One Sleep Until Citizenship!

In January of 1649, Thos Morgan, my great great ..... grandfather, signed the death warrant for King Charles I, an act that in normal times would make him guilty of treason for conspiring against the monarchy.  He ended up fleeing to America, where he changed his last name to Carrier in order to avoid being sent back to England for trial.  Of course, later he married a woman who was tried and hung for being a witch, but that's another story...

Three hundred and sixty two years later, I found myself taking a new job in Australia.  In order to get my work visa, I had to pledge allegiance to the monarchy of the same country that my ancestor fled from so many years ago.  And tomorrow, I'll take the Australian Citizenship Pledge and become a dual citizen.

Besides the physical move, there were a lot of little details involved in getting to this point.  We arrived on a skilled worker visa, which required providing my resume and degree in addition to the lengthy application and employer sponsorship.  That granted me the four year work visa, but we knew after a couple years that we'd want to stay longer and needed to figure out the next step.  

After three years we decided to apply for permanent residency. When we made that decision, we knew we'd want to continue on with citizenship because permanent residency is really only a five year visa and actually makes it harder to move between countries.  The PR application process was even more lengthy than the work visa process.  In addition to the normal application details, we had to provide the last 10 years of address, details for all of our parents and siblings, last 10 years of jobs, and on and on.  We also had to get full medicals including chest x-rays and blood tests from a specific clinic because getting PR meant we were on the Australian public health care system.  
Getting our fingerprints done

We had to get background checks done in both countries, which was easy for Oz but the US one required making an appointment at the one nominated finger printing facility in Melbourne.  Then we had to send them off to the US FBI and hope they came back clean.  I'm sure my parents were relieved to see that we both had clean records.  

After all that our residency was granted and then it was just waiting until we could apply for citizenship.  We had to have PR for a year before we could do that and had to be living in Oz for a minimum of 4 years, so as soon as we had both criteria we applied.  The citizenship application was a lot less invasive, and once that was approved we received our appointments for interviews and to take the test.

Waiting for our appointments made for some interesting eavesdropping - there were several people with dodgy stories who were not allowed to sit for the test.  They seemed to believe us though and we both passed our tests with 100%.  A few weeks later we got letters in the mail approving our applications, and then we just had to wait for our ceremony date.  That was in January, and towards the end of April we got a letter confirming our ceremony for May 31.

So that brings us to tomorrow.  We are both really looking forward to the ceremony and the experience.  Most people don't get the opportunity to become a citizen of another country, and we are very appreciative that we've been able to do that.  Now it's time to practice the song!

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free; We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil; Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross We’ll toil with hearts and hands; To make this Commonwealth of ours Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas We’ve boundless plains to share; With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia Fair. 


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