API- () • 02/03/2011 16:56:28 PM
I just naturalized today in a court ceremony in Tampa, Florida and it was an excellent and fairly smooth experience. Here is my timeline and a few things I worried about that fortunately didn't become major issues:
05/04/2010 - Mailed N400 to Dallas,TX via FedEx
(08/03/2005 - Date I Received GC) - applied based on 90 day rule.
05/06/2010 - Received by USCIS per receipt. I was worried because I calculated 3 months prior to 5 years and not 90 days. Fortunately, I selected FedEx 2nd Day and not overnight and so it got there exactly 89 days before the 5 year anniversary. Was not even an issue on the interview.
7/21/2010 - Biometrics - took 10 mins.
9/8/2010 - Interview. Was very simple and was asked 6 questions, asked about name change, asked about marriage and provided marriage certificate, asked about baby born after application, provided birth certificate. Passed everything with flying colors. Was mainly concerned about 90 day rule, which turned out to be a non-issue.
2/3/2011 - Oath ceremony in Tampa, Florida. Wonderful court oath ceremony. Everything went off smooth. I was concerned about 86 days of overseas travel between the interview and the oath, but the law is clear that you have to spend 30 months outside the US to be considered ineligible for naturalization and I had 16. Took a copy of the relevant section and logs of all travels outside US with me in case it came down to that. Non-issue and naturalized as planned.
1. If you're a male under 26 and have any intention of ever residing in the US permanently, register for the selective service. I had no idea about this, and got really worried when I discovered that it was a requirement. Through some luck it seems like I had registered while in college and I was saved. Just plain luck. I don't even remember when I registered.
2. Count (very precisely) the 89th day prior to your 5 or 3 year anniversary, and maybe wait another day or two. I can confirm that it is the date they RECEIVE the N-400 that counts and not the postmark date or date you send or sign it. I was concerned and spent hours doing research on this.
3. Keep a spreadsheet, probably in Google Docs, that will allow you to track ALL your overseas travel from the time you get your green card, as re-constructing this information is very difficult.
4. Ensure that you are very careful in the days leading up to your naturalization not to get any tickets or other issues on your record.