Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Almost an American

Civics Lessons for the U.S. Naturalization Test  |  Almost an American on *sparklingly  |  http://sparklingly.blogspot.com
{  Our coffee table reading material for the last month  |  Civics Lessons for the U.S. Naturalization Test  }

Last we heard, R was waiting to jump through his final hoop for American citizenship: an oral English exam, a written English exam, plus a test on American history, politics and laws. I was considerably more angsty about the whole affair than he was (naturally), and gladly quizzed him from the booklet above whenever he asked.

And then one morning last week, we walked up to 26 Federal Plaza, although perhaps "sweltered our way up" is more accurate, and stood in line for the security checkpoint. At which point I was told the romantic Christmas gift Roberto gave me a few years ago was not allowed inside. The heavily-weaponed guard told me I could either "surrender" my mace (which means I won't get it back), or I could put it somewhere for safekeeping until after our appointment. No way was I going to walk all the way back home, so I ran out and hid it under the rose bushes out front—and when some women looked at me all squirrelly, I had to explain what I was doing so they wouldn't set security on me.

Once all that was handled, we headed up to the 7th floor and waited for R to be called. I'll admit, I was a little peeved that I wasn't required to go in with R. After all, he's getting citizenship through marriage to me, and I've never met with an immigration officer! He's been interviewed at the US Consulate in Naples before immigrating to the U.S., and a few times here in NYC, but I've never had to join him for one of those joint interviews that cover questions like, "What side of the bed does she sleep on? How does she take her coffee?", etc.
USCIS offices, 26 Federal Plaza  |  Almost an American on *sparklingly  |  http://sparklingly.blogspot.com
{  U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services  |  26 Federal Plaza  |  Manhattan  }

Which means that when R was called in, he was asked to come alone (carrying the hefty folder of documents proving our legitimate marriage and cohabitation that I put together). He was gone for just under an hour and the exam ended up being fairly easy—R already speaks near fluent English (that he picked up over the years, he never really studied) and he can write well enough when necessary (because he never studied, sometimes he still writes phonetically), so that just left 100 possible questions like, why did the colonists come to America? Who wrote the Federalist Papers (this is one of the ones I didn't know)? Who's your representative (and, here's another I didn't know)?

Since the American history test was administered orally, that counted as the oral English exam. You had to answer 6 out of 10 correctly, and as R got his first 6 right (yay!), they stopped there. Then he was asked to write down a few sentences in response to a prompt for the written oral exam and that was it!

He walked out carrying a sheet of paper saying his request for citizenship was being recommended for approval and that if it goes through (and no reason it shouldn't), we would receive a letter in the next few weeks with the date and time of his oath-taking ceremony!

Thisclose to being 1 down, 2 to go!

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