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lovelyalex

Boston oath ceremony experience

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Well ladies and gentlemen, I am officially done on my journey! I had my oath ceremony today at Faneuil Hall in Boston. It's a great historic building in the heart of Boston that really added to the excitement of the event! There were lines going around the building and through the busy market square which generated a lot of interest from passing tourists.  Many were very happy for us all.  Luckily the weather held out.  If you have your ceremony at this venue and the weather looks at all bad BRING AN UMBRELLA.  I don't think there is ANYWHERE for people to queue, like we had to today, if it's raining or snowing.  There were just too many people.

 

However it was basically coordinated like a visit to the DMV (but at least the DMV has some signs) only in a nicer building! There were people there of every age, race, all walks of life.  We got to the venue 35 minutes earlier than the time stated on the letter (12.05pm).  There were 2 long lines, one for folks with pink letters and green letters, and one for folks with white letters.  Not sure at all why there were different letters sent out or what they represented.  Many people brought more than one guest (despite the notice on the letter) and didn't have a problem getting in.  The building is NOT ALL WHEELCHAIR friendly so that caused a lot of chaos for elderly and disabled guests and oath takers getting up some of the steps.  The local police/security tried to help organize but I think some end of line ushers might have helped.  Many people were in the wrong lines and couldn't hear any details being called out once lines took a turn around the corner.

 

Guests were called in FIRST and sent upstairs.  Then white letters were called and went upstairs.  Then the green and pink line.  I was a pink letter so that is when I got in.  When I came in my bag was not searched at all, but Pat later told me as my guest he was made to throw out a coffee cup (but later saw a lot of people eating and drinking in the gallery area).  I sat down to the right side.  There were 12 seats on a row, with 12 rows on each side, both packed - and then more seats on either side at the edges facing in.  We were then called a row at a time to hand in our greencards (which literally just got thrown into a ziploc bag all mixed up) and given a little official USCIS flag.  We kept our oath date letter, which they had stamped with I-1551 SUSPENDED or something like, and wrong a number on it. Then we sat down and waited for the rest of the oath takers to do the same.  There were at least 2 lines so both sides of the room were processed at the same time.  Occasionally official officers would make announcements reminding people they needed to fill out the back of the letters and sign/date.  Or if they forgot/lost their greencard to go see a person to the left of the stage.  Then more officials reminded folks that if they were not wearing a hat/covering their head for religious reasons to take them off.  Lots of people didn't pay attention so they said it again.  Then we had a few reminders for guests in the front row of the gallery to not stand up and to be mindful of the people around them for pictures etc.  Also lots of reminders for people to not put strollers or bags in certain places because the building is historic and we should be respectful etc.

 

Regarding dress code I say this bit because I know some have asked about what to wear - my husband and I did dress up a bit (him in a blazer but me more business casual) - but there were a lot of people who did not follow the guidance/recommendation - and not just guests.  If you are stressing about what to wear, as long as you show up clean and wearing clothes, I think you're good!  Given that there are people from all walks of life there, you're going to see people dressed a little differently, some might be more formal, some might be less formal.  I did not see any flip flops or obvious blue denim (examples of what not to wear on the invitation letter) - but I saw black jeans etc. and sandals bordering on flip flops... but no one was turned away.  People have their own idea of smart/respectful and that's fine.

 

The officers called a handful of names specifically (presumably because they needed to double check things or make sure they were there etc). This happened a few times.

 

Young children (guests) were very veeeeery restless. Finally at about 1.30pm the officers announced the judge was coming in!  We all were asked to rise and in she came, with some officials and the county sheriff too. Court was declared in session!

 

The USCIS officer started with an announcement saying that of the 388 people there 55 wanted a name change.  The judge said sure why not (except in official judge speak ha!) and then the officer said 388 people wanted to be come citizens.  Motion carried/sure why not.  Then had us all rise and raise our right hand.  Then the officer of the court made us all say the oath, and added in our own names at the same time as everyone else. 

 

Then the judge started talking, and then (maybe this was a joke cos they do a lot of these) suddenly remembered that we were stills tanding and told us to sit down... everyone chuckled.  Then she gave a great speech about how far we'd all come and what we were bringing to the nation and the state, how we were enriching our lives and the lives of everyone around us... and the adversities we'd faced.  She recognized a lot of reasons why we had come to the US, and the jobs that we had, calling out doctors and scientists as well as hotel workers and service industry professionals, who are just as important. She encouraged us to stand for local office, help in campaigns etc... do all the things that make democracy work.

 

She called out all 69 nations represented in alphabetical order and had us stand up when our nation was called.  She prefaced saying we were free to give a WOOOP/cheer etc when ours came.. but warned us whatever we did the Brazilians would probably out cheer us!  She was right! :jest: Brazil was probably the loudest, closely followed by Haiti.  Mine was one of the last (UK) so me (and my husband up in the gallery) made sure to give it our best. Many people standing were the only ones of their original country there, both others clapped and applauded for them. I'm pretty sure he did a Rick Flair impression! I will admit that when they called my name I got a little teary and had a stupid grin on my face for the rest of the time.  The girl next to me was from Vietnam so I also gave her a cheer too!

 

Then a daughter of two folks nationalizing today gave the pledge of allegiance.  Then the county sheriff gave a (slightly less rousing but still) very nice and warm friendly speech, also reminding us of his immigrant heritage and how in Massachusetts we have such a great mix of nationalities and heritage.  Then he reminded us of this celebration that was being thrown down the road that we were all invited too (but I didn't go) and to follow the balloons after.  Then the judge closed out court, we all stood up and they left.  Then they had the guests leave.  The way they handled that, for a split second I thought MAYBE the officer was going to give us some special American secrets, like in those National Treasure movies... but alas not.  There was no hidden treasure etc.

 

Once the guests had almost all gone, they rejiggled the set up in front of the stage, so 2 tables became 8 stations. The number they wrote on your letter corresponded to the table to collect your certificate and large envelope with some information inside about passport etc, a card sleeve for the certificate. Again, they called rows up one at a time, working from the front to the back.  Once you got your packet you could leave.  Some lines went quicker than others, so folks from rows behind me ended up leaving a bit quicker because the guys at table 6 and 7 were lightening fast!  When my turn came I grabbed my stuff, checked that my details were correct (they were - and the picture they took at my biometrics were indeed TERRIBLE) and I said my goodbyes to the folks who had been sitting around me.  When I got out side everyone was crowding around the door cheering for friends and family as they came out, that was a really nice touch.

 

A friend came to meet my husband and they both cheered for me and then we went to lunch and went home!  While the ceremony was relatively short, the form checking and handing over documents probably made the whole duration about 3 - 3 1/2 hours. 

 

I am a May 2017 N-400 filer, but have been registered on this forum since I first came to the US in 2009.  Thank you everyone on this forum for your support and guidance through this process and my original AOS! I hope my write up today is helpful for those of you in Boston.

 

For those of you still waiting.  Hang in there!  You are getting closer every day to closing this chapter of your life and starting a new one...  Even if it doesn't always feel like it.


http://nomoremrsniceguy.blogspot.com/

Our journey:

11th October 2012: APPROVED!

24th February 2012: Biometrics appointment

8th February 2012: Touch

24th January 2012: Biometrics NOA date (received 30th)

19th January 2012: Check cashed by VSC

17th January 2012: NOA date (received 20th)

14th January 2012: ROC delivered via USPS to VSC

13th January 2012: Filed for ROC

Earliest date to remove conditions: Friday, December 2, 2011

9th March 2010: GC in hand

1st March 2010: Interview 8.40am APPROVED!

1st March 2010: EAD arrives, along with daughters US passport

15th January 2010: Biometrics appointment

10th December 2009: Filed for AOS

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience.  Goodluck to you in your journey as a Full Pledge US Citizen of the state. :wub:


USCIS

Dec. 6,2012 - PD
Dec. 7,2012 - noa1
Sept.6,2012 - Received email from USCIS, case transferred from NBC to Local Atlanta office.
- Scheduled hubby for INFO PASS dated Sept.26,2012

Sept.21,2012 - Hubby received a call from USCIS Lady doing a "PHONE INTERVIEW".
Sept.24,2012- Received Text & Email " CASE APPROVED"
Sept.26,2012- Hubby still went to his INFO PASS appointment to asked further assitance for the next stage.
Sept.28,2012- Received Noa2 Hard copy

NVC

Oct.22,2013 - NVC received file
Nov.5, 2013 - Received Case # and Invoice ID Number
Nov.6, 2013 - Received Email for AOS & FEE Bill
Nov.8, 2013 - AOS & IV payment status " IN PROCESS"
Nov.12,2013- AOS & IV payment status "PAID"
Nov.21,2013- DS-260 submitted
Dec.9,2013 - AOS & IV package sent
Dec.13,2013- False checklist received. Called NVC to confirm and they said just ignore it. Its like a confirmation
they received our documents.
Jan.14,2014 - Called NVC and heared our document was reviewed Jan.9 - and we got a checklist
on AOS & IV.

Jan.15,2014- Received official email checklist

Jan.15,2014- Responded to IV checklist in the afternoon. Sending my NBI CLEARANCE (again) Thru FedEx.

Jan 17,2014- NVC received FedEx document at 9:40a.m. signed by G.Peters

Jan 17,2014- Hubby took a half day off at work to dropped off personally to the lawyer's office, a checklist on his
AOS.

Jan.21,2014- IV checklist reviewed

Jan. 29,2014- AOS checklist reviewed

Feb. 20, 2014 - CASE COMPLETE

Feb. 27, 2014 - Received Official Email..Case Complete

Feb, 28, 2014 - Received P4

April 1, 2014 - INTERVIEW DATE 9:30a.m.

THE BAHAMAS - PORT OF ENTRY

APRIL 10,2014 "HOME SWEET HOME" with hubby

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