Two things happened back to back to end February. Couple of monumental things, affecting my life, and the lives of my family members. Affecting not in a very directly, day-to-day way but with far-reaching implications.
Last Tuesday, February 27, I had the immigration interview that one needs to undergo to become a naturalized citizen of the US. I was recommended for approval. Meaning I’m on course to become an American citizen soon. A recap of the interview is posted below. The interview was sort of anticlimactic as in it went according to script, which is a good thing! I’m still not sure how to feel. Getting US citizenship will mean that I will have to relinquish Indian citizenship as India does not allow dual-citizenship.
My first day of class in the MBA program was on 3rd Sep, 2014. Exactly 1,274 days later, on 28th Feb, 2018 I had my last class. The MBA is done. At least the coursework. Commencement, and getting the actual diploma, will be later in the year. Bittersweet feeling. On one hand, I will definitely not miss the countless hours spent doing homework, writing papers, poring over textbooks and slides, preparing for group and individual presentations, and, worst of all, studying for exams, especially, final exams. On the other hand, I will miss the intellectually stimulating classroom sessions. After a full work day, those are the times – between 5:45 pm and 9:05 pm – when I have really been the most attentive, my curiosity the most piqued. I cherish friendships made over the course of these years – most of these friends have graduated before I have!
Vivian is probably the person most happy, that I’m not away from home one or two nights in the week. I’m just relieved to have my week nights and weekends back where I don’t have to stay cooped up in the home office. I even had a drink of Scotch on two evenings this past week! The very thought would have been sacrilegious on a night in a school semester!
Recap of the naturalization interview
Had my interview for naturalization on Feb 27, 2018 at the Minneapolis USCIS office.
Appointment time was set for noon. Vivian and I reached there at 11:30 am. After security and checking in, we sat down in the waiting area at about 11:40 am. At check-in, I was give a number and told that I was next in line but they couldn’t tell me when I would be called in. I went to the rest room and while I was coming back, they called my number through the PA system! I hurried into the waiting area, took the file from Vivian and went to the door where my interview officer was waiting. We shook hands and he led me down the hallway to his room. (a side note about the interviewing officer: he looked like a twin of the character Ron Swanson, from the TV show “Parks and Recreation”)
We entered the room and the officer asked me to remain standing to take the oath to answer all questions truthfully. I did. We sat down. He asked for my the Green Card and Driving Licence. I took both out and he laid them on the table. Then he started to go through all the fields in N-400, the application for naturalization that I had sent in a year ago. Really fast. Like, *really* fast. Name, DOB, address …..Then the questions for which you should answer No (“have you taken part in any genocide” variant), then the ones you should answer Yes (“do you promise to uphold the law” kind). When we were done with the N-400 he said that he won’t require any more documentation/proof and I could remove my file from the table. I put it in the empty chair next to me.
Then he asked me to read the sentence: We pay taxes to the government.
Asked me to write the sentence: We pay tax.
I’m not kidding.
Then the civic portion of the interview where, he reminded me, I need to get 6 out of 10 questions correct.
These are the questions, :
1. What is freedom of religion?
2. Name one state that share the border with Canada.
3. Which ocean lies to the East of the US?
4. What ages do you have to register for Selective Services?
5. When was the constitution adopted?
6. How many Senators are there?
He stopped and said that I got all 6 right.
The officer said we’re done. Asked me if I had any questions. I inquired about when the oath ceremony might be held and when can I expect to get the notification. He said I’ll get the notification between a week to a month. He had no idea when the oath ceremony would be scheduled. Made me sign a couple of times. Then gave me the N-652 that says “Congratulations! You have been recommended for approval”.
We walked out to the waiting area, shook hands and it was done. It was about noon. The whole thing took less than 15 mins.
Update: Today, Mar 7, 2018 got the notification that my oath ceremony date and time has been finalized and the notice sent out. I haven’t yet received the official notice.