U.S. Immigration law is complex, and there is much confusion as to how it works. Immigration law in the United States has been built upon the following principles: the reunification of families, admitting immigrants with valuable skills to the U.S. economy, protecting refugees, and promoting diversity.
The body of law governing current immigration policy is called The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Once a person obtains an immigrant visa and comes to the United States, they become a lawful permanent resident (LPR). In some circumstances, noncitizens already inside the United States can obtain LPR status through a process known as “adjustment of status.”
Lawful permanent residents are foreign nationals permitted to work and live lawfully and permanently in the United States. LPRs are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. It is impossible to apply for citizenship through the normal process without first becoming an LPR, which is minutely taken care of by the immigration attorneys near you.
Each year, the United States also admits a variety of noncitizens temporarily. Such “non-immigrant” visas are granted to everyone from tourists to foreign students to temporary workers permitted to remain in the U.S. for years. While certain employment-based visas are subject to annual caps, other non-immigrant visas (including tourist and student visas) have no numerical limits.
They can be granted to anyone who satisfies the criteria for obtaining the visa. Get your Free consultation from Gehi & Associates- Highly experienced Immigration Attorneys in New York. Congratulations on deciding to immigrate to the United States!
Before you begin your immigration journey, you’ll need to understand what the process involves, and get the best pieces of advice from the top immigration lawyers in NYC. To permanently move to the United States, you must meet specific requirements, pay government fees, and have your application approved by the U.S. government.
That can be complicated and expensive, so knowing what lies ahead is important. In today’s difficult immigration times, anyone eligible for U.S. citizenship must apply as soon as possible. An individual can become a U.S. citizen either by birth or through naturalization.
A naturalized person is an individual who is not born in the U.S. but acquires citizenship through the application. In American society, being a U.S. citizen provides some benefits. As a U.S. citizen, a person can vote, sponsor relatives, and is entitled to social security and welfare benefits; also, unlike permanent residents, citizens cannot be deported, even if they are charged with a serious crime, under most circumstances.
If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth or acquire U.S. citizenship automatically after birth, you may still be eligible to become a citizen through naturalization.
WHAT FORMS DO I NEED TO FILL OUT TO BEGIN THE NATURALIZATION PROCESS?
|Are you 18 years of age and older?
|Have you acquired citizenship from your parent(s) while you were under 18 years of age?
|Are you an adopted child who acquired citizenship from your parent(s)?
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR NATURALIZATION?
The basic requirements for naturalization are as follows:
- You are at least 18 years old and be a permanent resident;
- You should have resided in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for five years continuously before you file for naturalization. This period is reduced to three years if you are married to and living with the same U.S. citizen spouse who petitioned for you for at least three years as a permanent resident;
- You must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least half of that 5 or 3-year period;
- You have to demonstrate that you are a person of good moral character;
- You must present a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government knowledge;
- You must show that you can read, write, and speak simple English;
- Finally, it would be best if you pledged allegiance to the U.S. government.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE “GOOD MORAL CHARACTER”?
Good moral character is an essential requirement for naturalization. Specific actions, such as illegal gambling, prostitution, failure to pay your taxes, lying to immigration officials, problems with drugs or alcohol, or being in arrears with your child support payments, may make it challenging to prove good moral character.
Parking tickets or minor offenses do not usually disqualify an applicant, but repeated convictions for minor violations might. Having a criminal record can make the process a bit more complicated, but it does not mean you will be automatically denied. Sometimes, people with criminal records fail to apply for citizenship because they believe that they are ineligible.
It is a misconception that a person who has been charged with a crime cannot become a citizen. A person may be eligible for citizenship, even if they have been accused of a crime in certain instances. If you have a criminal record, it is recommended that you contact an experienced immigration attorney for advice before filing your naturalization application.
IF I HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME, BUT MY RECORD HAS BEEN LEGALLY ERASED, DO I NEED TO INDICATE THAT ON MY APPLICATION OR INFORM AN IMMIGRATION OFFICER? Yes, you should always be honest with Immigration regarding the following:
- Arrests (including those by police, Immigration Officers, and other Federal Agents);
- Convictions (even if they have been erased/expunged); and,
- Crimes you committed for which you were not arrested or convicted.
Even if you have committed a minor crime, Immigration may deny your application if you do not mention any previous incidents to the Immigration Officer. You must inform Immigration about any arrests, even if someone else has advised you that you are not required to do so.
WHERE DO I FILE MY NATURALIZATION APPLICATION?
You should send your completed Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) or appropriate naturalization form to the proper United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Service (USCIS) Center.
HOW CAN I PAY MY APPLICATION FEE?
You must send your fee with your application. Remember that your application fee is not refundable even if you withdraw your application or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies your case. You must pay your application fee with a check or money order drawn from a U.S. bank in U.S. dollars, payable to the “USCIS.”
DO I HAVE TO GO FOR AN INTERVIEW OR TAKE AN EXAMINATION AS PART OF THE NATURALIZATION PROCESS?
Yes. Each naturalization applicant must undergo an interview with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). At the interview, you will be asked questions about your application for naturalization and background. Every applicant must then examine, which will test their knowledge of the English language, and a civics exam to test their understanding of U.S. history and government.
WHERE CAN I BE FINGERPRINTED?
After the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received your application, they will notify you of the location where you should report to get fingerprinted.
WILL UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (USCIS) PROVIDE SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS FOR ME IF I AM DISABLED?
Some people with disabilities need special consideration during the naturalization process. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will make every effort to make reasonable accommodations in these cases. For example, if you use a wheelchair, they will make sure your fingerprint location is wheelchair accessible.
You may do so if you are hearing impaired and wish to bring a sign language interpreter to your interview. Asking for a unique accommodation will not affect your eligibility for naturalization. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes decisions about making such accommodations on a case-by-case basis.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO BECOME NATURALIZED?
The time it takes to become a citizen varies from one local office to another.
HOW DO I DETERMINE THE STATUS OF MY NATURALIZATION APPLICATION?
The receipt notice you will receive from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will provide you with the approximate time it will take for them to process your case. If you have NOT been scheduled for a naturalization interview, you can visit the local office having jurisdiction over your claim to inquire about the status of your application.
CAN I REAPPLY FOR NATURALIZATION IF THE UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (USCIS) DENIES MY APPLICATION?
In most cases, you may reapply for citizenship if the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies your application. If you reapply, you will need to complete and resubmit a new Application for Naturalization (N-400) form and pay the fee again. You will also need to have your fingerprints and photographs retaken.
If your application is denied, the denial letter should indicate the date you may reapply for citizenship. If you are denied because you failed the English or civics test, you may reapply for naturalization any time after your denial. You should reapply whenever you believe you have learned English or civics well enough to pass the test.
WHEN DID/DOES MY TIME AS A PERMANENT RESIDENT BEGIN?
Your time as a Permanent Resident begins on the date you were granted permanent resident status. This date will be printed on your Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as an Alien Registration Card).
IF THE UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (USCIS) GRANTS ME NATURALIZATION, WHEN WILL I BECOME A CITIZEN?
You become a citizen as soon as you take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. In some places, you can choose to take the Oath the same day as your interview. If that option is not available or if you prefer a ceremony at a later date, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will notify you of the ceremony date with a Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony (Form N-445).
HOW DO I REGISTER WITH SELECTIVE SERVICE?
Selective Service registration allows the U.S. Government to maintain a list of names of men who may be called into military service in case of a national emergency requiring rapid expansion of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Selective Service can ensure that any future draft will be fair and equitable by registering all young men.
Federal law requires that at least 18 years old but not yet 26 years old be registered with Selective Service. This also includes all male non-citizens within these age limits who permanently reside in the U.S. Men who are lawful permanent residents must register. Men cannot register for the Selective Service after reaching the age of 26.
WHY DO I NEED TO REGISTER WITH THE SELECTIVE SERVICE?
Failure to register for the Selective Service may (in certain instances) make you ineligible for certain immigration benefits, such as citizenship. Given the current challenges facing those seeking United States citizenship, it is strongly recommended that everyone interested in doing so should consider becoming a citizen as soon as they become eligible.
Please note that several conditions must be met to be considered a naturalized United States citizen. A variety of significant benefits await all who become United States citizens. If you are a United States citizen, you will not be deported, even if you are charged with a serious crime (in most cases).
Additionally, becoming a citizen gives you the right to vote, become eligible for Medicaid, sponsor relatives, etc. Book your Free Personal Consultation at Gehi & Associates NOW and let our experience be your guide!