Well, my UK application for citizenship didn’t go so well (it wasn’t rejected, just delayed pending some more paperwork), so today I’m thinking of applying to change my Green card into a citizenship The infamous N-400 form is all it takes, plus time. According to the USCIS (formerly INS), the application takes less than 6 months to process, so in order to be able to register and vote in the next general election in the US, I’ll need to apply soon. As a green card holder married to a US citizen, it takes 3 years less 90 days before you can apply (everyone else it’s 5 years…)..

Interestingly, like my green card application, the application asks if I am now, or have ever been a member of the Communist Party. I thought that question went out with McCarthy and Edward R. Murrow.

To all my friends out there, please test me. I will have to pass the US history and government test in the next 6 months (and yes, I do know I can never become president).

The application is surprisingly lightweight! Copies (not originals!) of my green card and wife’s passport, some stuff with both our names on it, photos, copy of marriage certificate. I guess the vetting process is already complete with the extensive documentation (yes, I hired a lawyer for this) that was required to get a green card.

I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of US citizenship, and here’s what I came up with:

Pros:

  • Get to vote (big one)
  • Don’t have to get back Green card if I lose it due to living overseas for over 6 months.
  • Makes adopted country another “homeland” for me.
  • Cannot lose residency or be deported. Always a plus if you own a house and have a wife in the US.
  • Heck, I pay taxes and am subject to Selected Service already (really!)

Cons:

  • Jury duty
  • Difficult to get other citizenships (well, not terrible, just difficult, with notable exception of the UK)
  • $675 application fee and a test (up from $95 ten years ago)
  • Ex-pat taxes for living overseas are stupidly large, unless I come back to Canada after living overseas. Laws changed as of January 2007.
  • Complicates taxes, always.
  • Complicates travel to Canada (leave on Canada passport, come back on US passport), also complicates travel to Europe (need to have BOTH passports, always).
  • Complicates passport renewals (need to accompany EVERY passport application in both countries with explanatory letter, and need to cross out stuff).