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.

Top 7 Questions When Applying for Citizenship

apply for citizenship questionsAre you thinking about applying for citizenship but still have some lingering questions? These are the top 7 questions asked by people getting ready to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization (also known as the U.S. citizenship application).

There are an estimated 8 million permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship but are cautious because of the unknown. It’s a big step. Here’s what many of them want to know. Continue reading

5 Ways to Lose Permanent Resident Status

Ways to Lose Permanent Residence StatusAs the name suggests, permanent resident status is generally constant. It’s granted to people who intend to live in the United States for the foreseeable future. Permanent residents, also known as green card holders, have the privilege of living and working in the United States permanently. However, there are ways to lose permanent resident status. Certain actions can trigger removal (deportation) proceedings and the potential loss of this coveted immigration status.

The article discusses the major ways that one can lose permanent resident status, but it isn’t an exhaustive list. Only a lawful permanent resident who naturalizes as a U.S. citizen is safe from most of these grounds of removal. Continue reading

Top 7 Green Card Renewal Questions

green card renewal questionsPermanent residents use Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, to apply for the replacement or renewal of an existing Permanent Resident Card (green card).

Many permanent residents use CitizenPath to prepare Form I-90. The low-cost, do-it-yourself software was designed by immigration attorneys to make the application easy and help applicants avoid mistakes. Get started for free. Only pay if you’re eligible. Try it now >>

Failing to keep an up-to-date green card can make it difficult to travel internationally or to prove your eligibility for employment in the United States. In fact, an expired green card creates four urgent problems. Continue reading

Derivation of U.S. Citizenship for Children

U.S. Citizenship for ChildrenContrary to popular belief, children (minors under the age of 18) generally cannot become naturalized citizens of the United States. By law, applicants for naturalization must be 18 years of age.

But don’t worry. This means that they cannot file the naturalization application or be included on their parents’ application. Instead, children that meet certain criteria automatically gain U.S. citizenship when a parent naturalizes, a provision in the law known as derivation of U.S. citizenship for children. Continue reading

How to Apply for US Citizenship

How to Apply for CitizenshipIf you’re a permanent resident in the United States, the process to apply for citizenship is fairly straight forward. After confirming your eligibility, there’s a form to file, fee to pay and a citizenship test with the interview. It may sound challenging. But as an immigrant, you’ve already overcome so much more.

The process of applying for citizenship is known as naturalization. It’s the most common way that foreign nationals become U.S. citizens. An estimated 8.8 million permanent residents in the United States are eligible to naturalize right now. It’s easy to remain a permanent resident, but there are significant advantages to becoming a citizen. In a more contentious immigration environment, it helps insulate you from problems down the road. There are also more job opportunities, scholarships for students, and independence from more immigration fees. Continue reading

Tips for Avoiding the I-751 Interview

couple that did not avoid the I-751 interviewIt is possible to avoid the dreaded I-751 interview. No couple wants to visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to be prodded with personal questions about their marriage. What’s more, the stakes are high. If USCIS isn’t convinced that you have a bona fide marriage, the conditional resident’s status may be in jeopardy.

As a matter of law (INA §216) a couple must appear for a personal interview in order for the conditions on residence to be removed. But if USCIS is satisfied that the marriage was not for the purpose of evading the immigration laws, they may waive the interview and approve the I-751 petition. Let’s help you avoid the I-751 interview all together. Continue reading

DACA Green Card through Marriage

Green Card Marriage for DACASince 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. 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.

The DACA program does not provide a direct path to permanent residence (green card). However, certain individuals with DACA can apply for permanent residence in the United States. In other words, under current immigration law, no individual can apply for a green card on the basis of having DACA. There must be some other factor that makes a DACA recipient eligible for a green card. These factors may include marriage to a U.S. citizen, certain employment, and others. The most common scenario, and the focus of this article, is a DACA recipient who marries a U.S. citizen and then wants to adjust status to permanent resident. 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

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

Expired Green Card Creates 5 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 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