Sunday, September 11, 2011

United States Citizenship

21 years. The length of time we had been married when Rudy finally decided to apply for citizenship of the good 'ol U.S. of A.

When we first met, Rudy was here, in the U.S., visiting with a Visa. A passport of sorts, allowing foreigners from other countries to come here, to work and/or tour, for a determined amount of time. Usually, increments of 6 months.

We, Rudy and I, met at some point within that six month time frame.

Five months after our marriage ceremony Rudy was issued a permanent Resident Alien card. The card allowed him to live and work in The United States of America, without question.

Every once in a while, over the years, I would ask Rudy why he was not applying for citizenship. He was entitled to submit an application 3 years after our wedding day, him having married a U.S. citizen.  He honestly didn't really have an answer. Maybe it was an ongoing affinity for Honduras? A loyalty to a country he grew up in?

I am not specifically sure what he was thinking. I don't think he knew why exactly, either. The thing is it was never a huge issue, for either of us. He was able to live here, mostly, yet, he could not vote freely. His living here is really what mattered to us.

Late in the year of 2006.
Struggling to find a job, Rudy decided the time seemed right to apply for citizenship. The idea was that it would give him a safety net should he find work outside of the U.S.

Apply, he did.

What do you know? Not a month later, a company in Honduras, Central America, wanted to interview Rudy for a job position at a dye-house. Not only was this exciting because Honduras is the country that holds many memories for him, throughout his childhood, concluding after a few years of college but because he would be able to walk into the job site knowing what was expected of him. His skills would shine there. He was, after-all, a dyer. A colorist of cloth.

He interviewed. He impressed. He was hired.

While in Honduras, I received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security stating Rudy needed to appear for a mandated appointment. An initial meeting to consider whether he had met the requirements to become a citizen. Only after 12 days of working in San Pedro Sula, a lively town in Honduras, Rudy returned home to appear as scheduled with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.


Rudy returned to Honduras the next day.

Ironically, a major hiccup happened. Due to the fact that Rudy accepted employment with the foreign company and the need to get him over there ASAP, he figured he could update his passport while living there for the year he was under contract. Unfortunately, he allowed the expiration date come and go. He was in Honduras with a now-unofficial document. It took months, lots of phone calls and traveling to far away Tegucigalpa, to the U.S. Consulate; and an overwhelming amount of frustration for him not to mention how worried I was feeling to finally re-establish his passport, to enable him to travel, specifically back to the U.S.

Just in time for a return to California, for another preset meeting.

7 months after the first interview Rudy was interviewed more formally a second time. He once again flew into the states from Central America to complete that next step to his process of being naturalized.

Done. Again.

Rudy returned to Honduras the next day. Again.

Three months passed. He completed his employment with the company, returning home 4 days before his oath ceremony.

On January 18, 2008, Rudy was entitled to be admitted to citizenship by the U.S. District Court Central District in California.

What a to say the least worthy process it was.

Rudy is an upstanding voting citizen of The United States of America.


  1. That is so cool! It is interesting to note that dispite the many people who complain about the "difficulty" of working in the United States legally, our experience living and working in Japan, Hong Kong, and now Macau inform us that America is one of the absolute easiest places to apply to work legally. The hoops of fire we've had to jump through to become legal residents in other countries are ridiculously extensive. Good for Rudy finally going the distance to get citizenship!

  2. What a relief for you both. I have friends who've been through the process, and it's not always an easy process.

  3. a triumph for sure, K....
    I have heard stories of having a difficult, drawn out process.... more so since 9/11...
    rudy was fortunate that his induction went pretty smoothly...