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JumpingJasonFlash

One last step!

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Seven years and one month ago, on a lazy Saturday (much like today), our life took a complete change of course when my wife and I logged in to the EDV page and saw that crazy notification letter that I had been selected for DV2012. This week we both had our Naturalization interviews and have been recommended for US Citizenship!

What a long, crazy, and uncertain journey it has been. So much has changed since that sunny but wintery Saturday morning in Johannesburg. We have travelled lots. We have made many new and fabulous friends. We have three happy little doggies, one of which is our 13-year-old dachshund who has shared this entire incredible journey with us. We also have a tiny all American ‘threenager’ full of personality and sass, who, in all likelihood we may never have decided to bring into this world had we not had such good fortune and incredible luck all these years.

One last step remains. One last “hurry up and wait”. With just a little more patience and perseverance, our Oath Ceremony notification letters should arrive in the coming weeks and we’ll be sworn in shortly thereafter. The finish line is soooo close now!

Thanks to all here who have shared this long journey with us, and thanks for the help, advice, and words of encouragement these last seven years!

Jason.

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Jason, great post - and congratulations - you are almost there!  I did my passport application at the ceremony, and a week and a day later, had my shiny new American passport in hand!  The following week, I went to the Social Security offices, and updated my SS record - which now reflects I am a citizen.  That was the last I have had to deal with any sort of immigration stuff - a great feeling.  I was DV2008, and had my interview in December 2013, and the ceremony a month later.  

I also chose to retain my SA citizenship, so did all that paperwork a couple of months before the ceremony, so hold dual.  Getting a new SA passport was quite a mission last year, with all the forms you need this side, but not unmanageable. 

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15 hours ago, Malamute said:

I also chose to retain my SA citizenship, so did all that paperwork a couple of months before the ceremony, so hold dual.  Getting a new SA passport was quite a mission last year, with all the forms you need this side, but not unmanageable. 

Thanks! We definitely intend to apply for our US Passports at the ceremony.

The SA consulate FINALLY came through for us and we got our retention of SA citizenship certificates a week after we filled our N-400 applications. My wife also got her new SA passport in June. We’ve both applied this side, so we know the process is anything but quick ‘n’ easy. Thankfully, my new one only expires in about 8 years, so we shouldn’t have to deal with that or DHA for quite a while now 😁

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I think you may have mentioned this before, but how long did the retention of citizenship certificates take?

 

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46 minutes ago, SJ272 said:

I think you may have mentioned this before, but how long did the retention of citizenship certificates take?

 

It took 4 months at LA Consulate. I think we were just unlucky, though.

My wife’s passport took 5 months, but our friend in Texas took basically a full year to get his and his two kids’ passports!!!

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I’m hoping we can do passport renewals on a visit in SA - much easier (well of course assuming one would be there anyway!)

 

 

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21 hours ago, SJ272 said:

I’m hoping we can do passport renewals on a visit in SA - much easier (well of course assuming one would be there anyway!)

 

 

Just did that for our teenage son while in SA for a family holiday. Applied online for an appointment at one off the banks that process the applications. Pitched up 2 hours early (did the appointment way in advance and wanted to change the time slot but couldn't)- and they still helped us. (though it did take longer). 

The system was down for maintenance but they still assisted everyone. The passport should have been ready within a week, but was delayed because off the system maintenance. We couldn't pick it up before we left for US, but they did allow my MIL to pick it up on our behalf (gave her authorization letter and copies off ID's) and had to email the officer the US Date Stamps(return) in our passport.

We have family visiting in a few months and they will bring the passport along. 

PS (the passport would have expired just before his 16th birthday next year, the new passport is still only valid 5 years - minor under 16, but we figured that we have then another 5 years before we have to worry again). because his old passport hasn't expired yet, we paid a penalty fee of R400 (total R800)

 

[at]JumpingJasonFlash- Congratulations, makes the roller coaster ride worth it right. 

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3 hours ago, adventurer1 said:

 

 

. because his old passport hasn't expired yet, we paid a penalty fee of R400 (total R800)

 

 

Is this a new thing? We renewed our kids just before we left, they still had about a year left on their old ones and there wasn’t any penalty. 

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22 hours ago, SJ272 said:

Is this a new thing? We renewed our kids just before we left, they still had about a year left on their old ones and there wasn’t any penalty. 

Don't know if its new or just because I applied online on the new system. There was no way around it. It was automatically charged and I couldn't option out nor was I refunded

I do recall a few years back when we applied for a renewal off a child passport, which was still valid- the home affairs officer cancelled the the ''old'' valid one and said that it was against the law to have 2 valid CHILD passports. (this was not the case with my own 10 year adult passport)

Maybe this has to do with that- cause when you apply online they don't have access to the current passport? 

well in fact ,they did not cancel his current passport, as we still had to fly back with it

 

 

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27 minutes ago, adventurer1 said:

Don't know if its new or just because I applied online on the new system. There was no way around it. It was automatically charged and I couldn't option out nor was I refunded

I do recall a few years back when we applied for a renewal off a child passport, which was still valid- the home affairs officer cancelled the the ''old'' valid one and said that it was against the law to have 2 valid CHILD passports. (this was not the case with my own 10 year adult passport)

Maybe this has to do with that- cause when you apply online they don't have access to the current passport? 

well in fact ,they did not cancel his current passport, as we still had to fly back with it

 

 

Oh I honestly think every office just makes up their own rules! We didn’t have to have the old child ones cancelled! This was back in 2014 before we made our permanent move. Although home affairs was so crazy at that stage (they had just started the smart ID system as well as the system of taking photos themselves and it was all a total shambles) I’m surprised we even got the passports !!!

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On 8/18/2018 at 7:49 PM, JumpingJasonFlash said:

Seven years and one month ago, on a lazy Saturday (much like today), our life took a complete change of course when my wife and I logged in to the EDV page and saw that crazy notification letter that I had been selected for DV2012. This week we both had our Naturalization interviews and have been recommended for US Citizenship!

What a long, crazy, and uncertain journey it has been. So much has changed since that sunny but wintery Saturday morning in Johannesburg. We have travelled lots. We have made many new and fabulous friends. We have three happy little doggies, one of which is our 13-year-old dachshund who has shared this entire incredible journey with us. We also have a tiny all American ‘threenager’ full of personality and sass, who, in all likelihood we may never have decided to bring into this world had we not had such good fortune and incredible luck all these years.

One last step remains. One last “hurry up and wait”. With just a little more patience and perseverance, our Oath Ceremony notification letters should arrive in the coming weeks and we’ll be sworn in shortly thereafter. The finish line is soooo close now!

Thanks to all here who have shared this long journey with us, and thanks for the help, advice, and words of encouragement these last seven years!

Jason.

What a wonderful story.  So very happy for you.  We are one year in on 6 Sep so just a bit more time for us.

The R400 is new, not sure when it started, but yes, if they recon you are still ok to use your current one, they will make you pay the penalty.

Good luck with the ceremony.  I am green with envy.

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On 8/19/2018 at 1:49 AM, JumpingJasonFlash said:

Seven years and one month ago, on a lazy Saturday (much like today), our life took a complete change of course when my wife and I logged in to the EDV page and saw that crazy notification letter that I had been selected for DV2012. This week we both had our Naturalization interviews and have been recommended for US Citizenship!

What a long, crazy, and uncertain journey it has been. So much has changed since that sunny but wintery Saturday morning in Johannesburg. We have travelled lots. We have made many new and fabulous friends. We have three happy little doggies, one of which is our 13-year-old dachshund who has shared this entire incredible journey with us. We also have a tiny all American ‘threenager’ full of personality and sass, who, in all likelihood we may never have decided to bring into this world had we not had such good fortune and incredible luck all these years.

One last step remains. One last “hurry up and wait”. With just a little more patience and perseverance, our Oath Ceremony notification letters should arrive in the coming weeks and we’ll be sworn in shortly thereafter. The finish line is soooo close now!

Thanks to all here who have shared this long journey with us, and thanks for the help, advice, and words of encouragement these last seven years!

Jason.

Congratulations!  i cant wait for that feeling one day!

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Thanks, everyone!

Quick update: Our notification letters came through the online portal at the end of last week, scheduling our Oath Ceremony before the end of the month! Which is incredible, considering even conservative estimates had the process taking us all the way up until the end of the year!

No complaints from us! That’s for sure!

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We did it! We took our oaths yesterday morning in a truly wonderful ceremony with some truly wonderful fellow Americans!

Listening to all the incredible and moving stories shared by our fellow freshly minted citizens, friends, and families, really drove home just how fortunate we are. Especially, those of us lucky enough to have DV Visas!

Our journey from first letter of  notification to citizenship was a little over 7 years in total, while others in our group spoke of up to 25 years, with tales of deportation, strife, and life’s many tragedies in between! Can you even imagine a quarter of a century journey to citizenship!?! Our group spanned the global, from Iran, Pakistan, and Macedonia, to Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Germany, UK, Liberia, Morocco, and more! Complete strangers welcomed us as family, and others remembered departed friends, family, and servicemen who had fallen along the way serving the country we now call home. Even an old cynic, like myself, was rather moved by the experience.

Thanks again to all on this forum who have shared in this journey and adventure with us, and I look forward to hearing more of your own journeys and helping out where and when I can.

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