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Personal experiences

Discussion in 'Naturalization to become a US citizen' started by Ron Gotcher, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. Ron Gotcher

    Ron Gotcher Attorney at Law

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    This thread is for posting personal experiences in connection with naturalization applications, including waiting times, unusual problems and solutions. Please do not post questions in this thread as they will be deleted without answer. The purpose of this thread is to allow members to share their personal experiences with others who may benefit from reading them.
  2. rock23242

    rock23242 Junior Member

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    Phoenix & NYC Experience So Far

    Phoenix experience so far:
    N400 INS Received Date: Aug. 24th, 2005
    Fingerprint Appt. Date: Sept. 7, 2005
    Interview Date: March 9th, 2006

    NYC experience so far (fiancee):
    N400 INS Received Date: July 25, 2005
    Fingerprint Appt. Date: Sept. 2, 2005
    Interview Date: Feb 15th, 2006

    I hope the above helps someone.
  3. Stephanie2006

    Stephanie2006 Senior Member

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    I've applied for Citizenshp in Dec. 2003.
    I've passed the interview in April 2004
    My Name Check was pending with FBI since January 2004

    I wrote countless letters to Senators, Congreswoman, USCIS, FBI etc.
    In November 2005 I wrote to Mrs. Laura Bush at the White House.

    Today I got in the mail a letter from FBI:


    Your letter directed to Mrs. George W. Bush concerning your name check status for your naturalization was forwarded to the Department of Justice and subsequently referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for reply. It was received by the FBI on January 3, 2006.

    A review of the FBI's Name Check Program database revealed that your request, received from USCIS on January 15, 2004, was processed and finalized on January 17, 2006. The results were forwarded to the USCIS Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

    I trust this information will be of assistance to you.


    William L.Hooton
    Assistant Director
    Records Management Division"

    In two weeks from now I'm scheduled to go for the oath in Los Angeles; hoping that the "Big One" won't hit LA in the next two weeks (slim chance) or CIS won't scrue something up in the last minute (much higher chance:D ) on March 3rd 2006 I'll be an American citizen.
    On Feb. USCIS Congressional Unit sent at my address in Oregon(!?) the Oath invitation for March 03 in LA at Convention Center.

    My timeline is:

    N-400 Priority Date (Los Angeles) -December 2003
    Fingerprints -January 2004
    Interview -April 2004
    Name Check Pending since -January 2004
    N-400 Priority Date (Portland, OR 2nd application and another $330) -November 2005
    Fingerprints (for 2nd application and another $70) -December 2005
    FBI letter: Name Check completed (after White House inquiry) - January 2006 [​IMG]
    Second N-400 Sent letter to withdraw -February 2006
    Oath Invitation -Mailed by USCIS Congressional Unit 02/19/2006
    OATH: MARCH 03, 2006 L.A. Convention Center [​IMG]
  4. helper00

    helper00 Junior Member

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    My time line at CSC - San Francisco/Oakland DO

    Here are my timelines during citizenship Process: N-400 mailed : 10/14/2005
    N-400 received by USCIS: 10/17/2005
    N-400 PD : 10/17/2005
    N-400 ND : 10/27/2005
    FP - ND: 11/11/2005
    FP letter received:11/17/2005
    FP Appointment: 11/29/2005
    FP Taken at Oakland and sent to FBI: 11/29/2005
    FP processed by FBI and send back to USCIS: 11/29/2005
    Interview Letter Notice Date: 12/14/2005
    Interview Letter Received : 12/16/2005
    Interview date : 02/08/2006
    Oath letter received: 02/18/06
    Oath scheduled : 03/07/2006 at Masonic Center in SFO
  5. JoeF

    JoeF Senior Member

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    My timeline Santa Ana DO

    N-400 timeline:
    8/31/05: mailed to CSC
    9/06/05: N-400 RD
    11/15/05: FP NOA received
    11/25/05: FP Appointment (the day after Thanksgiving, resulting in a change of my Thanksgiving travel plans...)
    12/12/05: Interview notice received
    02/10/06: Interview Appointment
    Update on 3/21/06: Got the oath letter today.
    04/14/06: US citizen since 8:50am!
    04/17/06: Applied for passport, normal processing
    05/25/06: Received passport
  6. mrm

    mrm Junior Member

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    Interview Experience at Hartford


    Here is my interview experience at Hartford. Hopefuly, people in line for
    Hartford can benefit from this.

    - The building opens at 7:30am. I was let in at 7:30. Was back on the
    road at 8:10am. Just for information, even when I was walking out
    there were not many people waiting (atmost 10).

    - After submitting my appointment letter in Room-421, I had to wait for
    5-10 minutes.

    - Interview took about 20-30 minutes. (so if you are not one of the
    first few ones, you will have to wait more).
    - officer was very courteous, polite.
    - asked me to take an oath to tell the truth.
    - went through my application, line by line, ticking every asnwer after
    confirming with me.
    - asked me to show - Green Card and Passport.
    - Asked for a copy (with translation) of my Birth Certificate. He took
    a copy of my marriage certificate which has more than DOB, and does
    not require translation.
    - ASked me 5 history/civics questions
    - to write a sentence.
    - read a paragraph from the N-400 form
    - sign the form and the pictures
    - congratulated me to pass the test and gave a written confirmation letter

    I was on the road at 8:10am.

    Traffic Ticket Issue: I have a traffic ticket back from 2002. When the
    officer started asking me about 15-21 from N-400. I told him about
    the ticket (which was listed in the form), and told him that I answered,
    16-18 as Yes for the traffic ticket. I also offered him a certificate of
    disposition from the court. He was happy to see that and also praised
    that I had answered the questions correctly for minor traffic ticket
    (Thanks to Ron for this).

    - if you have more questions, post them, I will follow up on this thread.

    good luck
  7. nizarhirani

    nizarhirani Junior Member

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    Newark - Still waiting

    N 400 Received Dt (by USCIS): 31-Oct-2005
    Priority Dt: 31-Oct-2005
    Notice Dt: 8-Nov-2005
    Fingerprint at Newark, NJ: Early Dec

    Waiting for Interview.

    I am a little surprised that other centers (e.g. New York) are moving cases so rapidly.

    SIMONE Junior Member

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    N 400 Priority date-Dec 2004.
    Fingerprints-Feb 2005.
    Interview-April 2005.
    Name check pending since january 2005.
    Filed lawsuit under 1447b-Dec 2005.
    Oath was taking -Feb 23 in u.s district court:p.

    You are a wonderful man & lawyer.I've got everything because of you.
    You are my hero:D :D :D .
  9. AlexGarcia65

    AlexGarcia65 Junior Member

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    Naturalization with Criminal history

    Summary of N400 experience at Detroit , MI
    • Application (Priority)date - 04 Jan 2005
    • Fingerprints - 03 Feb 2005
    • Interview - 25 May 2005
    • Oath Invitation received - 10 June 2005
    • Oath taken (Naturalized ) - 1 July 2005
    Process took exactly 6 months

    I had a dismissed citation for shoplifting (Retail fraud third degree in MI). Dismissal came thru successful completion of pretrial diversion program (Without guilty plea). So their was no conviction for immigration . I had to pay $250 court cost, 24 hr community service and serve 9 months informal probation and complete a Economic crime aware ness class as part of deal for pretrial diversion. This was over by Oct 2004. My criminal lawyer was completely unaware of dealing with criminal defense for immigrant and was earlier advsing me to plead guilty ( Which I didn't) . Then he cut a deal with prosecutor on pretrial diversion without guilty plea.

    I hired an Immigration (Who was previously a corporate attorney) attorney for my N-400 petition. My Immigration attorney told me that INS may deny N-400 petition even for dismissed shoplifting charges. This really frightened me. My lawyer prepared me for any embarrassing and detailed questions the INS officer may asked during interview. He told me that INS officer may grill me for dismissed charges to know the truth and they are not simply bound by court ruling (Charges dismissal). But He advised me to told truth without feeling nervous or guilty at the time of interview. Being USDOJ they have very high powers to make decisions on any immigration petition .

    I was extremely nervous at time of interview . I took my attorney with me . At time of interview we presented court disposition of my case with letter from local police that Arrest records were destroyed as per court orders. My Attoreny did excellent job of selecting and presenting the papers for interviewing officer.Since I believe we had about 10 inch thick paper of all proceedings (Court docket , police reports , my communication with criminal attorney , District attorney etc).

    Interviewing officer herself a Hispanic Latino Immigrant was very courteous and didn't ask me any embarrasing questions except if I was ever sent to prison, probation for this. I answered all questions truth fully and she was satisfied with my answers. She then asked all standard set of questions like English , history and civics test. I had few date and address correction in my N-400 form which I advised her.

    Interview went for 15 minutes and I was approved by the interviewing adjudiciatuion officer. She congratulated me and told me that I will get oath ceremoney invitation soon in the mail. I received the same on 10th June 2005. I finally took Naturalization oath by Easten District court Detroit (Ceremony at Detroit Marriot) on July 1 st 2005.

    I am extremey happy and relieved thru my Journey to be a US citizen. I can be be reached at Alexgarcia65@hotmail.com if you need my guidance on how to deal with criminal charges as immigrant and filing N-400 with such issues in past.


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. woodv

    woodv Junior Member

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    Experience in Omaha

    Summary of N400 experience in Omaha, NE
    • Application (Priority) date - 06 Nov 2005
    • Fingerprint Notice sent - 14 Nov 2005
    • Fingerprints Taken - 22 Dec 2005
    • Interview notice received - 29 Dec 2005
    • Interview (today) - 13 March 2006
    • Oath ceremony - 28 April 2006
    My interviewing officer and all personnel I encountered in the Omaha office were extremely courteous, friendly to all in sight, and punctual. [​IMG]

    The whole process took about 10 minutes including the questions. I hadn't mailed photos with my application (missed that instruction in the form, I guess) and wasn't told to bring them to the interview. Also, I moved state 6 months ago and had not yet applied for my new state drivers license (my bad). The officer told me that both these needed to be rectified before the oath invitation could be issued. He apologized that these details weren't explicitly spelt out on the interview notice and said he would provide feedback for them to tighten the process. He gave me a letter stating what was missing, an envelope with his name written on it, and asked me to just mail him a copy of my license and 2 photos and mentioned he'll mail out the oath invitation.

    I got the photos and my drivers license in the next hour and drove back to the INS office and requested meeting with him again, which they immediately allowed. The officer mentioned to me that I had just missed the cut off for getting scheduled for a same day oath ceremony so I'd have to wait for an invite to a ceremony 4 to 6 weeks hence.

    Updated - oath ceremony was 6 weeks after the interview. Thanks to Ron and all others on this wonderful site.
  11. zzerous

    zzerous Member

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    My Experience at Hartford CT

    Service Center: VCS
  12. Al Southner

    Al Southner Junior Member

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    Washington, DC & NYC experience--UPDATE

    N400 completed and mailed: January 2005.
    NOA Received somewhere in March.
    NO action till Feb 2006 (Yes, I am ashamed to say that:eek: )
    Finger Print notice send in Feb, 2006.
    Finger Print done on March 15th, 2006.
    Letter of Interview arrived TODAY April 14th, 2006 )
    First Interview set for June 6, 2006
    We hope Civics test will be conducted on this date, June 6th, 2006 as well.
    2nd Interview & Letter of Notice of Oath?????????

    Thanx guys...
  13. buggin

    buggin Junior Member

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    San Francisco N-400 Experience

    4/16/05 - N-400 receipt date
    8/4/05 - Fingerprinting date
    10/5/05 - Interview date (passed; pending the FBI background check)
    2/28/06 - Filed a status inquiry with USCIS
    3/1/06 - Status letter from USCIS: pending FBI background check
    4/20/06 - Contacted Congresswoman's office (response: "You misunderstood the 120-day rule. FBI can take as much time as they want to do the background investigation.")
    5/2/06 - Filed another inquiry with USCIS
    5/8/06 - Status letter from USCIS: pending FBI background check
    5/22/06 - Sent an FOIPA case status request to the FBI via certified mail
    5/30/06 - Filed 1447(b) Petition with the District Court
    5/31/06 - All defendants and US Attorney are served
    7/31/06 - Defendants' Answer is due

    Thank you everyone for helpful information.
  14. sonnyks

    sonnyks Junior Member

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    Kansas City Experience

    Filed N-400 : September 2005
    Fingerprints Taken: November 2005
    Interview: Feb. 2006
    Sworn in as a citizen: May 5, 2006

    It has been a long road and my thanks to this website for helping along the way.
  15. asodhi

    asodhi Junior Member

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    First of all I want to thank Mr. Ron Gotcher for his invaluable service to everyone, and specifically to me by answering many of my questions over the phone and on this forum, both, during my GC processing as well as during my quest for Citizenship. I am sure this service does not go unrewarded. It pays back in different ways. If ever anyone needs any immigration related advice, I refer them to this site. If ever anyone is looking for a good immigration attorney, I tell them to speak with Mr. Ron Gotcher first. Two of my friends ended up being Mr. Gotcher's customers.

    And, here is my story:
    Filed N-400 in New Jersey: December 11, 2005
    Finger Printing: January 5, 2006
    Interview: May 10, 2006 - Interview and Oath completed and obtained Certificate of Citizenship
    Next Step: Applying for US Passport.

    I took a letter to the interview listing the changes that took place since sending the N-400 form in December'2005. The changes were - change of employer, one more travel abroad, and the three traffic violations that I had not included initially.

    The officer asked me to take oath that I will state only the truth during the interview. I did so and she allowed me to sit. Then she started going through my form N-400. I re-confirmed all my responses, until she hit Part 10,Section D, Question 16, i.e. "Have you EVER been arrested, cited, or detained by any law enforcement officer (including INS and military officers) for any reason?" There I told her that I was never arrested or detained, but I had three traffic violations for which I was cited. She asked my why I had not indicated that when filling the form N-400. I told her I was sorry, but I had brought a letter to correct that and to update some other responses. Then she looked at the letter and asked me to show the court dispositions indicating that I had paid all fines and fees and that the cases had been closed. I showed her all the documents. Then she asked me to change my response from 'No' to 'Yes' for Qs.#16. I did that. She took back the corrected form along with the court dispositions and my letter and put away all of them, and started my Civics interview. And I heaved a sigh of relief. The interview went without any problem. In the end she congratulated me and I thanked her and left her office. Then I waited another 5 hours to take the oath and to get my Certificate of Citizenship. I guess New Jersey is the only state where the interview and oath are completed, and the Certificate provided, the same day. Better waiting 5 hrs than having to come back again, another day to take the Oath. And that is the end of my long bitter-sweet relationship with the INS and the start of a new one with the State Dept. No regrets about that. Good luck to everyone! And thank you again Mr. Gotcher.
  16. pete4sc

    pete4sc Junior Member

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    N-400 Naturalization Experience - San Jose, CA

    11/2/2005 - N-400 Application Sent
    11/4/2005 - N-400 received by USCIS
    1/21/2006 - Fingerprinted
    1/29/2006 - Received letter notifying the interview
    3/27/2006 - Naturalization Interview
    4/19/2006 - Oath Ceremony (original scheduled date)

    Due to my name change with Santa Clara County Superior Court, I need to
    get a decree at the hearing scheduled on 5/9/2006. So, I re-scheduled the
    oath ceremony.

    5/09/2006 - Received decree for change of name for naturalization
    5/10/2006 - Appointment with USCIS to update name information
    5/18/2006 - Oath Ceremony (to be held at USCIS in San Jose)

    For me, even with no name change, it took about 5+ months. With name
    name change, it took 6+ months.

    Hope that helps.

  17. ramgotnet2k3

    ramgotnet2k3 Member

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    N400(houston D.O),the best D.O in u.s.a PERIOD>>>>.
    PD: 02/14/06
    Initial notice received: 03/10/06
    FP appointment letter: 03/15/06
    FP: 04/01/06(April 1st and Saturday...talk of fooling
    Interview letter received: 04/20/06
    Interview: 05/11/06(Very pleasant experience)
    Oath: At the mercy of uscis.

    I have also requested for a name change,Houston rocks.Processing time 4months 7 days.At the interview the officer told me she will try to put me for oath on 06/21/06.
    Sincere thanks to Ron who guided me through n400 and i90.

    Talking of I90.

    PD: 12/20/05
    FP: 02/28/06(they gave me 87 days time to get
    back with affidavit from indian embassy
    as my name is wrong on gc.)
    FP: 05/18/06(Went back and asked to supervisor to
    to withdraw my application.he convinced me not to)

    I90 experience:Something i wish i forget and get over with pretty fast.
  18. Emmasmum

    Emmasmum Junior Member

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    Denver Experience thus far

    This is for my husband who is PR from UK.

    He became PR in 6/1/01
    Sent N400 1/13/06
    FP 3/15/06
    Interview 4/11/06
    N445 Rcvd 6/10/06
    Interview date 6/30/06.

    Yahooo. Finally here. I am so proud of him and his ceremony is July 4th weekend. A little ironic but sort of neat. (with him being from UK it is sort of strange). Good luck to all of you
  19. ocworker

    ocworker Senior Member

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    i just wonder how would you know his [oath] ceremony is going to be on the july 4th weekend especially he has not had his interview yet?

    however, congrat!
  20. nxsubr

    nxsubr Junior Member

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    N-400 timeline in Boston

    Here's my N-400 timeline in Boston.

    Sent application on 03/08/06

    Received acknowledgement at home on 3/22/06
    Received date 3/10/06
    Priority date: 3/10/06
    Notice date: 3/19/06

    Received fingerprint notice at home on 3/24/06
    Notice date 3/21/06

    Fingerprints done 4/08/06

    Received naturalization interview notice at home on 5/5/06

    Naturalizaton interview 6/22/06 (given oath ceremony date on same day)

    Oath ceremony 7/19/06

    This was by far the smoothest, most pleasant experience I have had with INS in my ~15 year US immigration journey =)

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