Category Archives: Citizenship

Immigration Insider articles in this category include information about the many paths to citizenship in the United States and the practical matters when naturalizing as a U.S. citizen with Form N-400.

Proving Your Child’s US Citizenship after Naturalization

Apply for Child Citizenship Act of 2000

The children of naturalized U.S. citizens generally become citizens automatically. In other words, current law extends U.S. citizenship to the permanent resident children of parents that become citizens through naturalization. After filing Form N-400 and being granted U.S. citizenship, the parent can also apply for child citizenship in the form of a Certificate of Citizenship. Even if the parent forgot to file the application for the child, the child may obtain the certificate many years later. If the child is over the age of 18, he or she will have to fill out the form for themselves.

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5 Paths to Citizenship That Most People Don’t Know About

path to citizenship for immigrants

In the vast majority of cases, the path to citizenship in the United States goes through permanent resident status (green card holder). In other words, you generally must become a permanent resident before you can naturalize as a U.S. citizen. Therefore, to discuss the various paths to U.S. citizenship, we must illustrate the different ways to get to green card status.

Most people arrive in the U.S. and become permanent residents through family-based immigration. However, eligibility can also be derived from employment, asylum/refugee status and certain humanitarian reasons. There are even paths to citizenship for certain individuals currently with DACA, TPS or no status (undocumented). After becoming a permanent resident, the majority of citizenship applicants qualify for naturalization based on five years of continuous residence.

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How U.S. Nationals Apply for Citizenship

american citizenship for us nationals

Under current law, the vast majority of people born in the United States and its territories are born as U.S. citizens. But that isn’t true for everyone. Today, individuals born in American Samoa and Swains Island are generally U.S. nationals. Over the course of U.S. history (and depending on the law at that time), some individuals born in U.S. possessions were born U.S. nationals that do not have the same rights, duties and benefits as U.S. citizens.

However, U.S. nationals who wish to become U.S. citizens have a fairly straight forward path. After establishing residence in a U.S. state, U.S. nationals may generally file an application to naturalize as a citizen.

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Trump Administration Pushes for Massive Immigration Fee Increase

uscis immigration fee increase 2019

The next wave of Trump administration policy designed to reduce immigration is here. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed major increases in the immigration fee structure. The USCIS immigration fee increase would nearly double the cost of some applications.

The Trump administration is simultaneously squeezing immigrants with a new public charge rule and changes to the fee waiver rules that make it more difficult for low-income immigrants and their families. To add insult to injury, some of the new fees would go to pay for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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What Happens at a USCIS Naturalization Interview

Naturalization Interview at uscis
How to prepare for your test and interview after filing Form N-400

The naturalization interview is the final obstacle for permanent residents that have filed Form N-400 to become U.S. citizens. Near the end of the N-400 processing time line, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will mail you an appointment notice for the naturalization interview. If everything goes well, you will most likely know if USCIS will grant you U.S. citizenship by the end of the appointment.

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Immigration Papers: Your Proof of Immigration Status

Immigration Papers

It is becoming increasingly important to have proof of your immigration status in the United States. Having immigration papers, documentation or proof of your legal status is essential if you have contact with law enforcement or immigration officials. In the current environment, even natural-born U.S. citizens can run into problems with identification. What’s more, immigration paperwork can be necessary to gain access to many government benefits, secure housing, obtaining driving privileges, just to name a few. Continue reading

Getting Ready for the Naturalization Process

Naturalization Process for US Passport

The naturalization process is the path through which a foreign national can voluntarily become a U.S. citizen. In order to begin the naturalization process, an applicant must first meet several requirements. Then, he or she must file an application for naturalization, attend an interview, and pass an English and a civics test.

Nearly 823,000 permanent residents filed an application to naturalize in the previous 12 months according to USCIS data. In fact, nearly a million people become naturalized U.S. citizens each year.

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USCIS Receipt Number Explained

USCIS Receipt Number Explanation

After you’ve filed almost any application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they will respond by mailing you a Form I-797C, Notice of Action, within approximately 1-3 weeks. (It may take longer to receive the I-797C for some other forms like Form I-751.) The I-797C, Notice of Action, is commonly known as a receipt letter.

For applicants who have incorrectly filed or included the wrong payment, the receipt letter will indicate that USCIS has rejected your case. You will need to refile. If you’ve prepared the form correctly and followed the USCIS directions carefully, the receipt letter will indicate that USCIS has accepted your case. Once the form has been accepted, USCIS will begin reviewing your case.

The receipt letter contains a unique 13-digit receipt number. Also known as a case number, it’s a very important number to help you track the progress of your case or identify a particular immigration filing.

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Apply for Citizenship with an Expired Green Card

conditional green card expired

You’ve decided that it may be time to apply for U.S. citizenship, but you also realize that your green card is expired. You’ve heard that you can’t apply for citizenship with an expired green card. Worse yet, the cost to renew your card and then apply for citizenship is too much.

Currently, the USCIS fees to renew a green card are $540. Then, the USCIS fees to apply for naturalization are currently $725. That’s $1,265 in fees to do both.

For most people, this cost is a barrier to applying for U.S. citizenship with an expired green card. But it’s not mandatory to renew an expired green card before applying for citizenship.

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Certificate of Naturalization Replacement Process

Eligibility to Become a US Citizen through Naturalization
Upon naturalizing as a U.S. citizen at an oath ceremony, new citizens are presented with a Certificate of Naturalization. This is your proof of U.S. citizenship for the purpose of obtaining a U.S. passport and other benefits. If your certificate has been lost, stolen, destroyed, or misprinted with an error, you may need to replace it. Additionally, if you’ve had a legal change in your name or gender, you may need to start the Certificate of Naturalization replacement process.

Although replacing a Certificate of Naturalization is a fairly straight forward process, minor mistakes of oversights can easily derail an application.

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