I am pleased to report that one of my clients recently became a U.S. citizen, and has graciously authorized me to write about his case. We first met on the telephone in early 2017. At that time my client, The Champ, had been a permanent resident for nearly a decade.
Initially, The Champ had some concerns about the naturalization test and was hesitant to proceed because he did not want any blemishes on his record. “Spence, I’ve never bounced a check, and I just really don’t want this thing to go sideways and put a mark on my record. I dropped out of school at a young age and I’ve never been good at taking tests.”
Fortunately, there was plenty of time to prepare. The Champ’s application was received by USCIS on June 30, 2017 and he had to wait nearly a month until his biometrics appointment. In the summer of 2018, I began calling him a few times a week to give him pop quizzes on the naturalization test. During this process, we discovered some interesting tricks for memorizing the answers. For example, if you say “World War One” your mouth makes the same movements as when you say “Woodrow Wilson” which is the answer to the question: “Who was President During World War I?”
When we finally received notice of his scheduled interview in late-August 2018, we still had over a month to prepare for the naturalization test. By the time of his interview in early-October 2018 he knew the answers to most of the obscure questions, like “Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?” and “What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?”
He called me after the interview, and the first thing he said was “One. Hundred. Percent.”
“Great! So, did you take the oath? Are you a U.S. citizen now?”
“No, they told me that the ceremony will be in about two weeks and I have to come back.”
Unlike Seattle, the naturalization process in Arizona concludes with an oath ceremony at the federal courthouse. We received notice of the oath ceremony in mid-October, and he attended the ceremony in early-November 2018. According to The Champ, the ceremony lasted approximately two hours, and representatives from social security and the passport office were available to assist with applications as soon as applicants received their Certificates of Citizenship. In sum, it took approximately 16 months between application and oath ceremony.