I, Mary Rose, am officially a U.S. Citizen! After a LONG process, I can’t believe I am more than a “permanent resident of the United States” but an official Citizen of this country. I was searching on the internet about how others became a U.S. citizen but I didn’t find any posts from fellow bloggers about this process. I went on uscis.gov website to follow the process but I really wanted to read someone’s journey on how they became a U.S. Citizen. Without any luck of finding any, I decided I’d share how I got started and my journey on becoming a U.S. Citizen so maybe I can offer some help to others attempting to do the same.
A little background about me, I moved to Hawaii from the Philippines when I was 11 years old. I was eligible to have a green card (permanent residence) because my mother is a U.S. citizen. Fast forward a few years and I’m finally an adult, 18 years old. First question on the naturalization (admit (a foreigner) to the citizenship of a country) worksheet is if you are at least 18 years old. You must be this age or older to be eligible to apply. Fast forward a few years again… Now, I am 26 years old. I wish I did all the paperwork as soon as I turned 18! I don’t know why I waited almost a decade to go through with my citizenship. Tip: Apply as soon as you’re (legally) able to!
26 year old me, finally ready to go through the process. First things first is looking over the Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet and checking everything off; making sure I am eligible and my green card is still active (pay attention to the effective date of your permanent residence card). Next step is to gather documents needed to apply. Once you have all of the paperwork, make sure to have a check or money order of $680 for the Naturalization Fees along with your application. (Fees may change over time so check the website)
I sent out my application on January 19, 2016.
Once the application is sent out, they will review everything and make sure no other documents are needed. After a couple of weeks, I received a letter from USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) with the date, location, and time for my Biometrics (fingerprinting) and any two forms of identification.
Biometrics: February 19, 2016 (exactly one month from when I sent out my application)
On February 19, 2016, I went in for my biometrics which took about 10 minutes. I brought with me the letter that I received (biometric letter from USCIS), green card, and any form of identification (license, passport, etc.). After getting fingerprinted, they gave me a book to study for my Naturalization Test. In the book, it has 100 questions with the answers given (the test will only have 10 questions out of the 100). It also included a CD to listen to in the car which helped a lot during my drive to work.
Interview and Test: March 30, 2016
Last step, waiting for the final letter. Two weeks had passed and I finally received the letter from USCIS! I PASSED! The letter included my date, time, and location for the Oath Ceremony. Along with the oath ceremony letter, I needed to bring my green card (which is given to the officer during the ceremony). Taking the oath will complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Oath Ceremony: April 27, 2016
On April 27, 2016, I went in for my oath ceremony which ran for an hour. Upon check-in, we had to surrender our green card. Once everyone was seated, they had a few videos to show about being a citizen then we stood up and took the oath. After the oath was taken, there was a video of President Obama thanking the new citizens of U.S.A. and we sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” along with pledging allegiance to the Flag. Lastly, we we’re called individually to receive our certificate.
Tip: Apply for your U.S. passport right away! Don’t forget to update your Social Security that you are now a U.S. Citizen!