I went downtown and met with T. today, brought in the completed N-400 form (that’s the really long form you have to fill out to become a US citizen), as well as my police record check, a print out of my Selected Service registration confirmation, and a separate sheet explaining all the trips I have made outside the US since becoming a permanent resident.
To digress for a minute. Trying to piece together every trip you’ve made in 27 years is not easy. Of course, I have my old passports (although I suspect not everyone keeps their old passports), but the problem is finding the entry and exit stamps. Sometimes, countries don’t stamp your passport on the way in or the way out. Of course, my own country doesn’t stamp my passport when I enter. So, you may know when you returned from a trip in 1987 but you don’t know when you left. I did my best to reconstruct everything, hopefully they won’t be sticklers for accuracy on that, but I can’t really do anything about it.
T. told me that everything looked good and that I shouldn’t have to worry about anything. They have a “package deal” for naturalization that includes all the filing, etc. and they accompany you to your interview. I told her that I wanted to be able to vote in the 2008 election and she said that it is possible, but that USCIS is taking up to six months to receive applications. Yes, six months to acknowledge that they received your application! But I’m optimistic.
Very generously, she told me that she would reduce my fee because I had already filled out the N400, which is a downloadable PDF form. So that’ll save some money.
The cost of filing the form is close to $700. No wonder there are so many people living illegally here. But that’s another story.