Category Archives: Path to Citizenship

For many around the world, immigrating to the United States is the American dream. Blog articles in this category include information about the many paths to U.S. citizenship.

How the Green Card Renewal Process is Sucking You Dry

Green Card Renewal Process is Sucking You DryLast month U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it would be increasing the fee on the green card renewal process by an additional $90. Each and every time you need to renew or replace a green card, you’ll soon pay $540 in USCIS filing fees. However, you have until December 23, 2016, to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, and beat the fee increase.

The permanent resident card, best known as a green card, is your tangible proof that you are a lawful permanent resident in the United States with unique rights and privileges. If you’re stuck without a valid, unexpired green card, you could run into serious problems. But maintaining it incurs a cost. There is a better way. 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

Expired Green Card Creates 4 Big Problems

CBP officer holds an expired green cardMany people are carrying an expired green card right now. Because you don’t use your card everyday, it’s easy for an expired green card to go unnoticed. By law, permanent residents must carry a valid green card at all times. But in practice, this rarely happens and is rarely enforced by the U.S. government.

When a green card expires, it’s natural to procrastinate before renewing it. After all, the USCIS fee to renew or replace a green card is currently $450 (and will increase soon). That’s a lot of money for anyone. But an expired green card does have consequences that can be even more costly. 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

Family Based Green Card Application

Family Based Green CardThe steps to obtain a family based green card — officially known as a permanent resident card — vary based on the qualifying family relationship and where you live (inside the United States or outside).

If you would like to petition (sponsor) a family member for a green card or you are a foreign national that wants to permanently move to the United States, this article provides a basic overview of the eligibility categories and family based green card process. Continue reading

Reasons for a Green Card Application Denial

Common reasons why a family-based application for permanent residence may be denied by USCIS

Green Card Application DenialEach year thousands of people are approved for permanent resident status in the United States. Permanent residence is symbolized with a card, most commonly referred to as a green card. But thousands also get their green card application denied. There are several possible factors for a green card application denial. The reasons vary from no basis for eligibility to grounds of inadmissibility to failure to properly deal with the application requirements.

Each year an estimated 8-11% of green card applications are denied. In fiscal year 2015, data shows that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received a total of 768,641 petitions for alien relatives (Form I-130), but also denied 77,903. 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

4 Paths to Legal Status for Undocumented Immigrants

4 Paths to Legal Status for Undocumented ImmigrantsSeveral million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. received a stunning blow last week when the Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision effectively killed President Obama’s new deferred action plans. The immigration actions known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expanded version of the already successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) appear to be hopelessly frozen.

For undocumented immigrants, the clear goal is a path to a long-term legal status. These paths to legal status lead to permanent resident status (green card) and U.S. citizenship. Certain immigrants with no legal status may have some paths available. This article covers those options and who could qualify for them. 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