunkard.
They also note that “Proper attire should be worn”
March 25th 2009
Naturalization oath ceremony, I’m now an American. Â Applied for passport.
April 15th 2009
Passport arrives, and the Naturalization certificate was returned in a separate envelope. Â Basically five and a half months from applying to getting the passport and certificate.