While the prevailing logic in the digital news business is “don’t give the story away in the headline,” I didn’t see the sense in shrouding this particular post in mystery.
Today my application for U.S. citizenship was recommended for approval, according to the USCIS caseworker and the printed sheet of paper I was handed earlier this morning.
I’d known about my interview date for a few weeks, but it was difficult to really know what to expect. All I was told was that I had to be at the USCIS Denver field office in Centennial — about 12 miles south of my apartment and almost 40 south of the office — at 10:25 a.m. on a weekday.
Thankfully I work for an understanding employer who’s cool with me logging in from the world’s noisiest suburban Starbucks and the front seat of my friend Courtney’s car, so I managed to get a few hours of work done before my appointment without having to go all the way to the office first.
The government building was exactly as I could’ve expected: full metal detector and airport security-like checkpoint in the lobby, DMV-esque hard plastic chairs and nothing else to look at in the waiting room. Thankfully, phones weren’t verboten in Centennial, unlike the office in Aurora where I went for my biometrics appointment back in September, so I was able to get in some last-minute study (read: messing around on Twitter.)
The waiting room was about halfway full and I’d estimate there were about as many applicants as there were attorneys and translators to assist them with their cases. Similarly to my last visit, I was one of very few of Caucasian descent, and I certainly felt aware of my privilege and how comparatively easy my case has been to how others’ may have played out.
The appointment was scheduled for 10:25, and I probably only waited 10 minutes before my name was called into one of the four or five doorways leading off the main waiting room.
I followed my interviewer to an interior office, gave my fingerprints and sat still for a photo, presumably to verify my identity compared to prior scans. He assured me that I had little to be nervous about; he’d already reviewed my case and there wasn’t anything in the way of speed bumps, so to speak.
“As long as you’ve done a little bit of study for the test, you’ll be fine,” he said.
And as it turned out, I’d done just enough to get by. It’s a spoken test, with a maximum of 10 questions and a 60 percent pass rate. He rattled off computer-selected questions and I got the first six right, putting me over the line.
He then proceeded to go through my history of residence and employment over the past five years, then asked me practically all of the questions off the application form I filled out in August (nope, still not a Nazi or a member of the Communist Party) and…that was pretty much it. There was a little more small talk than I would’ve liked, and a little more socio-political commentary about “illiterate refugees” who fail the test (hey pal, fuck off), but it was over before I knew it.
Contrary to what I’d hoped, they didn’t herd a bunch of us into another room for a swearing-in ceremony right afterwards, so I’ve got to wait “about three weeks” for it all to be made official. That’s nice though, because it gives me the opportunity to rally some troops to come watch me say the oath.
So once again, it’s a case of “hurry up and wait,” and I remain a permanent resident until I can recite the Oath of Allegiance, but the hard part is definitely over, and that’s a relief. The journey’s all but over!