Naturalization and Citizenship

It is hard to believe my wife and I became naturalized US citizens back in February. Today we completed the final step, and went to our local social security administration to get our social security cards updated! We moved to the US back in 2007, and since then held the same card which had an endorsement on it stating “valid for work only with DHS authorization”. Everything else we were able to do on the day we naturalized but this step required a few weeks for everything to get into the system…

We registered to vote, obtained our US passports, and all the other things that day back in February. We have long since received those things, but kept putting this on a back burner as life got busy. When we had our driving licenses stolen while on holiday it reminded us that we need to get this updated as it complicated obtaining new licenses. I had forgotten just how depressing those places can be, and we came home feeling pretty deflated, but should have our new cards within a few weeks.

Selfie of the whole family right after we naturalized

It is great to have everything completed. We have lived in the US for nearly eleven years now, and nearly nine years in the Capital Region of upstate New York. For many of those years our lives have felt somewhat on hold, we didn’t want to buy a house without being permanent residents, my work was made more difficult at times due to not being a citizen, and we were unable to participate in elections despite paying all the same taxes as our peers.

Even as a green card holder it was unnerving that we had an obligation to update our address with USCIS within ten days of moving, and even somewhat minor crimes/charges could potentially lead to issues renewing our green card. Quite honestly, since the last presidential election our green cards began to feel a little more precarious. It is sad to see immigration being made more difficult, despite coming from the UK with a PhD in Physics I can attest that we did not have an easy time of it.

We love our adopted country despite some of its faults, and hope to continue calling it home for a long time to come. Both of our children were born here, and have never know another home. It continues to be a fantastic place to do science, and work on open source software. There are certainly things that concern us, and I hope to play my part in making the US better for us all. We still miss our country of birth, and hope to get back there for a visit soon.

All those years ago I never imagined we might settle here, and become citizens. I had no idea where my career would take me, and how our family would grow. I still aspire to do more, and continue to appreciate the opportunities I have been afforded here. Back to more posts on science, programming, open source, and open science “real soon now”.

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