When students heard I’m going to become a citizen soon, they gave me a box of chocolates and signed a beautiful card. I feel very welcome.


11 thoughts on “Welcome”

  1. “Soon?”

    You still aren’t officially a citizen, after passing the written test months ago? Will you make it in time to vote in the Illinois primary election next week?


      1. “I don’t think I need a passport to be completely considered a citizen, right?”

        No you don’t. I didn’t get a passport until I was in my thirties — and that was after I’d already joined the military and traveled all over the world with only my military ID. (The Saudis insisted that all U.S. military personnel in their country obtain diplomatic passports.)

        Registering to vote makes you a legal resident of the state and county where you reside.


          1. Registering to vote makes you a legal resident of the state and county where you reside.

            This is true only if you are actually already a US citizen. You cannot vote if you are not a citizen.

            Technically, someone could register to vote without being a citizen because very little paperwork is required to register to vote, but that’s a serious violation/constitutes a misrepresentation of your immigration status (and could result in a declination of green card and/or citizenship later on).


            1. Hey, I wasn’t advising Clarissa to register before she became a citizen — she asked (in her comment at 22:15) if she should register after completing the citizenship ceremony!


  2. Congratulations!
    Yes, you have to register to vote, but it’s illegal to vote (or register to vote) if you’re not a citizen. They actually had voter registration forms at the court house on the day of my citizenship ceremony, which I filled out then and there (got my first jury duty summons shortly thereafter).


      1. “And I’d so love jury duty.”

        Well, don’t worry — if Illinois is anything like Arizona, you’ll be called every time the wind changes direction. I am so looking forward to turning 75 in two years, so I can tell the Arizona Superior Court to take my name off their list.


  3. I suspect that you will get some sort of documentation that you are a citizen after the ceremony. Having been born in the U. S., I have never needed it, but I did need to submit my birth certificate when I applied for a passport the first time.


  4. I don’t actually remember “proving” citizenship when registering to vote. I’ve either registered through motor-voter (first time I had to renew my driver’s license I registered to vote), filling out a form on campus (in Ohio when the laws were less strict), and just filling out a form in my new voting precinct the day of a primary.

    It’s showing up to vote where people run into issues. In Florida, you must show id to vote. There are particular ids you can show and in my experience they just match the id to the registration. Since Florida is a real ID state, they just scan my driver’s license and I’ve never actually had anyone ask for my voter registration card.

    I’m pretty sure they just mail the Certificate of Naturalization (that doesn’t expire) to you, just like your passport (that expires every ten years).

    Get someone to take pictures!

    I didn’t go through the ceremony but when I voted for the first time I had someone take a picture of me outside the polling place with my card because I was so proud.
    (It made that election extra bitter.)


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