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.
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).
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.
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.
When filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a spouse, it’s necessary to submit evidence that you have a genuine, bona fide marriage. This can be challenging for a couple that hasn’t had time to join financial accounts or have children. This I-130 affidavit sample can help provide evidence in lieu of other documents.
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 →
Today, the Department of Homeland Security’s new public charge rule was supposed to go into effect. It will not. Multiple federal judges have issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration’s public charge rule change. If implemented, this controversial policy would make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if it seems like they might need public assistance. Critics see it an attempt to keep out immigrants who are poor or in need of help. But the rule imposes a new burden on even financially self-sufficient applicants. The policy requires most applicants to prepare an additional 18-page form in order to adjust status. This additional step would add to the difficultly and complexity of getting a green card. The court injunctions are a welcome reprieve for intending immigrants and their families. However, the measure may only be temporary. Continue reading →
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 →
It is becoming increasingly important to have proof of your
immigration status in the United States. Having immigration papers,
documentation or proof of your legal status is essential if you have contact
with law enforcement or immigration officials. In the current environment, even natural-born U.S. citizens can run into problems with identification. What’s more, immigration paperwork can be necessary to gain access to many government benefits, secure housing, obtaining driving privileges, just to name a few. Continue reading →
The Diversity Visa Program, better known as the green card lottery, is a United States lottery system that grants up to 55,000 foreign nationals the ability to apply for an immigrant visa number. Most people need a petitioner to make an immigrant visa available. Either a U.S. family member or employer must file a petition that eventually gives the beneficiary the path to a green card. The green card lottery makes immigrant visas available each year to randomly selected individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
About 20 million people enter the green card lottery each year in hopes of getting one of the 55,000 spots. To participate, applicants must Continue reading →