2/24/10

Citizenship, the next hurdle


Well I am starting to contemplate the next step of the immigration process, citizenship.

I am now in year 2 of a 10-year Green Card and so there's no rush or pressure. But anyone who has been through this immigration process will understand my sentiment that I just want to be done with it for good. Plus the fee goes up steadily every year, this year it would cost me $675, in addition to the approximate $3,000 to get this far.

As for the actual decision to take citizenship, for me personally it's a no brainer as I can retain my British citizenship and have dual nationality, And as I pay taxes here, own property and plan to stay permanently, I would like to have all my other rights and voting privileges too.

I am starting to gear up, but this time some studying will also be required, as I have to pass the citizenship test. It has 100 potential questions, they ask me up to ten and I have to get 60% correct. We went through the flash cards tonight and I actually surprised myself with how many I could answer. I think living here you soak up more than you realise over a few years, plus going through an election has helped too.

I spent Monday grading the 5th grade Social Studies papers and realised the history they are learning this year, is also what I need to know. So today their teacher kindly loaned me a textbook and workbook so I can start studying. We both think I will retain more like this, rather than just reading the questions and answers repeatedly.

For me the hardest part is getting my head around the government and how it works, as it's completely different to the UK. The Hubster has looked over the test questions and thinks quite a few Americans would struggle to answer some. So I thought I'd throw a few of the questions in here and you can test yourselves and let me know how you do, but no googling allowed!

#14 What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?

#21 The House of Representatives has how many voting members?

#37 What does the judicial branch do?

#41 Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?

#61 Why did the colonists fight the British?

#63 When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

#66 When was the Constitution written?

#67 The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers?

#71 What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

#77 What did Susan B. Anthony do?

#88 Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.

#96 Why does the flag have 13 stripes?

Knock yourselves out!

22 comments:

Troy said...

Its great that they actually tell you the 100 potential questions in advance. Quite a lot of swotting up to do though.
When I visited the US I bought "A Pocket History Of The United States" Nevins/Commager ISBN 0-671-63268-X. 600+pages but quite readable for someone like myself with only a very limited knowledge of US history.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Those are good questions. I think I knew almost all of them.

I need a good primer on the British system of government. It's a mystery to me. I love watching Parliment debates on CSPAN. Your lawmakers are much better debaters and are quicker on their toes than our politicians. I don't think anybody is more overbearing, boring, or has their butt kissed more than a US Senator.

I'd be proud to have you as a fellow citizen. I think its wonderful that you can have dual citizenship.

Jenny said...

Well, I will *not* be admitting how many I did not know. Suffice it to say, I'd fail the citizenship test if they're all like that. I'm glad that you've got the new textbook to help you. I enjoy history and such, but I'm not good at just memorizing dates. I understand the desire to get it over and done with. We've already got it on the calendar when the children and husband can become US Citizens and we haven't even moved yet. I don't think people realize how much it costs to immigrate the legal way. Good luck to you!

Brit Gal Sarah said...

Troy you are so right about knowing the questions, it would be a nightmare otherwise! Thanks for the book tip.

Yogi - thank you.

Jenny - I also enjoy history thank goodness, but I also get very nervous before tests!

Limey said...

I know I have this coming down the road in a few years, but I dread it! More immigration paperwork! Ugh. Have to go through the hurdles of going from temporary Greencard to 10-year one this November and it's already turning my stomach. The cost!!

I did not do as well as I would have liked on those questions!!

Mom Mayhem says: said...

Wow-Goodness! I didn't know it would be so expensive and as far as the questions I did know a few but,also did not know quite a few *embarassed american* -Good Luck to you though I also hate tests!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

I have just renewed my own green card once again, it cost 245.00 ?
Over the years I have read the questions, answered at 100 percent, taught the family about American history, and then got cold feet when it came to taking the test.
Oh I should, I know, but there is something deep down in my gut that tells me I would be lying when it comes down to denouncing all other Sovereigns or Countries, it's the one thing I have stayed true to.
Now that being said, I love my adopted country with a passion, and so it would only be fair to my offspring that I should reinforce that feeling, by becoming a citizen.
Off my soapbox now.
Congratulations on making that step !

Gaelyn said...

I think I'd flunk this test. Must be smarter than a 5th grader. And what a great way to study for this. Maybe all Americans should be retested once in a while. ;-)
Good luck on your studies.

Daryl said...

#61 .. tax on tea .. that's the simple answer but the bottomline was the same back then as it is now (for you) paying taxes and wanting a say in how they are used.

#71 Louisiana

#96 representing the original 13 colonies

#14 needing a majority of the House and Senate to pass a law

#88 Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers

#21 435 voting members (BUT there are 5 delegates and 1 resident commissioner who are non-voting members of the House)

gigihawaii said...

hmmm. How in the world did my grandmother from Korea become a citizen???? She spoke English poorly and did not read English at all. She could barely sign her name.

Expat mum said...

Glutton for punishment then. I did mine in 2002 and got told off by the "officer" for leaving it so long. Mind you, I had to hire a lawyer to keep track of the paperwork as my green card was also expiring. He was sitting in a corner of the room, probably pissing off the office by taking notes. As punishment, the officer asked me to name the 13 original states, which is probably the hardest question to remember. He also asked me four more questions after I got the first 6 right. Grrr. Just be nice to whoever interviews you - they have a lot of power.
ps. All you have to do is memorise the questions they give you on the web site. You'll forget almost everything the next day too!

Linda J. said...

This is exactly what AJ has been studying in 5th grade here in KY. My advice is to do it while you are young, because believe me, short term memory goes as we grow older.

Vickie said...

That's so cool! I read the questions and started to sweat...I was having flashbacks to Civics class.

We received a package today...thank you very much! You are the sweetest peep!

Sherri said...

Good Luck Sarah! I know how long it takes to become a citizen now, but I know you can do it!!

Kay said...

My nephew's wife has gone through hell and back with the visa thing so I know what you're talking about. My nephew says he can't believe how much the fees jumped recently. We really take our citizenship for granted.

I'd venture to say more than half of the Americans would fail that test.

Pam said...

John did his at the same time Kymmie was in 9th grade social studies. I think borrowing a social studies book is a great idea. I've often heard it said that the average immigrant who goes through the process knows much more than the average American. I recognized some questions though - 1803, Louisiana Purchase; checks and balances; etc. You might need 9th grade social studies instead of grade school, but you will ace it, I have no doubt!

Pam said...

Oh, and a reason to do it to all you other Brits out there thinking about it ... just in case tax codes ever change ... you've been paying into the tax system, once you retire, you want to be guaranteed your money. You renounce all other countries, but the UK doesn't recognize that you renounced it, so no harm, no foul. In theory anyway! And besides, that citizenship ceremony is SOOOOOO inspiring. Sarah, if you go through with it, I will be there waving a flag for you!

Almost American said...

I've just renewed my US passport, so that must mean I've been a citizen for 10 years now. Wow - time flies! The citizenship part of it was cheaper back then, but I spent a lot more than you did on getting the green card as I didn't get it through marriage. I think it was more like $6,000 for me!

I did well on the test at the time, but I think the Immigration officer gave me a break and asked me easy questions as I was clearly in the midst of serious post-partum depression with a 6 month old baby who I'd had to bring to the interview with me. (They had the audacity to tell me "No eating" in the waiting room - and they seriously were going to ask me to leave the room if I was bottle-feeding and miss hearing my name called! Hah - I nursed the kid instead and they didn't DARE complain!)

I wouldn't do so well on some of the questions you posted!

Florence and Mary said...

Good luck with your studying and exams!!!

Victoria xx

Nat said...

Ouch - those are hard... and I studied US Politics for a year at University!

Nat said...

Maybe I should send you my beginners primer to the US Constitution. I passed some exams thanks to it... although learning all the US Presidents was horrible (hope you don't have to do that) I had a paper chain of little men cut out and coloured them red and blue... still could never get them all though!

Pat said...

Yikes! I didn't know the answer to most of them. I suppose if I studied for several months I might pass it, but I'd still be sweating bullets while taking the test.

Good luck to you!