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Posts Tagged ‘Naturalization’

Per the law, US Federal courts can administer the oath of allegiance. However, there are certain courts that have waived this privilege and permit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to administer the oath of allegiance. If a court administers the oath of allegiance, it is called a judicial ceremony. Whereas, an oath administered by USCIS is called an administrative ceremony.

You will be subject to a judicial ceremony if you reside in a place that is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the court. Depending on where one lives, different applicants will have different types of ceremonies as USCIS field offices often service more than one state or more than one court district. For instance, the Washington Field Office services the District of Columbia and parts of Virginia as well. If you reside in DC, you will have a judicial ceremony, whereas, if you are from Virginia, you may have an administrative ceremony.

If you want to change your name while filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, you have to indicate it on your form. In this case you will have a judicial ceremony. Your name change has to be approved by a judge. So it is evident that your name change will be changed at a judicial ceremony. USCIS Offices that conduct administrative ceremonies may have same-day naturalization ceremonies. The field office web pages will have information about which offices have same-day ceremonies.

Also note that you might have a judicial ceremony even if you do not live in an area under the jurisdiction of the court if it is a special ceremony or if it is easier to schedule you for a judicial ceremony. Likewise, you might have an administrative ceremony in some cases if you are not changing your name and the court has waived its privilege to administer the oath or under special circumstances.
Remember cannot administer the oath of allegiance in certain military naturalization cases.

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The USCIS recently launched an enhanced Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and a redesigned Form N-560, Certificate of Citizenship, with additional features to strengthen security and deter fraud.

A state-of-the-art technology has been incorporated into the new documents which will help in detering counterfeit, obstruct tampering, and help in quick and accurate authentication. More than 1 million people are expected to get the new documents over the next year. The USCIS started issuing new EADs and will begin using the redesigned certificates from Oct. 30 , 2011.

With the added features, the EAD will better equip employees, employers and law enforcement officials to recognize the card as the most reliable proof of authorization to work in the US. The USCIS, in coordination with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Forensic Document Laboratory incorporated this technology and features as a measure to deter fraud. In addition, a secure printing process has helped in making the certificate more tamper-proof.

Though the look and feel of the documents is new, the filing and the entire application process remain unchanged. EADs already in circulation will be replaced as individuals apply for their renewal or replacement. Remember that all EADs issued previously continue to remain valid until the expiration date printed on the card. Certificates of Citizenship issued earlier remain valid indefinitely.

These steps show USCIS’s efforts to producing more secure documentation. Earlier in 2010, USCIS issued a new Permanent Resident Card (green card), which had security features to the card and technology improvements in the card production process. Apart from this, they launched the redesigned Certificate of Naturalization that had the naturalization candidate’s digitized photo and signature on the document. The USCIS will continue its efforts of strengthening document security features as technology improves.

Features

You will find the card number on the front of the card and it has the alien registration number without the initial letter “A.” The front of the card also has the case number, which reflects the case receipt number. It is a fine-line artwork and the card is multi-layered making it difficult to reproduce. The design of the card and the personalized features are meant to deter fraud.

In addition, the new process of producing certificates will rely on a printing process that is more tamper and fraud resistant than the earlier methods used. The new certificate will have the updated physical security features that makes it less susceptible to fraud. This new process is less labor intensive, less prone to human error and more importantly, more secure.

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On Oct. 19, 2011, a USCIS issued an update announcing improvements in the processing of certain naturalization and citizenship forms. USCIS is enhancing the filing process for certain applications related to Naturalization and citizenship (N-Forms). From Oct. 30, 2011, applicants can file N-Forms at a secure Lockbox facility instead of the USCIS local offices through the new process. This change is aimed at streamlining the way forms are processed, accelerating the collection and deposit of fees focus on improving the consistency of the USCIS intake process.

As mentioned earlier, applicants have to submit forms directly to the appropriate Lockbox beginning Oct. 30, 2011. However, note that all such forms received by local USCIS offices during a transition period (Oct. 30 and Dec. 2, 2011) will be forwarded to the USCIS Lockbox facility. Forms received at local USCIS offices after Dec. 2, 2011, will not be forwarded but will be sent back to the applicant with further instructions on how to file again at a designated USCIS Lockbox facility. USCIS will be centralizing intake of Forms N-336, N-600 and N-600K at the Phoenix Lockbox facility. Form N-300 will be handled by the Dallas Lockbox facility and applicants filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, file at a Lockbox facility.

The USCIS has updated the information on their N-Form Web pages regarding filing forms at a Lockbox facility to clearly identify this change. Ensure that you read the form instructions thoroughly before filing the form to ensure that you are filing the correct form type at the correct location. It is very important to remember that applicants submitting the wrong form type for the benefit sought will not receive a fee refund. Instead, they will be required to re-apply using the correct form and pay a new fee.

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Though one can become a citizen voluntarily through the Naturalization process, some are granted this status being born in the US or born to US citizen parent(s).

Children born outside to US citizen parents can claim US citizenship through their parents’ status subject to certain strict requirements which makes the process very much sophisticated. The immigration law at the time the child was born is also vitally important while claiming citizenship through the Child Citizenship Act (CCA). But the process is pretty simple for children born in the US as they automatically become US citizens, immaterial of whether their parents were US citizens or not.

If your child was born in the US, you can directly apply for a US passport as a proof of his/her US citizenship. Should you want to document your child’s citizenship status, you can file Form N- 600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship with the USCIS to get the citizenship certificate.

There are a combination of requirements that are to be satisfied before applying for child citizenship. One such criteria is that at least one parent was a US citizen when the child was born and should have lived in the US or its possessions for a stipulated period of time. Additionally, child(ren) born outside the US can also claim citizenship after birth based on their parents’ citizenship or naturalization.

As stated above, you can become a US citizen only if you fulfill certain important conditions. Few are:

  • You should be under 18 years old and at least one of your parents should be a US citizen, either by birth or through Naturalization.

  • You should reside in the US in the legal and physical custody of your US citizen parent and is subject to lawful admission for permanent residence in the US.

To qualify as a “child” for the purpose of getting a certificate of citizenship through your parents’ status, you (the child) should not be married. If you are born out of wedlock, you should have been “legitimated” when you were under 16 years old and in the legal custody of the legitimating parent. But if you are a stepchild who was not adopted, you will not qualify as a “child” for citizenship purposes.

If you meet the above mentioned requirements before becoming 18 years old, it means you establish the eligibility for US citizenship without having to file an application. Make note however, if you want to document your citizenship status, you have to file Form N-600.

Per the CCA, if you were 18 years old or older as of February 27, 2001, you will not be eligible for citizenship, under this classification. You however, can apply for naturalization (Form N-400) based on qualifying on your own. There is also another option where persons above the age of 18 as on February 27, 2001, are eligible to apply for a citizenship certificate per the law in effect before the enactment of the CCA.

Even if you the biological or an adopted child who regularly resides abroad, you can still qualify for citizenship. This however, has additional requirements to be met.

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Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements before applying for US citizenship. Being at least 18 years or older and a being a permanent resident (Green Card holder) now and during all of the past 5 years are few of the requirements. You should have resided in the United States for a continuous period before filing of the citizenship application. If you are not married to a U.S. citizen, you should have resided in the U.S. for a continuous period of five years after admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you should have resided in the U.S. for a continuous period of three years following your admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident.

A prolonged absence from the U.S. will break the continuity of your residence in the U.S. for naturalization purposes. Additionally, you should have met physical presence requirements too. It means that you have actually been in the United States. Prior to applying, you should have resided in your current state for at least 3 months.

If you are applying for US Citizenship, you should file Form N-400 , Application for Naturalization with the USCIS. Certain supporting documents should be send with your N-400 application. Documents that are in a foreign language should be accompanied by a full English language translation while submitting to the USCIS. In such cases, the translator should certify the translation as complete and accurate, and also by the translator’s certification that he/she is competent to translate from the foreign language into English.

The filing fee for the citizenship application is $595.00. Additionally, a biometric fee of $85.00 is required when filing this Form N-400. You may submit one check or money order for $680 for both the application and biometric fees. If you are filing under the military provisions , you do not require a filing fee.

The processing time for the citizenship application can vary from five months to more than two years depending on where and when you choose to file your application. Then the swearing-in ceremony for receiving the certificate will take place from 1 to 180 days after the interview, although in a few USCIS district offices, it can take another one or two years. The length of time for the entire process depends on the number of Citizenship applications the USCIS offices receive in each state. Additionally, making a mistake on your application can cost you even more time. So always ensure that your application is complete and error- free.

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