My immigration journey has come to an end after - almost - 7 years. I had my interview last Thursday, on the 13th in Boston. Matt and I left the Cape at 5am because I'm a nervous Nellie. Parked at the Quincy T station which made life a whole lot easier - unless you like to drive in the city. There's a few places around the USCIS building to grab a coffee and something to eat if you get there too early, like we did - Dunkin, Panera, Starbucks, etc. As soon as you walk in you have to go through a metal detector - backpacks and drinks are allowed (might seem like a silly side note, but we were worried about having a backpack and liquids with us - too many airports and embassy visits I guess). Once you finally get to the USCIS floor, you check in at the counter, they only need to see your interview letter. My interview was supposed to be at 9, they said to get there at 8:30, which we did. I got called in at a little after 10. It's a good size room, people with all sorts of immigration issues. All the chatter around me and the screaming babies did not help my nerves. Bring some headphones!
The lady who interviewed me was very pleasant. All business, but nice. She asked me to remain standing and raise my right hand and swear I will tell the truth. Then she asked me for my green card and my passport. Those were the only 2 things she asked from me (I brought tax transcripts and marriage certificate, our birth certificates, Matt's passport - even though I applied under the 5 year rule). Then she asked if I wanted to start with the test, and I said sure. She said it's easy and not to worry. My questions were:
1. What year was the Constitution written?
2. What does the Constitution do?
3. What is freedom of religion?
4. Name on state that borders Canada.
5. What ocean is on the East coast?
6. How many senators are there?
Then she asked me to read this sentence: What do we pay the government?
And then I had to write: We pay taxes.
She said I passed the test and next we will go over my application. I said I will take out my copy as well if that's ok; she said sure. Went over address and employment history, how many trips total, and then moved on to the yes/no questions at the end. And then she asked me if I'm available the following Thursday for the oath, and told me to go wait for my oath letter. The whole interview lasted less than 10 minutes. Had to wait about another hour for the letter.
Little history: no kids, had the same job for the last 3 years, bought a house 2 years ago, had a bunch of trips to Europe and the BVIs and Canada, but nothing longer than a month. Both green card applications were approved with no interview in a fairly short amount of time. No reason really why I waited so long to apply, a little bit of laziness, a little bit of different vacation plans or other things going on in our lives.
I was definitely more stressed out than I should have been, seeing how easy the interview was.
The oath took place at Faneuil Hall, had to be there at 12. You need your oath letter and your green card. And maybe a mini fan - no AC in that small room with more than 500 people in there! They have everyone take a seat. Then they ask you to fill out the back of your oath letter - which I did in the morning. Then they ask the people who do not have their green card to come check in. Then they have every row get up, one at a time to go check in - surrender your green card moment. I thought it was a pretty dumb way of doing it, having everyone check in about an hour after we got there,an hour of just sitting and sweating. So you have 398 people get up and sit down again. Like it wasn't hot enough before we did that! Then the judge came in, said he approves the name changes and our citizenship. We said the Pledge of Allegiance and then the judge stepped out. Then they asked the guests we brought to step out of the building before they start handing out our certificates - for security reasons, very strange. You form a line again by rows, check your name on the certificate to make sure there are no errors. And that's it.
There were a bunch of people outside with voter registration form. You can also do it online - maybe not in every state, I'd check first.
After we went to the Post office on Milk street and applied for a passport. We waited there for about an hour because they only had 1 person taking passport applications. If you don't have pics with you, they can take one pic for $15 right there. I had them done at Triple A for $12 for 2 pics - as I wasn't sure if I needed them for the interview. They can also make a copy of your driver's license, front and back. I would highly advise to make a copy at home and be prepared. The people working there are slower than a turtle on its back. I had dowloaded and filled out the application the day before. You will also need a personal check or a money order - no cards! And your brand spanking new certificate. Also, there is a $25 Post Office processing fee that you can pay with a card.
And when I get my passport and my certificate back, I will go to the Social Security office and get that last thing done - should be fun!
Hope this helps someone out there. Keeping my fingers crossed for everyone to get a speedy approval!