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

Marriage Green Card: Obtaining Permanent Residence through Marriage

Marriage Green Card ProcessMarriage green card is a common phrase used to describe a permanent resident card obtained through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Permanent residence is an immigration status that allows a foreign national to live and work in the United States permanently. Of course, the permanent resident may choose to naturalize as a U.S. citizen once eligible.

A marriage-based green card can be one of the quickest ways to obtain permanent residence. The marriage alone doesn’t provide any immigration status to a foreign national. But marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is a qualifying relationship for a foreign national to apply for immigration benefits. Continue reading

Credit-Building Guide for Immigrants

How New U.S. Immigrants with No Credit Can Establish Good Credit

Credit building advice for immigrants with no creditIf you’ve just relocated to the United States, your financial history gets a fresh start too. For some, that might be a good thing. Unfortunately, it makes getting established very challenging. Immigrants with no credit history in the U.S. will find it difficult to rent an apartment, buy a car, or even get a cellphone plan. It’s necessary to build a credit history before you can make any major purchases that require a loan.

Even if you had an excellent credit history in a previous country, that record cannot be transferred to the United States. U.S. credit reports only contain information on U.S. lenders and creditors. However, with a little work immigrants with no credit can establish good credit in just a few months. Continue reading

How to Get Status Updates from USCIS

how to get status updates from uscisOnce you’ve filed your application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you probably want to get status updates. Processing of immigration forms and applications can take several months, and USCIS isn’t the most accessible customer service organization.

There are things you can do to minimize the wait and get regular status updates. Properly preparing your form and filing with the correct supporting documents is the best thing that you can do to ensure a short wait. Many people use CitizenPath to prepare USCIS forms because we make it easy and eliminate the problems that can delay your application or petition. We even guarantee that USCIS will accept your application or petition. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we (or anyone) can do to expedite your application or petition with USCIS once it has been submitted.

Here’s what you can do to get the best status updates from USCIS. 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

Step-by-Step Form I-485 Instructions

Intending immigrants who want to prepare Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, face a challenge. The Form I-485 instructions can be extraordinarily intimidating. After all, there are 42 pages of instructions for the green card application. What’s more, other forms are typically filed concurrently as a part of the adjustment of status package. In some cases, an innocent mistake can result in significant delays, long-term immigration problems, or even an I-485 denial.

The consequences of deviating from the I-485 instructions can be significant. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published a policy memo that provides guidance to USCIS officers who make decisions about your adjustment of status application. Continue reading

Green Card Identity Theft

Green Card Identity TheftIf your green card is lost or stolen, you may also be wondering about green card identity theft. Identity theft is a crime in which an impostor obtains personal information, such as a green card or Social Security card, in order to impersonate someone else. By using someone else’s information, the impostor may obtain new credit cards or make unauthorized purchases. What’s worse, the thief may provide false identification to police, creating a criminal record or leaving outstanding arrest warrants for you, the victim of the green card identity theft. Continue reading

Fiancé Visa or Marriage Visa: Which is Better?

Which is the Best Way to Get a Marriage-Based Green Card?

k-1 fiancé visa or marriage visa for green cardWhen a U.S. citizen marries a foreign citizen, there are fundamentally two different ways for the foreign citizen to immigrate to the United States and obtain a green card. The choice — a fiancé visa or marriage visa — can cause confusion for many couples. Each has its own benefits. So what’s best for one couple may not be ideal for another couple’s situation. In making your decision, you’ll need to consider speed of the process, cost, as well as other factors.

Fiancé Visa

The fiancé visa (aka K-1 visa) is a nonimmigrant visa obtained by the foreign fiancé to travel to the U.S. for the purpose of getting married in the U.S. and then adjusting status to a permanent resident (green card holder).

Marriage Visa

The marriage visa (aka CR-1 or IR-1 visa) is an immigrant visa obtained by the foreign spouse while in the foreign country after marriage for the purpose of immigrating to the U.S. to live permanently with the spouse.

Deciding on the fiancé visa or marriage visa is a personal decision. So, the best path for you depends on your specific situation. However, for many couples, the speed of the immigration process is an important factor. Continue reading

Green Card for Your Child’s 14th Birthday

renew green card on 14th birthdayWhen it comes to 14th birthdays, the best gift you can give is a new green card. Perhaps your teenager won’t agree, but there are some beneficial reasons to do so.

After reaching 14 years of age, a lawful permanent resident must register and file Form I-90 (Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card) within 30 days. Though this expense and process is inconvenient to parents, it is an obligation that may be much less expensive if you take care of it right away. Plus, your child may soon want to obtain a driver’s license or get a job. In both cases it’s necessary to have a valid, unexpired green card. Or you and your family can all avoid USCIS fees forever. For parents that are ready to naturalize as U.S. citizens, children automatically become U.S. citizens at the same time.

Application Fee Waived for Some

The USCIS filing fee is waived if Continue reading