Citizenship Eligibility Requirements
Before an individual applies for naturalization, he or she must meet a few requirements. Depending on the individual’s situation, there are different requirements that may apply. General requirements for naturalization are below.
- Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing.
- Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least 5 years.
- Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply.
- Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
- Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
Immigration lawyers are committed to helping those seeking visas to gain permanent residency and citizenship in the U.S.
A Visa doesn’t permit entry to the U.S., however. A visa simply indicates that your application has been reviewed by a U.S. consular officer at an American embassy or consulate, and that the officer has determined you’re eligible to enter the country for a specific purpose.
Green Card Marriage
A Green Card Marriage is a marriage of convenience between a legal resident of the United States of America and a person who would be ineligible for residency but for being married to the resident.
Green Card through Marriage Facts
- Permanent residence / green card through marriage can is the fastest way to obtain residency in the US.
- Be aware that these marriage green card petitions are investigated to ensure that the marriage is (legitimate) and that it was not entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits.
- Our firm has specializes in marriage green card petitions. We work with clients who are seeking marriage based green cards and other family visas.
- We have successfully handled hundreds of marriage green card cases and we can guide you through the current policies and prevent delays due to mistakes.
- If both the U.S. Citizen and Foreign National Spouse are in the U.S., the U.S. Citizen may apply for the Foreign National Spouse’s Permanent Residence through Adjustment of Status with the USCIS.
Eligibility for the green card through marriage:
- Any U.S. Citizen in the United States with a Foreign National Spouse who entered the U.S. legally with a visa or a visa waiver.
- It is OK if the visa or I-94 has expired.
- Canadian Citizens are not required to show proof of legal entry.
Probably the most sought after U.S. immigration benefit is obtaining permanent resident status. One of the most common ways an immigrant will get a green card is through the marriage to a US Citizen or permanent resident. Due to a prevalence of people marrying US residents fraudulently for the purposes of obtaining permanent resident status, these marriages are scrutinized by the USCIS to ensure that they are genuine.
As an immediate relative of a US citizen or permanent resident, a foreign spouse has easy access to permanent residency, compared to a non-related foreigner. The process for getting a family based green card for the spouse of a US resident is as follows.
File Petition for Alien Relative
Filing USCIS form I-130 is the first step towards getting an alien resident into the US. This petition establishes the relationship of the alien to a US resident. Additionally, both the alien seeking immigration and the US resident will need to submit details about biographic information. This is done by filling out and submitting form G-325A. Each applicant has the burden of proving the bona fides, i.e. good faith, of the marriage. Therefore, in addition to the submission of the forms, applicants are required to submit evidence of a valid marriage with documents such as birth and marriage certificates, wedding announcements, banking and insurance accounts, joint auto registration, driver’s license and joint credit card statements if available.
Fiancé(e) (K-1 ) Visas
If you petition for a fiancé(e) visa, you must show that:
- You (the petitioner) are a U.S. citizen.
- You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States.
- You and your fiancé(e) are both free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
- You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition. There are two exceptions that require a waiver:
1. If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice.
2. If you prove that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship to you.
Fiancé(e) (K-1 ) Visa Timeline
The entire timeline can vary greatly from person to person. Some attorneys who do a few of these a year might estimate the average at about a year. As of 2017, if you do everything correctly, avoid getting a request for evidence, and aren’t from a high-fraud area, the process is taking on average from 5 to 6 months, from start to finish.
- Notice of Action1: 1 to 3 Weeks
After you file the I-129F, you will get notification that the USCIS has received it (NOA1/Notice of Action 1).
- Notice of Action 2: 3-5 Months Quite likely the most frustrating wait.
This is the time between USCIS receipt and approval. You’ll be notified via NOA2.
- National Visa center Notice: 2-3 Weeks.
When your case moves to the NVC.
- Embassy Phase: 1-2 Months.
When your case moves to the local U.S. embassy.
- Visa Granted: 2-5 Days
- The time after approval until you get the visa in-hand.
Deportation and Removal Hearings
What is Deportation?
Deportation is a formal civil procedure and is not criminal. It is administered under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and results ultimately in an alien being forcibly returned to his country of origin.
Common Reasons for Deportation
There are several general violations of US immigration law that can result in deportation orders:
- Illegal entry into the US
- Those who have been legally admitted into the US but have violated conditions of their admission
- Working in the US without permission
- Criminal charges
- Those who have joined specified banned organizations in the US
There is a long list of other charges that can be brought administratively against an alien which can result in deportation. Consult your unbundled provider attorney to understand your best course of action to fight deportation orders and remain in the US.
How Deportation Procedures Begin
Formal procedures for deportation can start when an agent for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent serves an Order to Show Cause (Form I-221) on the alien. That establishes a date to appear before an Immigration Judge (IJ) to determine the alien’s deportation status. ICE must present clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence to support of any claims that an alien has committed a deportable offense. Even if the Immigration Judge finds the alien removable, the alien can declare an intention to oppose the order and remain in the US.
Those wishing to oppose deportation efforts by ICE can file for a Merits Hearing. Those appearing at a Merits Hearing receive a liberal allocation of time at the hearing to present their defense. They may argue that ICE made an error, or there are other legal grounds to remain in this country. The alien should be proactive at the hearing and come prepared with documents and supporting information for the Merits Hearing.
Relief from Removal
If the Immigration Judge issues a deportation order, an alien can consider whether to apply for relief from that deportation order through one of many categories that can allow the alien to remain in the United States while those opportunities are pursued.
One category is an alien can apply for an adjustment of status relief from deportation. Under this category of relief from deportation, an alien must otherwise be admissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Prosecutorial discretion is an additional category for relief from deportation. An alien who is not a security or public safety risk may appeal for relief from deportation and removal from the US on the basis of prosecutorial discretion.
A third category is a petition for asylum. An alien who can demonstrate fear of personal safety for being returned to the home country, may petition for relief under an asylum category.
There are many other categories of relief from deportation. Your unbundled provider attorney will review your personal circumstances and discuss how best to protect your rights to remain in the US.
Those aliens who conclude that there are no viable legal grounds to oppose deportation may find it in their interest to ask for a Voluntary Removal (VR). If approved, a voluntary removal establishes that the alien admits to being in the US illegally, and promises to depart voluntarily within a certain time frame. This classification of self-deportation allows an alien to avoid having a record of forced deportation. It also opens up the possibility for the VR alien to claim additional defenses and remain in the country.
Get The Guidance You Need to Prevent Deportation
Regardless of the circumstances, there are many pathways to preventing a deportation. Even in circumstances where deportation is warranted, there are many steps that can be taken to postpone these actions for months, and sometimes even years. Your unbundled provider attorney can inform you of your options, and depending on your unique case, can assist you with taking immediate actions to either prevent or postpone a pending deportation.
Information Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service
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