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Tips for Naturalization (US Citizenship) Applications

 

  1. You must be eligible to apply for naturalization. 

If you are not eligible, not only will your application be denied, depending on your circumstances, you might lose your permanent residence (green card) status. For information on who is eligible to apply for naturalization visit Who is Eligible for Naturalization.

 

  1. English Language requirement

You must be able to read, write and speak basic English.

 

  1. Exemption for the English Language Test

50/20 Rule

  • If you are 50 years old, and have lived in the US as a green card holder for at least 20 years, you may not have to take the English test. You must still take the civics test, but you may take it in your native language.

55/15 Rule

  • If you are 55 years old, and have lived in the US as a green card holder for at least 15 years, you may not have to take the English test. You must still take the civics test, but you may take it in your native language.

 

  1. Medical Exception to the English Language and/or Civics (US History & Government) Test

If you have one of the following conditions, you may be eligible for an exemption of the English language, and or, civics test requirements:

  • Physical Disability
  • Developmental Disability
  • Mental Impairment

For these conditions, you must prove that the condition has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months.  You need evidence from your doctor to explain how your disability or impairment prevents you from learning English. For an exemption from the civics test, you must prove that the disability or impairment prevents you from learning the information needed to pass the test.

 

  1. Children

Be sure to list ALL your children, even children who do not live in the US, or who do not live with you. If did not list all your children on forms you have already filed with the Immigration Service (USCIS), you will need to explain why you did not list them on an earlier form.

 

  1. Child Support

If you have children under 21, who do not live with you, provide evidence that you provide financial support for each child.  Also, provide evidence, such as copies a child support or government order, and show how you have followed the order. This could include documents such as:

  • Cancelled checks or money order receipts;
  • Government documents showing child support payments
  • Evidence that your wages have been garnished
  • Notarized letter from the person who cares for your children

 

  1. Trips Outside the US for 6 Months or Longer

If you have been outside the US for 6 months or longer after becoming a green card holder, you should provide evidence that you continued to intend to live in the US during the entire time you were outside the US, such as;

  • You continued to have employment in the US
  • Your close relatives remained in the US
  • You maintained a residence in the US

 

  1. Selective Service
  • If you are a man between the ages of 18 and 26, you must provide proof that you registered with the Selective Service.
  • If you are age 26 or older and required to register with the Selective Service, but did not register, you must explain why you did not register. You will also need a status information letter from the Selective Service. For more information on Selective Service registration click on sss.gov.

 

  1. Arrests/Convictions – Anywhere in the world, for any reason
  • If no charges were filed, you must provide proof that your case was ended by the court.
  • If charges were filed, you must provide evidence of what happened with the charges.
  • If you have had any arrests or conviction vacated, set aside, sealed, expunged or in any way removed from your record, you need to provide a statement from the court that there is no record of your arrest or conviction.

Please Note:

  • You must provide the above evidence even if a judge, government officer or lawyer told you that you no longer have a record, or that you do not have to disclose the arrest/conviction.
  • You must provide evidence of traffic violations if:
    • The incident involved alcohol or drugs; or
    • The incident led to an arrest; or
    • The incident seriously injured another person

 

  1. Forms and Filing Fees Can Change
  • Be sure to use the most up-to-date version of the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400).
  • Be sure to pay the correct filing fee. Visit the Immigration Service website to make sure you use the correct form and pay the correct filing fee.

http://www.syracuseimmigration.com/daly/1638-2/

Tips for the LGBT Community on Immigration Matters post-2016 Elections

 

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Tips for the LGBT Community on Immigration Matters post-2016 Elections

Prepared from information provided by the LGBT Committee of the MN/Dakotas chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Marriage equality is the law of the land. The Supreme Court is unlikely to reconsider the Windsor and Ogbergefell decisions that grant the right to marry to same-sex couples. At least not right away, although this may change in the future.  The following tips provide suggestions that may help you prepare for future changes in the law.

Please note:  These tips are not intended as legal advice.  They provide general information, but do not substitute for legal advice from an experienced immigration lawyer who is familiar with the facts of your case. To be sure that you are eligible to file an immigration application, we strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment for a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer before you file.

  1. Consider legal marriage as something that is distinct from wedding planning. This means, if you are planning to marry, you may want to consider getting legally married as soon as possible in a civil marriage ceremony. You may chose to hold religious ceremonies, or other celebrations later.  If marriage equality goes away, it will most likely begin with denying the right to those who are not yet married.
  1. If you are not married, or if marriage protections are taken away from same-sex couples, consider the following non-marriage protections:
  •  Power of attorney for finances
  •  Power of attorney for health care
  •  Designation of beneficiaries on insurance, 401(k) and other policies
  •  Update your will to ensure your spouse has a legal claim to your assets
  1. If you are a same-sex couple with children, consider co-parent adoptions to ensure joint parental rights.
  1. If you are a married bi-national same sex couple, consider what your immigration options are in the country of the non-US citizen or non-US permanent resident spouse.
  1. Most petitions and applications for immigration benefits are decided under the law in place at the time of filing.  You may want to consider filing any of the following as soon as you possibly can. Make sure that you are eligible before you apply:
  • I-130 petitions based on marriage to a US citizen or Green Card holder.
  • Applications to extend your status, especially if your status is based on your
  • Marriage (including, but not limited to, F-2, J-2, H-4, L-2, etc.)
  • Adjustment of status (Green Card) applications based on your marriage
  1. If you have a Green Card and you are married to a US citizen, consider filing for naturalization as soon as you are eligible. You must be a green card holder for at least three years if you are married to the US citizen who sponsored you for your Green Card. Make sure that you are eligible for naturalization before you apply.
  1. If you filed for immigration benefits under DACA, this program is likely to end. DACA benefits do not provide protection other than a temporary stay of removal and temporary permission to work in the US.
  1. Be aware of “notarios” and other non-lawyer immigration service providers. Many are well-intentioned, but others are not. If you apply for something that you are not eligible for, or you file an application that contains inaccurate, or false information, your application may be denied.  Even worse, you may not be able to file immigration applications in the future.

Please contact us at office@syracuseimmigration.com  or 315-333-2424, if you would like to schedule an appointment for an immigration consultation with an attorney in our office. You may also contact us at http://www.syracuseimmigration.com/daly/contact-us/

 

Naturalization Interviews in Syracuse NY

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Naturalization Interviews in Syracuse NY

Naturalization interviews are now held  at the USCIS  Satellite Office office in Syracuse NY for applicants in the following counties: Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego, Schuyler and Tompkins. Some naturalization applicants may still need to go to Buffalo NY for their interview. Green Card applicants must still travel to Buffalo for an interview.

 

Be sure to bring the following to your naturalization interview.

  1. Original interview appointment letter
  2. Government issued ID such as a passport, valid driver’s license, Green Card
  3. Application documents
    • copies of all forms filed
    • filing receipts
    • copies of all documents you filed with your application

Reminder:  The filing fee for an application for naturalization (including fingerprinting fee) will increase from $680  to $725 on December 23, 2016.  If you would like help from the attorney’s in our office to determine whether you are eligible to apply for naturalization, please contact us at syracusesimmigration.com

Apply Now for Naturalization?

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Apply Now for Naturalization?

 

 Three good reasons to apply for naturalization (US citizenship) now.

 

  1. US citizenship is a more permanent status than permanent residence ( green card holder). In certain circumstances green card holders may lose their status. For more information on how this can happen see Permanent Residence.
  2. Once you are a US citizen, you may apply for a US passport. A US passport may simplify international. It will also allow you to spend time outside the US without the need to keep track of your absences for purposes of naturalization. Before you can apply for US citizenship you must be a permanent resident for five years (three if your green card was based on marriage to a US citizen). Make sure that you are eligible for US citizenship before you apply. For more on the requirements of  US citizenship see Naturalization.
  3. Naturalization application filing fees will increase on December 23, 2016 from $680 to $725.

If you would like our attorneys to help you apply for naturalization, please contact our office at 315-333-2424 or office@syracuseimmigration.com.

 

Certificate of US Citizenship – Proof of US Citizenship

 

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Certificate of US Citizenship – Application Fee to almost double on December 23, 2016.

Were you born outside the US to a US citizen parent? Did one of your parents become a naturalized citizen before you turned 18?  If you can answer “yes” to either of these questions you may be a US citizen.

Read the information below to see if you might already be a US citizen.  Please note that this can be a complicated determination. You should not claim to be a US citizen without enough proof.  There are serious penalties for claiming to be a US citizen when you are not actually a citizen, including a permanent ban on filing immigration applications. To schedule a consultation with our office for help on this issue, click on contact us.

The application fee to file an application for a certificate of citizenship will  almost double on December 23, 2016. This fee will go up from $600 to $1170.  If you are eligible to file an application for a certificate of US citizenship, read the information below.

Most people become a US citizen by birth in the US, or by applying for naturalization after being a green card holder for five years (three years in the case of a green card based on marriage to a US citizen).  Some people become a US citizen at birth, or may become a US citizen based on the naturalization of a parent before the child turns 18. The laws about who qualifies to be a citizen are complicated and change over time.  The information that follows provides a general outline of the requirements for acquiring or deriving US citizenship from a US citizen parent.  If you think you may already be a US citizen, it will be important to meet with an immigration lawyer to help you decide if you should apply for a Certificate of Citizenship to prove that you are a US citizen.

There are two ways to become a US citizen.

  1. Birth in the US
  2. Birth outside the US to US citizen parent(s)
  • Depending on the law in place at the time of your birth, if you were born outside the US to US citizen parents you may have become a US citizen at birth
  • If your US citizen parent naturalized before you turned 18, you may have become a US citizen at the time your parent became a naturalized US citizen.

Birth Outside the US to US citizen parent(s)

  • One or both parents must be US citizens
  • Your US citizen parent must meet the US residence requirements that were in place at the time of your birth
    • “Residence” means principal dwelling place (where your parent lived)
  • If only one parent was a US citizen at the time of your birth, whether they were married at the time of your birth may affect the determination on whether you became a US citizen at your birth

Naturalization of US citizen parent

  • Your US citizen parent became a naturalized citizen before you turned 18
  • You are the biological child of your US citizen parent
  • You must be lawfully admitted to the US for permanent residence (a green card holder)
  • You must be living in the legal and physical custody of your US citizen parent
  • If you are living outside the US different rules apply

Adopted Children may also become US citizens through a US citizen parent. This depends on the date of your birth and the laws in place at time you turned 18

Immigration Application Fees to Increase 12/23/2016

gallery-thumbnailsUSCIS Imigration Application Filing Fees will increase on December 23, 2016. If you are thinking about filing an immigration application, and you are eligible, file now before the fee increase.  Any application filed or postmarked on December 23, 2016 must include the new fee, or it will be returned by USCIS.

To find out if you are eligible to file an immigration applcation, or for help with an immigration issue click on Contact Us

Some of the filing fee amounts will increase by a large amount.  The list below includes some, but not all, of the forms that will require a larger filing fee on 12/23/2016.

Family Immigration Applications

Application/Petition New Fee Old Fee
Fiancé(e) Petition, Form I-129F $460 $325
Relative Petition, form I-130 $535 $340

 

Employment Immigration Applications

Application/Petition New Fee Old Fee
Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129 $460 $325
Immigrant Worker, Form I-140 $700 $580

 

Green Card Applications (in the US)

Application/Petition New Fee Old Fee
Adjust Status to Permanent Resident (green card holder),

Certain applicants under age 14

$1140 + $85 Biometric fee

Total = $1225

$750

$985 + $85 Biometric fee

Total = $1070

$635

Remove Conditions on Residence, Form I-751 $595 + $85 Biometric Fee

Total = $670

$505 + $85 biometric Fee

Total = $590

 

Citizenship Applications

Application/Petition New Fee Old Fee
Naturalization, Form N-400 $640 + $85 Biometric fee

Total = $725

Certain low-income applications may qualify for a reduced fee

$595 + $85 Biometric Fee

Total = $680

Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-600 $1170 $600/$550

 

Miscellaneous Applications

Application/Petition New Fee Old Fee
Extend/Change Nonimmigrant (Temporary) Status $370 $290
Waiver of Ground of Excludability, Form I-601

 

$585 $930
Provisional Waiver of Unlawful Presence, Form I-601A $630 $585
Employment Authorization, Form I-765 $410 $380
Travel Document, Forms I-131 & I-131A $575 $360

For a complete list of the new fees click on New Immigration Fees

Renewing Green Card While Applying for Naturalization

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Renewing Green Card While Applying for Naturalization

Do I Need to file an application to renew my green card after I have filed my application for naturalization (US citizenship)?

According to the most recent information from USCIS, if your existing green card has at least 6 months of validity left on it when you file your application for naturalization, you do not need to file Form I-90 to renew your green card.  In this case, you are eligible to receive a stamp in your passport as temporary proof of permanent residence without filing form I-90.  You may request this stamp by making an InfoPass appointment with a local USCIS office.  You may make an InfoPass appointment at the USCIS website www.uscis.gov.

 

If your green card will expire within 6 months of filing your application for naturalization, you must file an application to renew your green card by filing Form I-90. To receive a stamp in your passport as temporary proof of permanent residence, you must provide USCIS with an I-90 filing receipt notice.

 

 

In order to avoid the filing fee for an I-90, as long as you are eligible to apply for naturalization, you should file your naturalization application while your green card is valid for at least 6 months.  Please contact our office if you would like more information on eligibility for naturalization.

 

Naturalization Fee Payment

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USCIS announced recently that naturalization applicants may now pay the filing fee for their application , Form N-400, with a credit card.  This is the only  immigration application  fee that may be paid with a credit card.

For information on how to use a credit card to pay the Filing Fee for your application for naturalization see Naturalization Filing Fee .