Most people like cake, but most people don’t like learning English idioms. You know, things like: I’m pulling your leg, hold your horses or it’s a piece of cake. Whenever I taught color idioms – there are a lot, just think about it- I always included “red tape” because everyone knows the idea and everyone hates it. Green card holders tangled with their fair share of red tape when they applied for their legal permanent residency visas and every time they have to renew them. In fact, we all have to deal with red tape in our lives at some point.
When I taught ESL, I often told my students about what happened to me while I was young and inexperienced and teaching abroad. My tourist visa was about to expire and I couldn’t renew it anymore. Unfortunately for me, the visa laws didn’t care that it was an exciting time for me personally and professionally and I did not want to go home yet.
So it was this situation that brought me to the middle of a sad, grey government building one day trying to get a new visa, initially hopeful, but quickly realizing that youthful optimism came to places like this to die amongst wordy forms, long lines and employees that had no incentive to either be productive or courteous. I walked away miserable and dejected, muttering to myself and found a staircase and sat down and cried tears of frustration. My 24- year-old-self did not handle it well!
Red Tape! I say it as a rally cry as I raise my fist in the air! My students always laugh and agree and tell me their stories of woe. No, red tape is not a piece of cake ladies and gentlemen. It will bring you down in the dumps. I am not pulling your leg, but hold your horses;there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Embarrassed and defeated I eventually talked to the administrator of the organization where I was teaching, and she told me I could get my visa through them. I swear that it had not occurred to me at the time to ask for help. I thought it would be simple. She explained the law, and some possible options. There were options! I remember feeling so relieved to get some guidance about the visa laws. It’s frustrating to fill out complicated paperwork, and it can cause you intense stress. In the end, my organization took care of all the paperwork and told me exactly what to do. It was extremely comforting to have someone I trusted help me. You deserve someone who can help YOU too!
Well, once you’ve determined you are eligible to apply for citizenship, consider how you want to proceed. InStepp, Inc.is an eager ally in the community for legal permanent residents who want to take the next step toward naturalization. We want to help make this process successful for you!
At InStepp, professional teachers and volunteers help you learn everything you need to know about American history, government and culture to pass your citizenship test. Department of Justice (DOJ) accredited counselors help you prepare and file the N-400 Application for Naturalization. InStepp can help prepare your N-400 for free if you qualify or for $50 if you are enrolled in the Free Citizenship Classes.
Preparing to take the Citizenship Test- How can I get ready?
The Citizenship classes held in Durham and Wake county libraries are designed to get you ready for your interview with USCIS. That means there is lots of practice with: 100 Civic Questions, reading & writing vocabulary from USCIS and speaking & listening practice about the interview. You’ll also get free materials to help you study and learn strategies and hints to help you. Plus wouldn’t it be nice to know how the US was formed, how laws are made, and who your representatives in the government are? You will learn all these things in InStepp’s citizenship classes.
Taking the Citizenship Test – There are so many steps, where do I start?
If you choose InStepp, when you begin classes, you’ll get an overview of the naturalization process. Besides learning the English & Civics aspect, you’ll also review the parts of the N-400 Application in class and later DOJ accredited counselors will answer any of your questions about the N-400.
Naturalization Interview- Conquering your nerves with preparation
On the day of your interview, you will be prepared, especially if you attend the Citizenship Classes at InStepp. You’ll know what to expect and although you’ll be a little nervous, you’ll do great! Citizenship “Granted”! Now for other people, not you, because you’re not going to have any problems, but some may have their N-400 Application for Naturalization “Continued” which means they get a second chance without having to pay another fee. Other applicants may unfortunately be Denied.
Oath of Allegiance Ceremony- The Final Step!
Hopefully, everything goes well and your citizenship is granted and you receive a notice to take an Oath of Allegiance. It may be the same day as your naturalization interview, but in many cases, USCIS will mail you the information about date, time and place of the ceremony. After your Oath of Allegiance, you’ll walk out of the building with all the rights and privileges of an American Citizen. So, what are you waiting for? If we work together, it’ll be a piece of cake!