Category Archives: Citizenship

Blog 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.

USCIS Fee Increases Effective December 23rd

uscis fee increasesEffective December 23, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will increase the fees that must be submitted with the majority of its immigration forms. The USCIS fee increases, which were finalized in an announcement yesterday, can be found in a final rule published in the Federal Register. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include these new fees or USCIS will reject your submission.

During the early summer of 2016, USCIS announced fee increases would be coming. The USCIS fee increases became official yesterday. Fees increased by a weighted average of 21 percent for many forms. While fees for some forms increased only modestly, fees for other forms such as Form N-600 ballooned by 95 percent. Continue reading

How to Become a U.S. Citizen

Resources for permanent residents to overcome barriers like money, age, language, and civics knowledge.

how to become a us citizenIf you’ve put off naturalization because you think it’s too difficult or too expensive, think again. Provisions in the law and numerous free resources are making it easier than ever to become a U.S. citizen.

CitizenPath published a free guide for permanent residents that want to become U.S. citizens through the naturalization process. The free guide includes 44 pages of tips and valuable information about the naturalization process. It even includes 100 sample test questions and a necessary vocabulary list. Continue reading

3 Practical Benefits of U.S. Citizenship

benefits of us citizenshipProponents of U.S. citizenship will often point out the patriotic and emotional benefits of naturalization. These are all valid reasons, but naturalizing as a U.S. citizen is just downright practical for permanent residents.

Individuals with lawful permanent resident status (green holders) often weigh the value of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. Many are satisfied with the ability to live and work in the United States, but many others want more. The Constitution and laws of the United States give many rights to both citizens and non-citizens living in the United States.

There are several rights and privileges afforded only to U.S. citizens, but consider these three practical benefits of U.S. citizenship: Continue reading

USCIS Lost My Application

uscis lost my applicationUnfortunately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is no different than any other massive government organization – they are heavily burdened with a large workload and aren’t the most efficient organization. In fact, several agencies make up the overall immigration system. Consular offices, Department of State and the National Visa Center all play a role. Over 6 million forms are filed with USCIS each year alone. Even if you’ve used our tips for preparing USCIS forms, it’s not uncommon for these agencies to lose parts of your application package or even the whole thing. But there are some preventive measures so that you don’t have to call us to say, “USCIS lost my application!” Continue reading

Travel Abroad Affects N-400 Citizenship Eligibility

Travel Abroad Affects N-400 EligiibilityWhen applying for U.S. citizenship via naturalization, English and civics tests get much of the attention. But permanent residents often do not understand how travel abroad can affect their eligibility for naturalization.

Two related but separate requirements, continuous residence and physical presence, must be satisfied for one to be eligible to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Excessive travel abroad can adversely affect eligibility. Excessive travel can include one long trip or the accumulation of several trips over the period that precedes your admission as a U.S. citizen. Continue reading

Cost of Citizenship is Less Than You Think

3 Ways to Beat the Cost of Citizenship before the Price Increase

cost of citizenship for new americansOne of the common reasons permanent residents don’t apply for U.S. citizenship – cost. It presently costs $680 to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. That’s a lot of money. And the cost of citizenship is about to increase.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it intends to increase the cost to file several forms. USCIS budget isn’t funded by tax payers. Instead, it operates on income generated from the forms that you are forced to file. When their operational costs increase, that cost gets pushed to the immigrant paying for services. The cost to file the N-400 form will increase from Continue reading

5 Common Reasons Form N-400 Denied

form n-400 denied uscisU.S. citizenship is perhaps the greatest benefit any immigrant can receive. It is often the pinnacle of a long journey over many years and many miles. Over 2.3 million permanent residents have naturalized as U.S. citizens in the past three years.

However, during the same period, over 224,000 permanent residents had their Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, denied. There are many reasons for this — so we took a look and found five common reasons for a continuation or denial of a Form N-400 application. Continue reading

USCIS Receipt Number Explained

USCIS Receipt Numbers ExplainedAfter 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-797, Notice of Action, within approximately 1-2 weeks. The I-797, Notice of Action, is commonly known as a receipt letter.

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

us citizenship with an expired green cardYou’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.

The USCIS fees to renew a green card are currently $450. Then, the USCIS fees to apply for naturalization are currently $680. That’s $1,130 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. Continue reading

Applying for Citizenship Through Marriage

Applying for Citizenship through MarriageSpecial rules in U.S. law allow permanent residents applying for citizenship through marriage to become naturalized in just three years. Most permanent residents must live in the United States for a minimum of five years before applying for citizenship. However, the spouse of a U.S. citizen who resides in the United States may be eligible to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, on the basis of his or her marriage after just three years.

Section 319(a) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) describes the special provisions for the spouse of a U.S. citizen living in the United States. The spouse must have continuously resided Continue reading