3 Practical Benefits of U.S. Citizenship That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

new American holding certificate and proud of benefits of us citizenship

Proponents 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. We discuss just three of the practical benefits of U.S. citizenship.

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:

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What You Need to Know about Form I-944 if you are Green Card Applicant

young couple filling out form i-944 declaration of self-sufficiency for green card application

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently added Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency, to the list of requisite forms for most green card applicants. Applicants prepare Form I-944 to demonstrate financial self-sufficiency and remove the public charge ground for inadmissibility. In other words, it is a required form for most people who file Form I-485 to adjust status to permanent resident.

This article provides an overview for filling out Form I-944. For in-depth, step-by-step guidance to complete the form, use CitizenPath’s service to prepare Form I-944. Upon finishing our do-it-yourself service, you’ll receive the fully prepared Form I-944 and filing instructions customized to your answers. The filing instructions provide detailed directions on supporting documents, how to organize your application, and where to mail it.

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What is Form I-797 Notice of Action?

Form I-797 Notice of Action Letter

If you recently received a Form I-797 Notice of Action from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it’s simply a “form” of communication. USCIS uses form numbers to identify various documents.

You may be familiar with applications from USCIS that have a form number. But even documents such as a green card have an official form number (Form I-551). Virtually every document they send you has a form number. This includes letters.

USCIS uses several different types of Form I-797 to communicate with customers or convey an immigration benefit. It has many different purposes. Form I-797 is not a form you can fill out. Nonetheless, Form I-797, Notice of Action, may communicate very important information about your case.

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Acquisition of Citizenship for Children Born Outside the United States

infant holding american flag after acquisition of citizenship

There are fundamentally two ways that a child (under the age of 18) can automatically become a U.S. citizen at birth. It’s common knowledge that a child born on United States soil automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. But a child born outside of the United States can also acquire U.S. citizenship at birth through a U.S. citizen parent. This is known as acquisition of citizenship for children.

A child born outside of the United States generally becomes a U.S. citizenship at birth if that child has at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen, and the U.S. citizen parent meets certain residence or physical presence requirements in the United States prior to the person’s birth. For purposes of this article, the United States includes the 50 states and the territories of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

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How to Respond to a USCIS Request for Evidence (RFE) Correctly

uscis request of evidence letter and envelope

Short of a rejection or outright denial, one of the biggest ways U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) strikes fear into the heart of an applicant is to issue a Request for Evidence. Best known as simply an “RFE,” the USCIS Request for Evidence is a formal request for you to submit more information to support your application. The agency has issued an RFE because they don’t have adequate information to make a favorable decision. Generally, this is because you have failed to include important information on the application or did not support all of the necessary supporting documents.

Take a deep breath. An RFE will generally add a delay to the application processing time and may create some anxiety, but it isn’t an indicator of a pending denial. If you fail to respond, USCIS will likely deny your application. If you respond as directed, you are no more likely to be denied than if you hadn’t gotten the RFE.

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Green Card Renewal Denial Rate Explodes in Recent Years

green card renewal denied

Your chances of having a green card renewal denied are on the rise. In fact, based on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data reviewed, the number of denied applications increased over the last decade. All of this comes when USCIS has increased the fee to renew green cards over 300% in the last 20 years.

After receiving USCIS applications and petitions, USCIS reports that they reject approximately 8% of forms. Then, thousands more green card renewal applications, Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, are denied.

In fiscal years 2016-2017, USCIS denied an average of 30,242 applications per year according to government data. From 2018-2019, that average exploded to 103,140 denials per year. Too many applications are getting denied for unnecessary reasons. When USCIS denies an application, the immigration agency keeps the filing fees and the applicant is denied benefits. If certain immigration violations are exposed in the review process, this can lead to significant legal problems for the applicant.

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Green Card Interview Questions for Spouses

Preparing for your marriage-based immigrant visa consular interview
Couple with consular officer doing a green card interview, reviewing questions for spouses

The consular interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate is an important milestone in your application for an immigrant visa (green card). After all, consular officers use their discretion based on this interview to determine if they will approve your green card application. For marriage-based applications the interview is especially crucial. Knowing what to expect and preparing for possible green card interview questions will help you be ready.

Green card interview questions for spouses tend to dig a little deeper than typical interviews. That’s because marriage is one of the primary ways that fraudulent visas are requested. Immigration officers want to verify that you have a bona fide marriage. That’s it. The officer will ask additional questions to help determine if your marriage is the real deal.

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Failing to Register for Selective Service

How failing to register for Selective Service creates a problem for men filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization

n-400 failing to register for selective servicePermanent resident men are commonly surprised when they stumble upon Question 44 in Part 12 of Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

Men between the ages of 18 and 26 are expected to register for the Selective Service and provide proof for the purposes of naturalizing as a U.S. citizen. But how does failing to register for selective service affect one’s eligibility for naturalization? Will Form N-400 be denied if the applicant has not registered? There are numerous questions that this article addresses based on a review of the USCIS policy manual. Continue reading

7 Steps to Apply for a Green Card from Outside the United States

Newly issued green card

There are two fundamental ways to apply for green card (permanent resident status). Foreign nationals, who meet certain criteria, may be eligible to apply from within the United States through a process called adjustment of status. But the majority of foreign nationals apply from outside the United States at a U.S. embassy or consulate. This is known as consular processing.

This article provides an overview of the immigrant visa (green card) application process for consular processing. Although other categories take a similar path, this overview discusses the steps to apply for a green card through the family-based immediate relative and family preference categories. Before one can start, you’ll need to know that you have a qualifying relationship to apply for a green card through family.

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Adjustment of Status Through a K-1 Visa Entry

Newlywed couple with do Adjustment of Status through a K-1 Visa Entry

The K-1 visa is for the fiancé of a U.S. citizen to come to the United States for the purpose of marriage. If you entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa, you have 90 days to marry the U.S. citizen from the date of entry. A K-1 visa does not allow the foreign national to stay in the United States for more than 90 days – it can’t be extended. Once married, the foreign national has the option of staying in the United States if he or she files an application for adjustment of status through a K-1 visa entry.

Adjustment of status to permanent resident is an exclusive process to apply for a green card reserved for certain intending immigrants that are physically present in the United States. A K-1 visa holder who has married his or her U.S. citizen fiancé is generally eligible.

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