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27 March 2014 @ 02:17 pm
Got US Citizenship today  
1) Had to go to downtown for the ceremony.
Downtown means searching for parking.
I know that Jacksonville's downtown's parking is not that bad in comparison with NYC. But in the last years I was spoiled by abundance of parking in our suburb so searching for parking was somewhat stressful.

2) Found out that there are two court houses in Jacksonville.
County courthouse and Federal courthouse.
We entered County courthouse first.
Fortunately Federal courthouse that we needed was just two blocks away.

3) Security guy at the entrance of the Federal courthouse did not allow us to take cell phone with us.
He refused to keep our cell phone for us either.
So I had to go back to our parking two blocks away to drop our cell phones.
That is a mean way to treat visitors.
Humiliation on the way to the US citizenship (and on the way to the Federal court in other cases too).
County courthouse security had no problems with our cell phones.

4) Pre-ceremony paperwork.
Slow but comfortable.
We personally read/verified our US Citizenship certificates.
36 people out of ~50 changed their names (including me: "Denis -> Dennis") .
My wife ended up regretting not changing her name (she did not initiate name change during her interview 6 weeks ago).

5) US citizenship for children.
Ceremony leader explained us that children (18 years and younger) of US citizens who already have their permanent residence -- get their US citizenship automatically.
The catch is that in order to get US Citizenship certificate - we still need to file N-600 form (which costs $600).

6) Pre-ceremony drill.
Ceremony leader explained us what to do.
Then about 10 people did it to practice and to show others:
"My name is Natalia Gorelik. I'm from Russia." - my wife was among those who participated in the drill. I wasn't.
Then we all practiced saying "I do" (solemnly swear).

7) Then voters' registration paperwork.
The key was not to put signature yet (because until The Oath we have no rights to register as voters).

8) The Judge.
Judge introduced himself with couple of jokes.
Told us he retired 7 (?) years ago, but enjoys ceremonies like ours.

9) Kids.
Kids are discouraged from US citizenship naturalization ceremony (because of noise).
So we left our kids at friend's house, which I think was the right decision.
Couple of kids added some distraction, but not too much.

10) People.
There were about 50 people that became US citizens today.
+ about 40 guests.
+ about 25 officials of different kind.
Comparing to some televised US Citizenship Naturalization events, our event was quite small. I like it that way.

11) Countries of origins.
During the drill, and later during ceremony, people stood up one by one and shared their name and where they are from.

Most newly minted citizens today were from ... drum-roll ... Iraq.
It was a surprise, but consider that Iraq occupation by the US ended about 6 years ago - now it is time for naturalization of permanent residents who got their Green Card as a "Thank You for your help to the US".

Source country #2 - Russia.

#3 - Philippines.

India, Ukraine and some other countries split #4 (with two citizens each).
One of Indians was my neighbor during ceremony.
He told me he's managing Business Intelligence software development projects in India, and got US citizenship because it would allow him to stay outside of the US for longer than half a year.

China was represented by one guy only, in spite of 1.3B population.
I guess Chinese prefer to settle down on the West coast (California?).

12) Ceremony.
Ceremony leader introduced motion to postpone naturalization for 2 candidates who failed to show up in the event.
The judge granted that motion as well as few other motions.

13) Young Obama (I guess from 2008) congratulated us in ~5 minutes video-speech.
I think he was reading parts of his speech from the screen, but I'm not exactly sure.
In the second part of the video we listened to US citizenship related song and watched some US scenery.

14) After few more speeches we stood up and said The Pledge of Allegiance.
During ceremony drill nobody warned us about that Pledge. Thanks to ivan-gandhi, I knew the Pledge was optional.
My impression is that officials and guests were pronouncing The Pledge more emphatically than us, newly minted citizens.

15) The Judge ended ceremony and we lined up for getting our signed US citizenship certificates and shaking hands.

16) On our way out we've put signature into our voter's registration paperwork and gave our papers to the Voter's registration team (3 people).

17) Parking ended up costing us $6 (for about 3 hours) - thanks to County Courthouse parking.
 
 
 
cranequinier: 65x70cranequinier on March 27th, 2014 06:29 pm (UTC)
Поздравляю!

Паспорта теперь делайте.
Dennis Gorelik: 2009dennisgorelik on March 27th, 2014 07:01 pm (UTC)
Почему паспорта - это важно?
Для путешествий по Европе?
(no subject) - cranequinier on March 27th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on March 27th, 2014 06:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - dennisgorelik on March 27th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ex_juan_gan on March 27th, 2014 06:46 pm (UTC)
Congratulations!!!

So, no pledge?
Just 50? We have several hundred. And the ceremony was in some culture center, meaning, phones, cameras, no problem, nobody cared. And China and Mexico were dominating.

Anyway, congrats!

Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on March 27th, 2014 07:04 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot to mention pledge.
Just added: see "14)".

Yes: just 50.

Did all several hundred stand up and said their name and country?

Thanks!
(no subject) - ex_juan_gan on March 27th, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dennisgorelik on March 27th, 2014 08:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ex_juan_gan on March 27th, 2014 09:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dennisgorelik on March 27th, 2014 10:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ex_juan_gan on March 27th, 2014 10:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dennisgorelik on March 27th, 2014 11:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ex_juan_gan on March 28th, 2014 02:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
onanim.wordpress.com on March 28th, 2014 02:19 am (UTC)
"Denis -> Dennis"

Ahahaha, LOL, ROTFLMAO. Sir Denis Thatcher just turned in his grave.
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on March 28th, 2014 03:06 am (UTC)
Denis Thatcher lived in Great Britain.
I live in the US.
onanim.wordpress.com on March 28th, 2014 02:21 am (UTC)
Love your English. 3 "a" articles for the whole text.
Dennis Gorelik: 2009dennisgorelik on March 28th, 2014 02:55 am (UTC)
What's typical number of "a" articles in an English text of such size?
Clean and sober: aboutloveanspa on March 28th, 2014 02:32 am (UTC)
Congrats, man. Good luck и все такое прочее.

А почему не говорить клятву? Ты не согласен? Или что? Я не понял еще в прошлый раз у Джавахарлалыча почему надо непременно игнорить клятву (может еще и пальцы крестиком держать?).. И, кстати, вдруг на общее родительское собрание придешь - а там ее перед началом говорят. Ну и вообще на многих собраниях народа.

А также по мелким мелочам - ("Denis -> Dennis") :

1) Заручись сейчас прямо бумажкой суда про решение о смене твоего имени. BTW сертификат натурализации не является основанием для смены. Если бумажку вовремя не взять в далеком будущем можешь поиметь проблем доказывая что ты это ты. И, например, при обращении в российское консульство зачем либо.

2) Заполни форму на новую карточку в Social Security офисе что ты теперь гражданин. SSA иначе не узнает что ты теперь в новом качестве - а им это зачем-то нужно (я еще это не сделал, но планирую).
Dennis Gorelik: 2009dennisgorelik on March 28th, 2014 02:51 am (UTC)
Я не против клятвы (Pledge of Alligiance), но и не за.
Это как бы само-промывание мозгов. Не то, чтобы я был принципиально против промывания мозгов, но без необходимости стараюсь этого не делать.
В принципе по такому торжественному поводу можно было и сказать, но я же этот Pledge нифига не помню. Достал бумажку, нашёл место докуда уже дочитали, пробормотал себе под нос несколько слов, а тут клятва и кончилась.

1) Бумажка о смене имени уже есть. Прицеплена к сертификату о получении гражданства.

2) Хотелось бы знать, зачем SSA нужно как-то специально оповещать.
Я уже оповещал, когда получил Green Card.
Лишний раз связываться с бюрократией - это же трата времени.

А ты когда получил гражданство? И когда планируешь оповестить SSA?
(no subject) - anspa on March 28th, 2014 03:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dennisgorelik on March 28th, 2014 03:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anspa on March 28th, 2014 03:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dennisgorelik on March 28th, 2014 03:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anspa on March 28th, 2014 03:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dennisgorelik on March 28th, 2014 02:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anspa on March 29th, 2014 02:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dennisgorelik on March 29th, 2014 03:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anspa on March 29th, 2014 03:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anspa on March 28th, 2014 03:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dennisgorelik on March 28th, 2014 03:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anspa on March 28th, 2014 03:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dennisgorelik on March 28th, 2014 02:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anspa on March 29th, 2014 02:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
Валерий Крылов: flowjusty_tylor on March 28th, 2014 04:17 pm (UTC)
Поздравляю. :)

Сколько лет занял путь от работа/проживание в US к гражданству?
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on March 28th, 2014 09:10 pm (UTC)
2003-2014 (11 лет).
Но для более реалистичной картины я предпочитаю отсчитывать с момента формирования планов: 1999 - 2014 (15 лет).
Max: Realhobober on April 21st, 2014 04:41 am (UTC)
Что ты чувствуешь, достигнув своей мечты? ;)
(no subject) - dennisgorelik on April 21st, 2014 05:25 am (UTC) (Expand)