Sun-ja Lee, a 60-year-old Orange County resident, began studying for her American citizenship examination after she was notified of our interview date.
She contacted the agency that acts as an intermediary to prepare, review and submit necessary immigration documents for citizenship applicants. Soon enough, Lee took a course offered by the agency to prepare for the exam.
“I was looking through my paperwork that they prepared for me and was totally taken aback,” Lee said. “A large part of my documents contained errors. It was amusing how I was registered as an American when I’m applying for an American citizenship!”
Even more amusingly, her agency also made several errors, such as not stating his entire last name and current occupation. Lee said that there were at least 10 errors in her application when she was reviewing it.
“When I first visited the agency, I went with my husband as I thought that they’d need his information,” Lee said. “I was surprised that they didn’t ask many questions to my husband. It’s obviously my fault for not reviewing the paperwork in advance, but I never imagined they would do such a lousy job. I trusted them entirely.”
Lee has decided to consult a lawyer to possibly take legal action against the agency.
As was the case with Lee, error-prone tendencies of citizenship application agencies are rather common.
“There are more than just a few customers who visited our office after they dealt with an agency that messed up their paperwork prior to the interview,” said Hye-shil Kim, who works for Gagopa Service, an agency specializing in preparing various legal documents for customers.
“Some customers even preparing their paperwork from scratch even after contacting agencies or law offices.”
Similarly, 65-year-old La Mirada resident Sook-ja Kim had to overcome a major scare because of an error in her document during the green card interview.
“I heard in advance that green card applications are reviewed more strictly than citizenship applications so I even hired a lawyer to complete my paperwork,” Kim said. “My interviewer was generous with me and was willing to walk me through verifying the error, so I was fortunate to pass.”
All of this makes it that much more important for green card or citizenship applicants to check their documents several times before it is finally submitted.
However, the agent who reportedly assisted Lee with her paperwork said, “I’ve been in this business for a long time and haven’t gotten this kind of complaint, ever. If I did indeed make a mistake, I am willing to refund the $70 fee.”
By Soo Yeon Oh