I finally had my oath ceremony today at Cadman Plaza US District Court, Brooklyn.
I am not going into details as to what happened during the ceremony, I think everybody knows that much. But my experience today was very very positive and I really had fun. Having been sat through a friend's ceremony about 3 months ago, I wasn't expecting to have this much enjoyment out of this ceremony but I was wrong. All officers, organizing and directing the ceremony were extremely friendly, cordial and patient with everybody. Especially the officer Black who acted as lead person, was very entertaining and informative. He helped made the rather painful process, really fun (I didn't know that they are actually immigration officers who are conducting the interviews). Also the lady from the City of New York was a delight to listen to. She literally entertained everybody while giving tons of useful information about our responsibilities as new citizens.
We were told that today's ceremony was one of the most crowded one in a long time and officer Black included that this was the largest naturalization ceremony he ever presided over. We had 278 citizens from 56 different countries. The ceremonial room was packed and there were no room for the families. They had to watch the whole thing from upstairs.
The judge's speech was moving and 3 pages long(I could see his notes from my seat). But he spoke fast and everything took about 10 minutes. After that we were called to pick up our certificates. All in all, it was very enjoyable ceremony and I truly had fun.
Right after the ceremony, I rushed out, hop in the subway and went to the DMV located in lower Manhattan(11 Greenwich St). Since I had my first name changed, I wanted to update my driver's license first. Spent there about 1,5 hours but I got it done. From there, I went to banks and updated my info. I didn't think I would have enough time to apply for US passport today but since I finished at earlier stops quickly, I decided to go ahead and apply. I went to the post office in Grand Central. I opted for the expedited and I am told that it should arrive in 2 weeks. Oh, I also applied for the passport card. I heard that it is quite useful in Europe. So we'll see...
This has been quite the journey for me that started in 1997 and today, I can finally say that I am a proud US citizen. Besides, I am so glad that I won't be dealing with USCIS anymore. Going forward, I'd like to thank everybody here from the bottom of my heart whom I really learned a lot about the process. I wish everybody in here still waiting for the interview or the oath best of luck. Hang in there, you're almost there...
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