Apologies for the six-month delay in posting, but I’ve been waiting for my citizenship paperwork to go through, and hoped to be able to write about being a citizen for my next post. Alas, it was not to be. I’m still waiting for the application to work through the system, but can’t delay writing any longer. I have things to say about the naturalization waiting game.
Though my application for citizenship was submitted last August, and seemed (until a few weeks ago) to be moving forward slowly but steadily, it now appears to have taken a step backwards, and I’m feeling quite yanked around by the process. Although she submitted after me, my wife’s application was approved in March, and she became a citizen in April. I know her steady employment record moved her application to the head of the queue, but I feel as if our applications weren’t “that” different, and now, as they only anoint citizenship four times a year, I’m afraid recent application delays will force me to wait until next year to become a citizen.
Add to that the fact that I was hoping not to have to renew my immigration card (and save the €300), and you can see how all of this is weighing on me. But wait, that’s not all. My citizenship application can be negatively affected by irregularities in my GNIB status. And, now, due to changes in how GNIB works, I won’t be able to renew that until a month after my card expires (meaning I’m technically here illegally). If that’s not an “irregularity”, I don’t know what is. So, how will their change in policy, and delay in processing my application, affect my immigration status, and later, impact my citizenship chances?
Yes, this is the perfect storm of immigrant neurosis that’s been in my head lately. I know it’ll get sorted out, and indeed seems to be headed that way, but that’s no consolation when you’re in the midst of the buffeting winds of formalizing your citizenship contract in a new state. You have to play by the rules, but you also have to stand up for yourself enough that you don’t fall through the cracks.
And, for immigrants, who are by definition without any real local leverage, it’s a particularly impotent and frustrating time that calls for massive amounts of patience and tolerance, as you beg, plead, wheedle, and cajole for membership in the club.
Updates to follow.
Dublin, June 2017