Category Archives: Immigrant Life

Blog articles in this category include information about immigrant life in the United States.

Credit-Building Guide for Immigrants

How New U.S. Immigrants with No Credit Can Establish Good Credit

Credit building advice for immigrants with no creditIf you’ve just relocated to the United States, your financial history gets a fresh start too. For some, that might be a good thing. Unfortunately, it makes getting established very challenging. Immigrants with no credit history in the U.S. will find it difficult to rent an apartment, buy a car, or even get a cellphone plan. It’s necessary to build a credit history before you can make any major purchases that require a loan.

Even if you had an excellent credit history in a previous country, that record cannot be transferred to the United States. U.S. credit reports only contain information on U.S. lenders and creditors. However, with a little work immigrants with no credit can establish good credit in just a few months. Continue reading

How to Find an Immigration Lawyer

find an immigration lawyerThe U.S. immigration system can be overwhelming. CitizenPath is the leading online service for helping you prepare USCIS forms. Our service was created by lawyers, but we are not a legal service. For individuals with more complicated cases, including applicants with a criminal history or immigration violations, we recommend the help of an immigration lawyer. And we want to help you find an immigration lawyer.

You deserve a good lawyer. While the most experienced lawyers tend to be more expensive, there are plenty of skilled immigration lawyers if you know how to find them. Regardless if you’re working with a lawyer in private practice or non-profit, it’s important to find an immigration lawyer that is experienced and can help you navigate the complexity of your case. Continue reading

Health Insurance for Immigrants

Health Insurance for ImmigrantsAffordable health insurance options are available for immigrant families. Whether you’ve recently arrived in the United States or are a long-term permanent resident, the U.S. health insurance market has options for you. In fact, the choices are largely the same as for U.S.-born insured. Unfortunately, 17% of lawfully present, non-citizen immigrants are uninsured according to a recent study. That’s almost twice the rate of uninsured U.S. citizens.

The United States offers some of the highest quality healthcare in the world, but that quality comes at a price. Health insurance is a way to manage the cost of healthcare, keeping it more affordable. Health insurance companies collect premiums and pay out eligible benefits. They help families pay for preventive care like routine check-ups and treatment for illness and injury. Continue reading

The MAVNI Program: Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest

mavni program recruitsAlthough it isn’t a military secret per se, MAVNI is a small and very exclusive program that benefits immigrants and the U.S. military. Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) is a special recruiting program that has been available to certain immigrants interested in joining the U.S. military. Generally, immigrants must be permanent residents to join the military (see Military Enlistment Requirements); once enlisted these green card soldiers can take advantage of expedited citizenship. However, MAVNI allows certain non-citizens in the United States to join the military and thereby gain eligibility for U.S. citizenship without first having to go through the lengthy process of obtaining a green card. Continue reading

Welcome to the United States: Now What About Health Insurance?

ehealth health insurance optionsThe United States isn’t known for its simple and straightforward health care system, but becoming a U.S. citizen provides you with the opportunity to apply for government health insurance subsidies and enroll in a health plan that will help you cover medical costs.

The Affordable Care Act was a 2010 law that reformed the way health insurance works in the United States. It doesn’t really affect you if you get your coverage through an employer or through a government program like Medicare or Medicaid, but if you buy coverage on your own, there are some things you should know about the law. Continue reading

Holidays We Wouldn’t Celebrate Without Immigrants

holidays we wouldn't celebrate without immigrantsAs Americans we sometimes take for granted the holidays that we celebrate. After all, there are so many holidays with various religious and cultural origins. But each holiday begs the question, “For what reason do we celebrate this day?” On so many of these special days, we need to be thanking the immigrants that came before us. For without their willingness to take a risk by leaving one home and venturing to the United States for a new home, we wouldn’t celebrate these holidays. Continue reading

U.S. Taxes and Immigration Consequences

U.S. Taxes and Immigration ConsequencesFor immigrants arriving to the United States, the American tax system can be a very new and confusing concept. In fact, the tax system in the U.S. is so complex that most natural-born Americans have difficulty filing each year.

In the U.S., everyone with income above certain levels is expected to file a tax return. That’s not true in all countries around the world. In many countries, the government withholds taxes from paychecks, and the individual never has to directly file an income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. agency responsible for collecting taxes.

Whether you are a lawful permanent resident or an undocumented immigrant, it’s important that you get a basic understanding of your tax obligations and the consequences of where you pay taxes. Continue reading

LGBT Immigration Rights Have Come a Long Way

LGBT Immigration RightsOver the last several years, LGBT immigration rights in the United States have changed significantly. A progressive cultural environment and several court cases have helped to equalize treatment of same-sex marriage in the U.S. immigration system.

While the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities continue to be persecuted throughout much of the world, LGBT immigration rights have blossomed in the United States. Continue reading

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

Best Way to Send Money Abroad

best way to send money abroad internationallyYour first thought when sending money abroad might be to visit your bank or maybe even the convenience of the services at your local Walmart. In fact, you can find remittance services — funds sent overseas by foreign-born residents — in supermarkets, convenience and drug stores, and stand-alone storefront operations. Today, the variety of options can make it complicated to shop for the best way to send money abroad.

Each year, U.S. households send an estimated $135 billion to families, friends, and others abroad. The United States is the world’s largest source of remittances according to the Government Accountability Office. The graph below illustrates U.S. remittance amounts to the top 10 countries. Continue reading