Category Archives: Path to Citizenship

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

Getting Ready for the Naturalization Process

Naturalization Process for US PassportThe 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. Continue reading

I-864 Affidavit of Support Sample

affidavit of support reviewSeveral years ago, CitizenPath launched an an innovative, online service to help our customers prepare Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. The online service includes a calculator that helps make Form I-864 easy for anyone to prepare. This article explains how the service works and includes an Affidavit of Support sample created from the CitizenPath software.

Many immigration attorneys consider the Affidavit of Support to be one of the most difficult U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forms to prepare. USCIS routinely rejects Form I-864 or issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) as a result of incorrectly prepared Affidavits of Support. This is significant. That’s because the intending immigrant’s green card application will be denied if the I-864 does not meet the requirements. Continue reading

USCIS Receipt Number Explained

USCIS Receipt Number ExplanationAfter 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

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.

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. Continue reading

Prove a Good Faith Marriage When Filing I-751

prove a good faith marriageWhen filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, a conditional permanent resident (and spouse when filing jointly) must document their good faith marriage.

Even if you are filing with a waiver for the joint filing requirement (rather than jointly with your spouse), you will need to prove that your marriage was genuine and not created to circumvent immigration laws.

If you or your spouse recently became a conditional permanent resident through marriage, now is the time to begin documenting your life together. Don’t wait until it is time to file Form I-751 to prove you have a good faith marriage. 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 the U.S. government allows thousands of people to enter the United States with permanent resident status. Permanent residence is symbolized with a card, most commonly referred to as a green card. But the government also denies thousands of green card applications. 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. What’s more, a new policy broadens the powers of immigration officials to deny applications without first issuing a warning. Continue reading

Filling Out the Application for U.S. Citizenship

Filling Out the Application for U.S. CitizenshipWith 20 pages of questions (and another 18 pages of instructions), filling out the application for U.S. citizenship can be intimidating for many applicants.

Officially known as Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, the majority of applicants can prepare the application without extensive help from an attorney. If you have a straight forward case, you can probably do it yourself.

If you’re ready to tackle the application for U.S. citizenship by yourself, go to the website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at www.uscis.gov/n-400/ to download Form N-400 and the filing instructions.

If you want some extra support and the reassurance that you’re doing everything correctly, Continue reading

5 Common Reasons Form N-400 Gets 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 2.2 million permanent residents have naturalized as U.S. citizens in the past three years.

However, during the same period, over 261,000 permanent residents had their Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, denied. In fact, the number of denials increased in every quarter of fiscal year 2018 under the Trump administration. There are many reasons for this. We’ve compiled a list of the five common reasons for a continuation or denial of a Form N-400 application. Continue reading

Financial Sponsor Needed for a Family-Based Green Card

Financial sponsor needed for family based green cardAn applicant for a family-based green card will need a financial sponsor in the United States before immigrating. Although some new green card holders may be able to find employment immediately and support themselves, the financial sponsor is necessary in case things don’t go as planned.

Every person who immigrates based on a family-based visa petition must have a financial sponsor. Whoever files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a family member (or Form I-129F on behalf of a fiancé) must also agree to be the financial sponsor and file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, when the time comes for the person to actually immigrate to the United States. Continue reading

Long-Term Immigration Solutions for Dreamers

Dreamer Long-Term Immigration SolutionsLast week House Democrats announced a new immigration proposal that would give 2 million dreamers and other immigrants a path to citizenship. The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 would also provide protections for beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure programs. It’s a long-term immigration solution for dreamers and other beneficiaries of programs that the Trump Administration is trying to cancel.

Under the rules of the proposed law, dreamers would generally be able to apply for a 10-year conditional green card if they came to the United States when they were younger than 17 and if they have lived in the country for Continue reading