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Thread: Almost there....my struggles to be something I am not

  1. #1

    Almost there....my struggles to be something I am not

    I applied to be a US citizen back on March 8th 2010, exactly 90 days before my 3rd wedding anniversary. I was called in for a preliminary internview, finger-prints and had an FBI check carried out. In July last year I was called in a second time for my history test and final interview. Olivia wore her best dress and got the day off school and we went for the test. I passed both parts and had my hand shaken with a "congratulations! the citizenship ceremony is at 2pm, take a seat".

    Well this is where it started to go wrong.

    A second reviewer took a final look at my case and determined I had applied too early.....5 days too early. I was called in for the bad news. Apparently the wording on the USCIS website is very confusing and alot of people fall for it. It states:

    If you are applying based on five years as a lawful permanent resident or based on three years as a lawful permanent resident married to a U.S. citizen, you may apply for naturalization up to 90 days before you meet the "continous residence" requirement.

    So...I applied 90 days in advance of our 3rd wedding anniversary. Well....."continous residence" is misleading. It is a phrase pertaining just to spouses of servicemen who serve overseas..... And many people fall for this. "Yes, we need to get that wording changed on the website....I've said it many times...oh well..."

    The officer, who had previously shaken my hand, told me that I had to sign a form agreeing to withdrawl my whole application and the re-apply.

    I would forfeit my original application fee of $675 and have to pay the $675 a second time. However, he told me not to worry, he would "fast-track" my file so that I wouldnt have to do the finger-prints and FBI check again.

    As I sat in that office, with the words of the instructions printed out in black and white, being told I had to write another check for $675....I felt like I was being totally ripped off. If I was at a used car dealership, or something, I would have been calling the Feds. Yet here I was, facing a Federal Officer........I signed and we left.

    We cancelled the celebration party with friends and ate the red white and blue flag cake my wife had made.....I can tell you now I have not been so disappointed in a long time.

    But so be it; I filled out the application forms and sent in another $675.

    For whatever reason there was no fast-tracking....I had to take more time off to do the same finger prints and FBI check.

    Finally, I got a letter telling me to come do the final internview and history test on November 4th. Finally...!!! We arranged another little meal out with friends and Sam cooked another cake (smaller this time).

    On November 3rd at 7am I was in the shower and the phone went. I answered it "hello Mr Brereton, this is officer Hicks from Atlanta Homeland Security. We have lost your file do not come to the interview tomorrow. We will write you to rearrange your interview when we locate your file. good day".

    We cancelled the party with friends and ate the second red white and blue cake. How very frustrating.

    I got a letter as promised the following week. It said "Mr. Brereton. You failed to show up for your interview on November 4th. Your application will be presumed abandonned if you do not respond in writing (registered mail) within 7 days......."

    I responded in writing....

    And that was that. Heard nothing for almost 4 more months. Until today when I got a letter asking me for an interview on March 14th. At this point (and after $1,350, 2 cancelled celebrations), my question is this:

    Do we bake another cake?



    I will be so relieved to have finally made it.....but yes, the sheen has definately gone off this celebration. Live and learn I guess.

    http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/n-400instr.pdf
    Here's the instructions......half way down first page, left hand side.

  2. #2
    Wow...I typed more than I thought....this looks too big for most people to bother reading it. Opps

  3. #3
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    How incredibly frustrating .. bureaucracy at its best.

    Should I say, "I hope you make it," or "Congratulations?" lol

    I'll just say, "Good luck!"
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  4. #4
    Senior Member marycsm77's Avatar
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    Third times the charm MarkB. Skip baking the cake, go out to dinner after and order a cake. It will happen

  5. #5
    After all that, you still want to be a part of this messed up country?? lol
    You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
    http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

    See my personal webpage @
    http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

  6. #6
    Senior Member medic1's Avatar
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    I am so sorry you had to go through this. In my opinion they are running a scam by not clarifying the section that is confusing so many. They already know that it is unclear and has obviously caused many others to apply to early. They know it is a problem and continue to do nothing to change it and continue to collect the monies for the applications.

    Even when people trya and do everything by the book the get screwed around. Another FBI check, another fingerprinting, come on what a waste of time and resources. Why couldnt they put the application on hold? does 5 days really matter over a mistake on their part.

    I can totally understand not wanting to plan a celebration or make another cake. I hope you do though and I hope this one goes off without a hitch.

  7. #7
    Good luck man, welcome to the land of the free and home of the brave.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Timaru's Avatar
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    Gawd! I hope they get this sorted, we don't want you back!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Timaru View Post
    Gawd! I hope they get this sorted, we don't want you back!
    We could toss him back and forth like a badminton shuttlecock.

    Seriously Mark, that would have me in tears and only a post that long would have explained it all.
    Hope you have a party finally.

  10. #10
    Hi Mark,
    Congratulations on your tenacity. Once you become a US citizen, I hope you will exercise the well earned privilege of writing your story to your congressman, your senators and the US Citizens and Immigration Services and ask for a refund of one of the fees. I hope you express to these entities exactly what you have told us here, including the cakes and canceled celebrations and your feelings of disappointment at time that should have been full of joy and pride for you and your loved ones.

    All the best,
    GJ

    ......and I would bake another cake.

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