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.

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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Starting the Family-Based Green Card Process

Family Based Green Card

The 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.

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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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DACA Green Card through Marriage

Green Card Marriage for DACA

Since September 2017 the Trump Administration has had a policy to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Although the decision to wind down DACA has been stopped in the courts for now, the future of the program is uncertain. The policy is being challenged in the highest court. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case (McAleenan v. Vidal ) that will likely determine the future for more than 700,000 DACA recipients. This has put a renewed emphasis for many DACA recipients to find other paths to legal status. Obtaining a DACA green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen is one of the most common ways to gain legal status.

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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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Expired Green Card Creates 5 Big Problems

CBP officer holds an expired green card

Many people are carrying an expired green card right now. Because you don’t use your card everyday, it’s easy for an expired 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 $540. 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 Write an I-751 Affidavit Letter of Support

I-751 Affidavit Being Signed

When filing Form I-751 to remove the conditions on residence, the conditional permanent resident also needs to submit evidence that the relationship was entered in “good faith.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wants to confirm that the marriage was not entered into for the purposes of evading immigration laws. Much confusion surrounds the need to submit an I-751 affidavit.

These “letters of support” are statements written by people that know the couple and have first-hand knowledge of the relationship. The I-751 affidavit helps support other evidence that the couple submits to demonstrate that the marriage was entered in good faith and is a not a “sham” marriage. 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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