44 votes

I just became a US citizen today

I took the Oath to become an American citizen today, after having lived in the U.S. since I was a little girl. I'm glad to have finally done this, but I'm wondering on what to do next.

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

41 comments

  1. [5]
    acdw
    Link
    Congratulations! Have you registered to vote? That's the only thing I can think of right now.

    Congratulations!

    Have you registered to vote? That's the only thing I can think of right now.

    17 votes
    1. [4]
      zara
      Link Parent
      Thanks! Not yet, I had to go to work. (still at work) Can you register to vote online if you're in Texas?

      Thanks!

      Not yet, I had to go to work. (still at work)

      Can you register to vote online if you're in Texas?

      3 votes
      1. Ellimist
        Link Parent
        Hello fellow Texan! https://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/ Here's the link for registering to vote in Texas. I don't believe they have an online option yet. Or at least I don't see one on...

        Hello fellow Texan!

        https://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/

        Here's the link for registering to vote in Texas. I don't believe they have an online option yet. Or at least I don't see one on this web page. You can get the application online but it still requires mailing to the Registrar

        4 votes
      2. [2]
        gpl
        Link Parent
        Unfortunately looks like that option isn’t available in Texas. Check out this link for the steps. Looks like you have to mail it in 30 days before the election. Anecdotally, you can often get...

        Unfortunately looks like that option isn’t available in Texas. Check out this link for the steps. Looks like you have to mail it in 30 days before the election. Anecdotally, you can often get these forms at the local library which makes it convenient to pick up, fill out, and mail all while out and without having to print stuff.

        3 votes
        1. zara
          Link Parent
          I didn't know I could do this at a library; how long will it be until I get a response from them?

          I didn't know I could do this at a library; how long will it be until I get a response from them?

          2 votes
  2. [7]
    skybrian
    Link
    Passport? There probably isn't any hurry right now, but it takes time to get one.

    Passport? There probably isn't any hurry right now, but it takes time to get one.

    10 votes
    1. [6]
      zara
      Link Parent
      I wanted to do that, but I heard they're not letting anyone apply for one unless it's a life or death emergency. :/ Since I'm a first time applicant though, could a special case be made for me?

      I wanted to do that, but I heard they're not letting anyone apply for one unless it's a life or death emergency. :/

      Since I'm a first time applicant though, could a special case be made for me?

      3 votes
      1. [5]
        Omnicrola
        Link Parent
        I mean, might as well apply, at the very least you'll have all the paperwork ready. The worst that happens is they say "no, come back later".

        I mean, might as well apply, at the very least you'll have all the paperwork ready. The worst that happens is they say "no, come back later".

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          zara
          Link Parent
          Don't they take your documents though? I don't feel entirely comfortable giving away my documents if they're just gonna hold on to them and tell me no.

          Don't they take your documents though? I don't feel entirely comfortable giving away my documents if they're just gonna hold on to them and tell me no.

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            Keegan
            Link Parent
            I don't know if they hold your documents or not, but calling your local office could yield an answer before you go and get rejected at the door.

            I don't know if they hold your documents or not, but calling your local office could yield an answer before you go and get rejected at the door.

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              zara
              Link Parent
              Update: the website says that passport applications are still being allowed, but to expect significant delays due to Covid-19. I scheduled an appointment at the post office, so hopefully...

              Update: the website says that passport applications are still being allowed, but to expect significant delays due to Covid-19. I scheduled an appointment at the post office, so hopefully everything should go according to plan.

              4 votes
              1. Keegan
                Link Parent
                Thanks for the update. I'm glad you're able to get one!

                Thanks for the update. I'm glad you're able to get one!

                3 votes
  3. [5]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    Congratulations! First thing to do? Register to vote, provided you're old enough. Even as a lifelong citizen that first vote felt great. Though, do mail-in on for obvious reasons.

    Congratulations!

    First thing to do? Register to vote, provided you're old enough. Even as a lifelong citizen that first vote felt great. Though, do mail-in on for obvious reasons.

    7 votes
    1. [4]
      zara
      Link Parent
      I am definitely old enough at the ripe old age of 23. Is it not possible to register online to vote?

      I am definitely old enough at the ripe old age of 23.

      Is it not possible to register online to vote?

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        Keegan
        Link Parent
        Many places allow registering online, but make you (at least historically, this year may be different) vote in person. For Texas, see here to register: https://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/...

        Many places allow registering online, but make you (at least historically, this year may be different) vote in person.

        For Texas, see here to register: https://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/

        You need to fill out a printable form then mail it.

        4 votes
        1. zara
          Link Parent
          Okay, thanks for the link.

          Okay, thanks for the link.

          3 votes
      2. knocklessmonster
        Link Parent
        I meant mail-in ballot, you should be able to register online, for sure.

        I meant mail-in ballot, you should be able to register online, for sure.

        4 votes
  4. [3]
    MonkeyPants
    Link
    Aside from the passport and ability to vote, you've been here since a kid, so you know what they say.. if you talk like an American, and walk like an American, you probably are an American. That...

    Aside from the passport and ability to vote, you've been here since a kid, so you know what they say.. if you talk like an American, and walk like an American, you probably are an American.

    That said, there are a couple of classic Americanisms you probably haven't tried.

    1. Threaten to move to Canada (if you don't like the current president.)
    2. Tell others that if they don't like it then they should leave (if you are mentally impaired.)
    3. Yell out "I'm an American Citizen! I'm sorry I thought this was America" whenever you don't get your way.

    In a few years, you should definitely travel. It's not that customs and immigration become pleasant when you have a passport, but they are significantly less unpleasant.

    7 votes
    1. zara
      Link Parent
      Ha, as funny as number 1 is, I don't think I could ever actually that out loud, I'm not giving up on this place just cause of one controversial president. I'm not mentally impaired (at least, not...

      Ha, as funny as number 1 is, I don't think I could ever actually that out loud, I'm not giving up on this place just cause of one controversial president.

      I'm not mentally impaired (at least, not that I know of) so number 2 wouldn't work for me.

      In regards to number 3, I typically just resort to passive-aggresive comments and side eye.

      2 votes
    2. Keegan
      Link Parent
      Agreed with regard to traveling. The things you have to do for customs now aren't too bad except for the facial recognition they are pushing in the major airports (I know Atlanta has it)....

      Agreed with regard to traveling. The things you have to do for customs now aren't too bad except for the facial recognition they are pushing in the major airports (I know Atlanta has it). Traveling to other countries is fairly easy, but maybe not as easy as people in the EU(?). Someone chip in with what that's like please.

      1 vote
  5. [2]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    Have you celebrated yet? I don't mean a party: like, a glass of the Good Stuff™ (whatever it is you consider Good Stuff™), just as a somatic note that something good has happened. That said:...

    Have you celebrated yet? I don't mean a party: like, a glass of the Good Stuff™ (whatever it is you consider Good Stuff™), just as a somatic note that something good has happened.

    That said: congratulations!!

    7 votes
    1. zara
      Link Parent
      I have not yet. The Oath Ceremony was actually pretty quick and afterwards I went home and then went to work. But I did take the little flag with me to my job! Kept it in my apron pocket (damn...

      I have not yet. The Oath Ceremony was actually pretty quick and afterwards I went home and then went to work.

      But I did take the little flag with me to my job! Kept it in my apron pocket (damn thing fell out a couple of times) as a sort of mini celebration.

      4 votes
  6. [9]
    Silbern
    Link
    Congratulations!!! I was born a US citizen, but I might be going through this with my mom soon, we're looking at getting her naturalized. The only two things I can think of to do next, as the...

    Congratulations!!! I was born a US citizen, but I might be going through this with my mom soon, we're looking at getting her naturalized. The only two things I can think of to do next, as the other commenters said, is to get your legally entitled passport (if you can afford it), and register to exercise your right to vote! :)

    5 votes
    1. [8]
      zara
      Link Parent
      Thank you! I really want to apply for a passport, but I heard they're only letting you if you have a life or death situation (which I do not).

      Thank you!

      I really want to apply for a passport, but I heard they're only letting you if you have a life or death situation (which I do not).

      2 votes
      1. [7]
        ohyran
        Link Parent
        Sry, not from the US: why are they not giving out passports unless its a life and death situation?

        Sry, not from the US: why are they not giving out passports unless its a life and death situation?

        1. [4]
          DrStone
          Link Parent
          From what I read, it's a logistics thing. Most people aren't traveling internationally except for essential business or emergencies. The significantly reduced demand coupled with the risk of...

          From what I read, it's a logistics thing. Most people aren't traveling internationally except for essential business or emergencies. The significantly reduced demand coupled with the risk of people gathering at work meant most related department employees were sent home and things are operating just enough to handle the necessary cases. Therefore, any non-essential passport applications and renewals will be significantly delayed based on current processing capacity and prioritization.

          Seems they'll be reopening the department(s) in phases. The recommendation I've seen is to submit now rather than wait until things are fully reopened, where there's likely to be a giant wave of submissions.

          3 votes
          1. [3]
            ohyran
            Link Parent
            (Forgot about Covid and thought it was a longer thing) Still, what happens if you wish to leave the country? Doesn't that mean that the US is in practice locking its citizens in? Or is that...

            (Forgot about Covid and thought it was a longer thing)
            Still, what happens if you wish to leave the country? Doesn't that mean that the US is in practice locking its citizens in? Or is that normal, like that leaving is not considered an automatic protected right?

            1. [2]
              DrStone
              Link Parent
              If you wish to leave and have a valid passport, then the only restrictions I believe are finding a flight and being allowed in by or to transit through the foreign country. Citizens are not...

              If you wish to leave and have a valid passport, then the only restrictions I believe are finding a flight and being allowed in by or to transit through the foreign country. Citizens are not automatically issued passports and passports are not automatically renewed. Traveling between states with in the US is completely free and open.

              If you don't have a passport, or yours is expiring, then you need to get one in order to travel internationally. If you have an "emergency" or other need to travel abroad soon, you'll get priority in the current processing of applications. If you don't have a qualifying need to travel soon, you wait in the queue to get handled as fast as the processing capacity allows.

              Pre-pandemic, the time between application submission and receiving your passport could be anywhere between a few weeks (or less with special expedition) and a few months depending on how long the queue is. The US population is almost 330 million; the number of new and renewal applications at a given time from a fraction of that can be huge. Right before and during peak vacation travel times, the queue will be longer. Mine, if I recall, was pretty quick because I did it off-peak. As long as your paperwork is in order and you pay the fee, you should get it eventually.

              I don't see having to wait your turn in a queue due to processing capacity as equivalent to locking people in.

              2 votes
        2. [2]
          Fal
          Link Parent
          There's been a small bug going around :P
          1 vote
          1. ohyran
            Link Parent
            Oh so its just for now? Assumed it was a bigger thing since from what I've heard getting passports in the US is sorta non-trivial.

            Oh so its just for now? Assumed it was a bigger thing since from what I've heard getting passports in the US is sorta non-trivial.

            1 vote
  7. [3]
    kfwyre
    Link
    Congratulations, zara! I'm with @ThatFanficGuy and think that the most important next step is that you should celebrate!

    Congratulations, zara!

    I'm with @ThatFanficGuy and think that the most important next step is that you should celebrate!

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      zara
      Link Parent
      As a new American citizen how should I celebrate?

      As a new American citizen how should I celebrate?

      4 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        That's a tough question to answer right now given the circumstances regarding quarantining. When my brother-in-law became a citizen we threw a party for him with a bunch of Tex-Mex food, which is...

        That's a tough question to answer right now given the circumstances regarding quarantining. When my brother-in-law became a citizen we threw a party for him with a bunch of Tex-Mex food, which is one of his favorite parts of American culture (mine too!). I'd say go with whatever will be both fun and safe for you and anyone you're choosing to celebrate with. Even if it's nothing big, this is a great moment for you to treat yourself!

  8. [6]
    Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    Cool, but what exactly happened for you to take so long to do that if you've been in the US for most of your life?

    Cool, but what exactly happened for you to take so long to do that if you've been in the US for most of your life?

    3 votes
    1. [5]
      zara
      Link Parent
      That's just how immigration to the U.S. works, my man. Takes a lot of time and a lot of money. (applying to become a citizen cost me about $750)

      That's just how immigration to the U.S. works, my man. Takes a lot of time and a lot of money. (applying to become a citizen cost me about $750)

      8 votes
      1. [4]
        Keegan
        Link Parent
        10 years, correct? It is crazy that it costs so much though. What types of paperwork and such did you have to do to apply?

        10 years, correct? It is crazy that it costs so much though. What types of paperwork and such did you have to do to apply?

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          zara
          Link Parent
          To be honest, my parents and the immigration lawyer did pretty much all the work so I don't know much about the paperwork. But once I was approved to be a permanent resident (at 18) the process...

          To be honest, my parents and the immigration lawyer did pretty much all the work so I don't know much about the paperwork. But once I was approved to be a permanent resident (at 18) the process became a lot easier; at that point it was a lot more streamlined, basically "show up at this place with this paper and these documents and then we'll sign it and you'll be on your way".

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            Keegan
            Link Parent
            Ah that doesn't seem too terrible then. I'm glad it wasn't as huge a hassle as a worst-case scenario for you.

            Ah that doesn't seem too terrible then. I'm glad it wasn't as huge a hassle as a worst-case scenario for you.

            4 votes
            1. zara
              Link Parent
              I'm soooo grateful for my parents and their lawyer doing the brunt work. I've heard of people waiting over 15-20 years!

              I'm soooo grateful for my parents and their lawyer doing the brunt work. I've heard of people waiting over 15-20 years!

              5 votes
  9. mieum
    Link
    Welcome to the shit show! And like others have mentioned, get your vote on!

    Welcome to the shit show! And like others have mentioned, get your vote on!

    3 votes