Thursday, September 2, 2010

America's Newest Citizen.

Cathy's appointment with USCIS for her interview for citizenship was yesterday at 7:15.......AM....other side of Atlanta.....an hour and a half away. In order to be certain we could make it there on time - if traffic turned out to be heavier than expected - we left home at 5 o'clock.

It was too early to drop JP off at school, so he went with us. We arrived at 6:30, as planned, with enough time to get a bite to eat before going inside. There's not too many people at USCIS at 7 in the morning. There wasn't a huge line trying to get inside. We took off our shoes, sent our belongings through the x-ray and we walked through the metal detector and on up to the 2nd floor.

Surprisingly, we didn't have to wait long before someone came for Cathy. JP and I had to stay behind in the waiting area while Cathy was being interviewed; the agent did, however, request to see my driver's license.

The actual interview didn't take long either; maybe about 45 minutes. Cathy passed all the tests on U.S. history and civics as well as the rather simple English test (read this sentence for me......write this sentence).

We had been instructed to bring all sorts of documentation - originals and copies. Birth certificates for me and JP, marriage certificate for me and Cathy. Passports, divorce papers. The only copies that she had to give were the tax returns for three years and a copy to the deed to our house.......proof that we are actually living as husband and wife.

We could have been gone shortly after 8, but for the swearing in ceremony scheduled for 2 o'clock that afternoon. We found ourselves with nearly six hours to kill. It was off to the Buford Hwy farmers market to pick up some things not available in our home town. Did a lot of window shopping near the USCIS building until noon, when we had lunch.

At one o'clock, we went back inside and through security again.

Back on the 2nd floor, it turns out that there where 160 people getting sworn in that afternoon. All the friends and family accompanying the new citizens had to separate ourselves until all those being sworn in were seated inside the ceremony room; we were allowed in to sit in the back just before the ceremony began.

It had been a long day for JP and he went to sleep while we were waiting. I had to carry him inside and hold him on my lap while Cathy and the group were being sworn in. He woke up just before the ceremony ended.

Again, the family and friends had to go out first when the ceremony was over; it was easier for the new citizens to pick up their certificates on the way out. We were allowed to go back inside and take pictures......a few people posed in front of the U.S. flag, though Cathy and another lady choose to pose in front of the Dept. of Homeland Security flag instead.

We finally arrived home at 5 PM....twelve hours after we left that morning. It was a long day, but it was worth it. No more immigration....no more biometrics....no more fees. That is, until Cathy applies for Mama and Papa to immigrate.

2 comments:

Al said...

1st of all, as the grandson of immigrants may I say congratulations.

That having been said, the fact that they asked for the tax records tells me what they see as important, do we have a person whom we can milk for all the tax money we can?

As for the in-laws, at least this time you will have a little insight in how to negotiate the maze, barring any changes that they will probably make just to keep everyone confused.

LarryD said...

Congratulations! What an achievement!