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Kajikit

I'm a citizen now!

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My oath ceremony was this morning at Oakland Park Florida. We were told to be there at 10.30, so to make sure we were really early, we left home at quarter past nine and we got there about 20 to 10 and I went to the back of the already-long line. Then there was a crisis. We had a family emergency this week, and I was so flustered that I entirely forgot I needed to take my green card with me. I remembered it when I got into line and saw the lady ahead of me holding hers in her hand. Oh BLEEEP!!!!!!!! I ran back to the car, we raced home, I RAN upstairs and picked it up, and we raced back again, getting there exactly at 10.30am. The good thing about that was that we were still perfectly on time after that little crisis, and I didn't have to stand in line for very long because they started filing us into the building five minutes after I got there. So that's one reason for being early!

It didn't take long to get everyone in the door at 10.30 because they checked all our paperwork while were lined up waiting, and clipped our green cards onto our sheet. Make sure you put the right date on it. I was so flustered that I copied the date the letter was sent instead of today's date, and I had to fix it. But it seemed like every second person had to correct something on their sheet, and some didn't understand enough English to even fill it out. (like the lady in front of me. She left it blank and when they started questioning her she just said 'yes, yes' until they grabbed somebody to translate for her and straighten out the mess.)

Your guest doesn't get to sit anywhere near you. They put visitors with small kids over by the door (presumably in case a parent needed to take the child out of the room) and the other guests were crammed on the far side of the room. Family were encouraged to take photos during the ceremony to help us remember our 'special day' but there was really nothing to take photos OF - there are too many people crammed into too small a space, and I couldn't even see where John was sitting. All the new citizens were sitting in the middle, and they called out the list of countries alphabetically with how many people from each were there, and made us stand up as our country was listed and remain standing. Since I'm from Australia, I was right near the front of the list and standing for a fair while. They said there were 166 people from 40 countries being naturalised today, so the room was packed. There were one or two from a whole bunch of places, 10 from Columbia, 20 from Venezualea, and right at the end of the list they called Haiti(40). Everyone applauded politely, and the Haitians cheered loudly enough to raise the roof. That reminded me of why citizenship is really important to a lot of people. Some of us come from one privileged country (Australia, Canada, the UK etc.) to another and we've basically just changed the country on our passport. We could go 'home' again and live just the same way we do here, we just don't want to, but to the refugees it's a really HUGE thing to be here, and the USA really does represent a 'better life' for their families.

The rest of the ceremony was pretty quick. We sat there and they played a couple of patriotic video clips, then we said the oath, the pledge of allegiance and sang 'Proud to be an American' and we were done. I wish they'd chosen something a little less militiaristic, like America the Beautiful or God Bless America!

I'd expected that we'd stand up and file past the stage at the front of the room to collect our certificates a la graduation, but they just had us stand up one row at a time and collect them on our way out the door. I was in the second-last row in, but the first one out. If you wanted a photo at the front of the room you could do it afterwards, so lots of people milled around there waiting for a turn. The whole thing was over before 12 and my husband and I went off to have a Southern-style lunch to celebrate. (he suggested Chinese, but if you're going to become an American you should really eat American food to celebrate it!:P)

One tip - make sure you take your social security card with you. They don't TELL you to bring it because you don't need it for the ceremony, but they had representatives from the social security department, the voting registration people etc there, and you could sign up for everything on the spot - as long as you knew your social security number! I didn't even think of taking that card and I have no idea what my number is, so now I'll have to wait 2 weeks (10 business days) for my change of status to get into the system before I can do all that stuff at the appropriate office. It's not a big deal, but it saves a lot of extra running around if you can do it right away.

Edited by Kajikit

Karen - Melbourne, Australia/John - Florida, USA

- Proposal (20 August 2000) to marriage (19 December 2004) - 4 years, 3 months, 25 days (1,578 days)

STAGE 1 - Applying for K1 (15 September 2003) to K1 Approval (13 July 2004) - 9 months, 29 days (303 days)

STAGE 2A - Arriving in US (4 Nov 2004) to AOS Application (16 April 2005) - 5 months, 13 days (164 days)

STAGE 2B - Applying for AOS to GC Approval - 9 months, 4 days (279 days)

STAGE 3 - Lifting Conditions. Filing (19 Dec 2007) to Approval (December 11 2008)

STAGE 4 - CITIZENSHIP (filing under 5-year rule - residency start date on green card Jan 11th, 2006)

*N400 filed December 15, 2011

*Interview March 12, 2012

*Oath Ceremony March 23, 2012.

ALL DONE!!!!!!!!

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That's amazing!

Are you allowed to keep your Australian passport?


Start of relationship

??/07/2008 - A random Skype message came through to me from an American girl

14/02/2009 - After months of talking, the American girl flew over to me - I knew we were meant to be

18/08/2009 - I proposed to her on Brighton Beach, UK

K1 Journey

15/07/2010 - We finally put in the i129f application - after shortly considering me going there on VWP, marrying and trying to Adjust Status, but was too risky

03/01/2011 - NOA2 on the day Dawn returned to NY after spending Christmas with me

10/02/2011 - I visited NY for 3 weeks (let this hold up the K1 process)

28/02/2011 - Medical

29/03/2011 - K1 Interview at London Embassy - Visa granted!

01/04/2011 - Visa in hand

Next Stage

03/05/2011 - POE in JFK - can't wait!

04/06/2011 - Our Wedding Day :)

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Actually, yes I am. Australia switched to allowing dual citizenships in the 1980s. When I go home to visit my parents later in the year I'll see about getting my Australian paperwork in order and up-to-date. I never changed my name or anything because it was too difficult to do from here.


Karen - Melbourne, Australia/John - Florida, USA

- Proposal (20 August 2000) to marriage (19 December 2004) - 4 years, 3 months, 25 days (1,578 days)

STAGE 1 - Applying for K1 (15 September 2003) to K1 Approval (13 July 2004) - 9 months, 29 days (303 days)

STAGE 2A - Arriving in US (4 Nov 2004) to AOS Application (16 April 2005) - 5 months, 13 days (164 days)

STAGE 2B - Applying for AOS to GC Approval - 9 months, 4 days (279 days)

STAGE 3 - Lifting Conditions. Filing (19 Dec 2007) to Approval (December 11 2008)

STAGE 4 - CITIZENSHIP (filing under 5-year rule - residency start date on green card Jan 11th, 2006)

*N400 filed December 15, 2011

*Interview March 12, 2012

*Oath Ceremony March 23, 2012.

ALL DONE!!!!!!!!

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Yeah... it was certainly convenient to live 20 minutes from the immigration office. I hate to think what would have happened if we didn't have time to go home and fetch my green card before the ceremony. I'm not normally quite so scatter-brained about interviews etc. but DH's sister has cancer and she passed away yesterday morning, and he's been very unwell this week, so I was worrying about everything on earth APART from the ceremony.


Karen - Melbourne, Australia/John - Florida, USA

- Proposal (20 August 2000) to marriage (19 December 2004) - 4 years, 3 months, 25 days (1,578 days)

STAGE 1 - Applying for K1 (15 September 2003) to K1 Approval (13 July 2004) - 9 months, 29 days (303 days)

STAGE 2A - Arriving in US (4 Nov 2004) to AOS Application (16 April 2005) - 5 months, 13 days (164 days)

STAGE 2B - Applying for AOS to GC Approval - 9 months, 4 days (279 days)

STAGE 3 - Lifting Conditions. Filing (19 Dec 2007) to Approval (December 11 2008)

STAGE 4 - CITIZENSHIP (filing under 5-year rule - residency start date on green card Jan 11th, 2006)

*N400 filed December 15, 2011

*Interview March 12, 2012

*Oath Ceremony March 23, 2012.

ALL DONE!!!!!!!!

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Congratulations!


"The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!" - Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945.

"Retreat hell! We just got here!"

CAPT. LLOYD WILLIAMS, USMC

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Congratulations!!! :thumbs:


Met online : 2009
Married : 07/28/2010


USCIS
Send I-130 : 06/08/2011
Touched : 06/13/2011
got a NOA1 by e-mail and SMS : 06/15/2011
got "I-797C" hard copy of NOA1 : 06/20/2011
got RFE "I-797E" : 10/15/2011
RFE Reply : 12/15/2011
Touched : 12/16/2011
I-130 Approved : 12/20/2011
got "I-797" hard copy of NOA2 : 12/24/2011
Your I-130 was approved in 183 days from your NOA1 date.


NVC
NVC Case Number : 01/13/2012
Pay "$88" AOS Bill and e-mailed DS-3032 : 02/08/2012
Email from NVC, DS-3032 Accepted : 02/09/2012
AOS Fee Shows PAID : 02/09/2012
IV fee invoiced "$404" : 02/10/2012
IV fee invoiced "$230" : 04/18/2012
Pay "$230" IV Bill : 04/30/2012
IV Fee Shows PAID : 05/02/2012
Send AOS and IV packet : 06/09/2012
AOS and IV packet Received : 06/22/2012
Case completed at NVC : 06/29/2012

Interview Date : 08/28/2012 "Denied"

Case Reaffirmed : 07/16/2013

Second interview - Approved : 10/24/2013

Visa Issued : 10/29/2013

Visa in hand : 10/31/2013

For more details please visit my timeline

485.gif

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Congratulations!!:dance:


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

N400 Timeline:

4/14/12- 3rd yr as PR

1/17/12- mailed packet

Biometrics-- waived

4/25/12- interview- passed & took my oath the same day!!-- US Citizen!!!

My N400 Journey took 3months & 8days!:)

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Yeah... it was certainly convenient to live 20 minutes from the immigration office. I hate to think what would have happened if we didn't have time to go home and fetch my green card before the ceremony. I'm not normally quite so scatter-brained about interviews etc. but DH's sister has cancer and she passed away yesterday morning, and he's been very unwell this week, so I was worrying about everything on earth APART from the ceremony.

I am so very sorry for your family's loss :( I hope your husband is feeling better.

Congratulations on your naturalisation!! The culmination of a long (and expensive!) journey!! I'm looking forward to next year when I'm able to file. It's all coming around a lot quicker than I thought it would.

On a side note - Have fun updating your passport! Don't forget you need to do a legal name change if you were married outside of Australia. So you will have to pay for the name change and THEN the new passport. There's a thread in my signature where I explain the process (I was able to do it in time to get the gratis passport but still had to pay the $100+ for the name change).

Congrats again and thank you for the tips about the SSN and GC. I'm 3 hours from my "local office" so I'd be up a creek!

Edited by Vanessa&Tony

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