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Posts Tagged ‘application for citizenship’

After having been granted asylum, you move a step closer to qualify to file the citizenship form, N-400. You can adjust your status to a legal permanent resident ( green card holder) with the USCIS one year after being granted asylum. In addition, you can also submit petitions to sponsor your family members (spouse, minor children, and unmarried adult sons and daughters) for legal permanent resident status in the US.

To apply to adjust status, you (the asylee) should prove that you have been physically present in the US for one (1) year after having been granted asylum status and that you remain a refugee (with a “well-founded fear of persecution,” etc.). In addition, you also have to establish the fact that you have not resettled in any foreign country and also that you are not “inadmissible” or warrant a waiver of applicable grounds of “inadmissibility.”

You have to file the following documents with the USCIS to adjust status:

  • Form I-485 and appropriate fee
  • Form G-325
  • 2 passport size photographs
  • Fee for Fingerprinting
  • Evidence of asylee status (copy of I-94 and letter granting asylum or any decision by an Immigration Judge)
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof that you have been living in the US for the last year (such as copy of lease, bills or receipt of government benefits)
  • Valid proof for change of name (if you have legally changed your name since getting asylee status.

Unlike other foreign nationals who have to prove that they are not “likely to become a public charge”, asylees need not do that. Even receiving means-tested benefits such as public assistance or SSI will not prevent you from qualifying for legal permanent residence. Asylees can also request a waiver of the filing fee for the adjustment of status application (Form i-485) if he/she can prove that paying the fee would result in financial hardship.

Once you have filed, you will receive an interview notice along with a medical examination form that you will have to complete per the instructions. In case you had entered the US with fraudulent documents (such as a passport purchased on the black market), you will be required to submit an application for a waiver of inadmissibility by filing Form I-602.

The adjustment of status interview will primarily focus on eligibility for adjustment to permanent residence and not on the underlying asylum claim. Not all asylees who file to adjust status will have interviews. Decisions on some applications at times are made merely on paper.

Citizenship :

A legal permanent resident can submit an application for citizenship (Form N-400) to become a US citizen five years after becoming a permanent resident. Once the adjustment of status application is approved, the date of admission is one year before the date of approval of the adjustment of status application and which means the wait to apply for american citizenship is reduced to four years which is five years for other permanent residents. Citizenship,the highest immigration status in the US has many advantages when compared to permanent residency.

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The U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the government agency that is in charge of the whole immigration process in the United States.

Foreign nationals applying for a visa or green card have to file certain petitions/applications either at the American Consulate abroad or with the USCIS if he/she is in the US. These applications/petitions can be found at the uscis website. In addition to this website, there are many private organizations who have these forms on their website and charge a fee for assisting their users in preparing and filing the applications/petitions. The USCIS is the authority that manages these applications/petitions and makes a decision on these..

Eligible green card holders aspiring to become US citizens have to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. When the USCIS proposed a fee hike for immigration applications/petitions, there was deep concern that there would be a fall in the number of citizenship applications filed. In addition to this, when the USCIS proposed to revise the English and Civics test, many feared that immigrants might be discouraged about upcoming revisions to the U.S. civics test and thought the tests would be made tougher.

Some believed the fee hike for the Naturalization application would prevent many from applying for citizenship. Though the fee was revised for many other petitions/applications, the USCIS did not change the submission fee for the citizenship application.

The submission fee for the citizenship form is $595 and an additional $85 fee is required for biometrics. Applicants must send the fee with his/her application else the US citizenship application will be returned.. Applicants have to pay the fee with a check or money order drawn on a US bank payable to the Department of Homeland Security. While writing, do not use the initials DHS or USDHS. Also note that USCIS does not accept cash.

Applicants residing in Guam should address the fee payable to the “Treasurer, Guam,”and residents of the US Virgin Islands should make the fee payable to the “Commissioner of Finance of the Virgin Islands.”

The $85 Fees for biometric services is separate from the $595 application fee. In a few occasions, the USCIS may also take your photograph and signature as part of the biometric services. Another important point is that ,the submission fee is not refundable even if you voluntarily withdraw your application for citizenship or even if your case is rejected.

Persons applying for naturalization based on their service in the Armed Forces of the United States need not pay the filing fee. Additionally, applicants 75 years or older, or filing on the basis of one’s service in the Armed Forces of the US, or if filing from outside the US, need not pay for biometrics.

Applications not including the submission fee will be returned thus delaying the citizenship process, that normally itself is a lengthier process. So applicants should make sure their application package has the application, the required supporting documents and the submission fee. Also care should be taken to ensure it is mailed to the correct USCIS address. Being careless in these would result in unnecessary delay.

Applicants who cannot afford to pay the submission fee can ask for a “fee waiver” from USCIS. If USCIS grants such request, they will accept the US citizenship application with the applicant not having to pay the fee. If the request is rejected, the USCIS will return the application and he/she has to reapply and pay the fee.

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If you are not sure if you are eligible for file the application for citizenship because of your criminal record, you should consult an immigration attorney who can properly advise you. If you have been convicted of murder or any other aggravated felony, you may be permanently ineligible to get U.S. citizenship immaterial of how long ago the crime was committed. Other types of crimes may result in temporary bars to citizenship. The details of the conviction are very important in making this determination.

Form N-400, the citizenship application asks for information about your criminal record. You have to report your complete criminal record to the USCIS. Failure to do so may also result in a denial of your Application

DUI incidents also have to be reported and it also depends in part on how long ago the offense was committed, whether the applicant has ever committed any other crimes, and whether there are any other factors which may lead USCIS to conclude an absence of “good moral character.”

Applicants should always be honest with USCIS about all:

• Arrests (even if they were not charged or convicted);

• Convictions (even if their record was cleared or expunged);

• Crimes they committed for which they were not arrested or convicted; and

• Any countervailing evidence, or evidence in their favor concerning the circumstances of the arrests, and/or convictions or offenses that the applicant would want the USCIS to consider.

Even if you have committed a minor crime, USCIS may deny your case if you do not tell the USCIS officer about the incident. Unless a traffic incident was alcohol or drug related, applicants need not submit documentation for traffic fines and incidents that did not involve an actual arrest if the only penalty was a fine less than $500 and/or points on the applicant’s driver’s license.

Applicants should enter the complete details of any incident that is branded a crime including the verdict. The USCIS will always do a background check with the FBI on all applicants. If applicants do not put in these details when they apply for citizenship, the USCIS can later try to reject the application claiming that the applicant failed to disclose the truth. So in the best interest, it will be better to put down the details transparently.

Being transparent will give you a better chance to Naturalize. Simple traffic violations are mostly not considered as crime, but there are some exceptions. To know them, you can contact the nearest INS office or the contact the INS at 1-800-375-5283.

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What is a Passport ?

A US passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the passport holder. A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and exit most foreign countries. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to issue or verify United States passports.

How long is it valid?

If you are 16 years or older when the passport is issued, the passport is valid for ten years. If you are 15 years or younger when the passport is issued, then the passport is valid for 5 years.

Where do I Apply?

You can apply for a passport at over 9,000 facilities nationwide that include many Federal, state, and probate courts, post offices, some public libraries, and a number of county and municipal offices. For more urgent cases, there are also 13 regional passport agencies and one Gateway City Agency, which are designated to serve individuals who are traveling within 14 days, or who need foreign visas for travel. Appointments are required in such cases.

Can all immigrants apply for a US passport?

No. Only those who have American citizenship can apply for a passport. Those applying for US citizenship should file Form N-400, Application for Citizenship.

Applying in Person:

You must apply for your U.S. passport in person if you applying for the first time. You must also apply in person if

  • your passport has expired and is not in your possession; if your passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago.
  • your previous passport was issued when you were under the age of 16
  • you have a current U.S. passport that has been lost or stolen.

If you are under the age of 14, you will need to appear in person, and be able to provide legal consent of your parents or legal guardians. This means that you (the minor) must either be accompanied by both guardians, one guardian who can provide the second guardian’s notarized statement of consent, or one guardian who can submit primary evidence of soul authority to apply.

What to Bring:

To apply in person for a U.S. Passport you must provide the following:

Appropriate Application Forms

Present Proof of U.S. Citizenship

Present Proof of Identity

Two Passport Photos

Your Social Security Number

All Applicable Fees

If you are under the age of 14, in addition to proof of U.S. Citizenship, you must also provide proof of relationship to appearing parents/legal guardians.

 

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