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

Holidays We Wouldn’t Celebrate Without Immigrants

holidays we wouldn't celebrate without immigrantsAs Americans we sometimes take for granted the holidays that we celebrate. After all, there are so many holidays with various religious and cultural origins. But each holiday begs the question, “For what reason do we celebrate this day?” On so many of these special days, we need to be thanking the immigrants that came before us. For without their willingness to take a risk by leaving one home and venturing to the United States for a new home, we wouldn’t celebrate these holidays. Continue reading

The Naturalization Process – Getting Ready

Naturalization Process for US PassportThe naturalization process is the path through which a foreign citizen or 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 287,000 permanent residents filed an application to naturalize in the first three months of 2017. According to USCIS – the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — that’s up almost 15% from the previous year. Continue reading

How to Replace a Lost DACA Card

Replace a Lost DACA CardIt’s probably the first U.S.-government issued identification that you’ve ever had. So losing a work permit from your Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grant can be an exasperating experience. Don’t despair; you can replace a lost DACA card.

It’s important to understand that losing the DACA card, officially known as an employment authorization card, does not mean that you’ve lost your grant of DACA. It’s only a card that proves your deferred action status and authorization to work in the United States.

However, not having the work permit in your possession can create at least two serious 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

30/60 Day Rule: Adjusting Status Too Early

The importance of evidencing your nonimmigrant intent for purposes of an adjustment of status application

Nonimmigrant Visa and 30/60 day ruleU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses a “30/60 day rule” to evaluate a person’s nonimmigrant intent when certain events occur.

For the purposes of an adjustment of status application that’s filed soon after a person enters the United States, USCIS may apply the 30/60 day rule to help determine if the applicant violated the terms of a nonimmigrant visa.

Therefore, if you enter the U.S. in certain nonimmigrant (temporary) visa categories with the blatant intention of applying for permanent residence (green card), USCIS could potentially your deny application.

Meeting the requirements to adjust status isn’t enough. Before you attempt to file an adjustment of status application, be aware of how USCIS will evaluate your intentions. Continue reading

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

Form I-130 Instructions and Preparing the Immigrant Petition

I-130 InstructionsAlthough step-by-step guides through Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, can be helpful, they rarely cover the important topics. And you can find the official set of I-130 instructions on the USCIS.gov website. This overview introduces some of the broader — and critically important —
issues you won’t find in the I-130 instructions. Everybody’s case is unique – there is no simple set of filing instructions for Form I-130.

The relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary (intending immigrant) affects the instructions. As do many other factors such as adoption, step relationships and previous marriages, and immigration history.

Before you blindly fill out an I-130 petition, get to know these issues and how they can affect your relative’s immigration case. Continue reading

Green Card Abandonment: Risks of Travel Abroad

green card abandonmentThere are several ways that you can lose your status as a lawful permanent resident. One of the most common ways is through unintentional green card abandonment. Permanent residents may travel outside the United States. Vacation, family engagements, tourism, business are all legitimate reasons for traveling abroad. However, permanent residents who are absent from the United States for extended periods of time risk abandoning their green cards.

In fact, the risk of green card abandonment is real for any permanent resident whose travel is not temporary in nature. Each year, many green card holders returning from trips abroad find themselves in jeopardy of losing their status because their trips are not clearly temporary in nature. Continue reading