2005 – Moved to Canada
2009 – Applied for Canadian citizenship
2010 – Became Canadian
It took me ten years to become a Canuck so I appreciate my certificate of citizenship (signed personally by Jason Kenney), perhaps more than people who were lucky to be born in Canada.
My co-workers at Daily Planet keep saying “Welcome to Canada” (I mean, what else do you say to someone who just got their citizenship? “Happy Canada Day”? “Happy Canadian Day”?) and my friends ask me “how was it” so this is a post dedicated to the details of the not-so-glamorous process of becoming Canadian.
After I completed my “time” as a permanent resident in Canada, I applied for citizenship. I applied in May 2009 and heard nothing from them until January 2010 that they had started working on my application. And then my permanent resident card expired. I didn’t re-apply because, why would I? I was going to be a Canadian soon. Ah well, not so soon. For almost a year I was passport-less, permanent resident card-less, stuck in Canada, hadn’t shopped at Buffalo, bitter, little immigrant.
And then, one fine day when the sun shone bright… (I actually don’t remember the weather that day) I got a letter telling me to come take my test for Canadian citizenship. Having been to school in Canada, I was confident I would nail it until I discovered how much about the history (and military history) I needed to know. The night before the exam, I studied. The day of the exam, I was irritated to have to wait an hour and a half to write an exam that took me five minutes to complete (the officials had to verify every applicant’s papers – that’s what takes so long).
At the exam they told us it would take 3 to 4 months to get a date for the oath of citizenship but to my pleasant surprise it only took a little over a month.
My swearing in ceremony was on November 30th. A large crowd of people assembled in the ceremony room, most of them Indian and Pakistani – surprise! The judge talked about the importance of being Canadian, encouraged everyone to vote, and learn French, and volunteer. Then we all swore our loyalty to the Queen and her heirs and successors, following which we went up and received our certificates, and took photos with the judge. Then we signed a document confirming we swore our loyalty to the Queen. After everyone was done getting their certificates and signing, we all sang O Canada, loud and proud (at least I sang it loud and proud).
And that, my friends, is how I became Canadian. What am I looking forward to now? My dearest Jean-Francois Taylor said it best on my Facebook wall:
“Roop, you will very soon be a full fledged member of the land of beavers, moose, forests, fresh water, maple syrup, poutine, red and white, hockey, curling, the expression “EH”, beaver tails (mmmmmm), snow, loonies and toonies, gold medals aaaaand the zipper! (Yes, the zipper is Canadian)
Oh oh, last but certainly not least, you will now be able…. to vote!“