The Santa Clara Weekly | March 2017 | Issue 13

Santa Clara Library Provides Naturalization Resources in Welcoming Environment
Story and photos by Diane Andrews

“I hope you will consider this your third safe place–home, work and the library,” Santa Clara City Librarian Hilary Keith told about 40 attendees on March 21 at a U.S. naturalization information session hosted at Central Park Library, 2635 Homestead Rd. “I hope you will continue to use our resources for many years to come.”

The information session for legal permanent residents and interested naturalization applicants was presented by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Two officers gave a step-by-step power-point description of the naturalization process and conducted a mock interview.

Four steps were listed in the naturalization process, which can take six or seven months from the time of filing for citizenship: looking at general eligibility requirements, filing an application for naturalization (currently $640 plus $85 for biometrics), interviewing with a USCIS officer (now being scheduled for August) and being sworn in as a citizen, usually at a monthly ceremony.

Between July 1 and September 30, 2016, the San Jose Field Office received 4,688 applications and San Francisco received 7,761. At the Campbell Heritage Theater on March 23, about 1,300 successful applicants were sworn in. For San Francisco, a March 29 ceremony was at the extra-large venue Oakland Paramount Theater.

When asked the most important advice she could give, USCIS Officer Cortez responded, “Don’t procrastinate. File for your citizenship.”

Mexican-born Rosaura Sanchez Kovats, a session attendee from Merced, has waited 37 years to file–since getting her permanent green card in 1980.

“My daughters finally convinced me to do it,” said Kovats. “I want to avoid any problems visiting my family in Mexico. I’m afraid of being questioned now with what’s happening.”

To prepare for an interview, USCIS Officer Zhang advised focusing study time on…

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