My road to becoming a us citizen

Dayana Plaisime, Reporter

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I’ve had my permanent resident card from the time I was 8 up until two months before my 18th birthday. It didn’t dwell on me since it has been part of me for almost 10 years of my life until six months before it expired.

I was still 17 at the time, but I was emancipated, which allowed me to do my citizenship paperwork as an adult. The first step to becoming a citizen is filing the necessary paperwork. Since I had no idea what I was doing at the time, I went to the Family Liaison at my high school. (A family liaison is like a counselor that helps with non-academic issues.) She emailed me the necessary paperwork I had to do.

My first step was to file an I-90 form which is an application to renew my green card, and I also had to submit an I-912, which is a fee waiver to waive the application fee. For me to qualify for the fee waiver I had to send in my IRS tax information as well as documentation, such as any government assistance I was receiving. I had to write about my financial situation as to why I could not afford the fees to get my green card replaced.

While waiting to receive notifications on my appointment to renew my green card, I filed the form N-400 which is an application to naturalization.

A few weeks after my citizenship expired, I received a letter in the mail with an appointment to get my green card renewed.  I needed to bring documentation such as an expired green card, a state ID and my social security card. When I got to the U.S. Citizen Immigration Service office on Prairie View Road,  I had to be scanned and I had to show a form of ID to gain entrance to the building. After I was clear, I had to sit down and wait until I was called. When I got called, I gave my green card to the immigration officer. He put a green sticker on the back of my green card which had the month it would be valid. It was renewed for six  months.

A few weeks after my green card was renewed, I received a letter in the mail stating the time  I would go in to get my biometrics done. After I got my biometrics done, three months later I was notified that I had to do a interview.. The interview determined if I would become a U.S. citizen. I was asked questions like: “What is your full name? How long have you been in the United States? Have you ever been a member of a communist party? Etc…”

After I completed my interview, I was issued a written notice which told me I was approved to become a permanent United States citizen. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was overfilled with joy.

Two weeks later I received a notice in the mail that I had to take the oath of allegiance to the U.S. at the 16th Circuit Court in  Jackson County, Missouri. When I arrived at the courthouse, I had to complete form I-445 which contained the same questions I was asked when I did my interview.. Once I completed I-445, I turned it in to the immigration officers upstairs where I then  went into the courtroom to hear a speech from the judge about what being a citizen means and the responsibility that comes with being a U.S citizens. After the speech, I went to get my certificate of naturalization and an envelope that had pamphlets, a U.S flag and papers about being a citizen.

If you know someone that is in the process of getting their citizenship they should know that the process takes time and can often be very expensive. If they don’t have a way of paying for the fees, they should apply for a fee waiver and submit the necessary documents so the fees can be waived.

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Student newspaper of Park University
My road to becoming a us citizen