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.

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 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