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Posts Tagged ‘US citizenship’

Marriage

If you have decided to get married in a foreign soil, it is very important you know the requirements of that particular country before you leave the US. US Consulates do not have much say in it and normally, it is the local civil or religious officials who perform the marriage. The marriage procedures differ from each country and the entire process can be time consuming.

Some countries requires the persons who wish to get married to be a resident in that country for a certain period of time before they can get married in that place. Parental consent and blood tests are included in other requirements. Some countries make it mandatory for submitting documents certifying the end of a previous relationship (death or divorce certificate). The documents have to be translated to the local language and authenticated too. While in some countries, you have to submit an affidavit by as proof of legal capacity to enter into a marriage contract and this can be done at a US Embassy or Consulate.

As stated earlier, the entire process can be time-consuming and also expensive. Make sure you find out the requirements of that country before your travel. You can contact the embassy or the tourist information bureau of the country where you wish to get married. You can find the list of foreign embassies and consulates in the US on the Department of State’s website. You can also get US embassy and consulate contact information on the Country Specific Information for each country. Get in touch with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate if you are already in the foreign soil.

After your marriage abroad, the US consulate can authenticate your foreign marriage document. This authentication only proves that your foreign documents are real, but it does not imply that your marriage will be recognized by your state in the US. To get the marriage recognized in the US, it is highly recommended you consult the Attorney General of your state of residence in the US.

Birth

Through the Child Citizenship Act (CCA), most children born abroad to a US citizen parent(s) acquire US citizenship. After the birth, the US citizen parent is required to get in touch with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If the Consulate is convinced that the child has acquired US citizenship, a consular officer prepares a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a US Citizen. This document acts as proof of citizenship and is recognized in the US. It can be used to get a passport, enter school, and for many other purposes. If you do not document the child’s citizenship, you might face unnecessary difficulties later when you try to get a passport or register for school.

Divorce and Death

If you were divorced abroad, the validity will vary according to the requirements of your state of residence. It is better you consult the authorities of your state of residence in the US to know these requirements. US consular officers will assist families of US citizens who die abroad.

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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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It is a known fact that one can become a citizen of the US by birth or through Naturalization. Getting citizenship through US citizen parents are also possible depending on satisfying certain requirements. If you qualify on your own eligibility, you have to file Form N-400, the citizenship form. While there are millions waiting to get naturalized, there is a very small percentage of persons who want to renounce their US citizenship without knowing of effects of renouncing.

Section 349(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) governs the ability of a US citizen to renounce his/her US citizenship.

If you want to renounce your American Citizenship, you should do so voluntarily and should appear in person before a US consular or diplomatic officer. You have to do this in a foreign country (normally at a US Embassy or Consulate) and you should also be prepared to sign an oath of renunciation. If you do not do so as mentioned above, Renunciations have no effect legally. It is important to note that US citizens cannot effectively renounce their citizenship by mail, through an agent, or even while being in US. In fact, US courts have held certain attempts to renounce US citizenship to be ineffective on a variety of grounds.

Renounce All Rights and Privileges :

As a US citizen if you want to renounce your citizenship, you cannot retain some of the privileges of citizenship, as this would lead to logical inconsistency with the concept of renunciation. In such case, The Department of State will not approve a loss of citizenship.

Statelessness :

You should be aware that, unless you already have a foreign nationality, you might be left stateless if you intend to renounce your American citizenship. It would result in the lack the protection from any government. Furthermore, you will also experience extreme difficulty during your travel, as you may not be entitled to a passport from any country.

Considering that you are not stateless, you have to get a visa to travel to the US, or show that you are eligible for admission pursuant to the terms of the Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP). If you are considered ineligible for a visa or the VWPP to come to the US, under certain circumstances you could eventually be barred from entering the US. Nonetheless, renunciation of US citizenship will not prevent a foreign country from deporting you back to the United States in some non-citizen status.

Tax and Military Obligations :

Renouncing your US citizenship will have no effect whatsoever on your US tax or military service obligations. Adding further to this, renouncing American citizenship will not allow you to avoid possible prosecution for crimes which you may have committed in the US. You cannot escape the repayment of financial obligations that you previously incurred in the US or what you incurred as a US citizen abroad.

Minor Children :

You can renounce your citizenship and cannot renounce US citizenship on behalf of your minor children. Before an oath of renunciation will be administered to a person under the age of eighteen, he/she should be able to convince a US diplomatic or consular officer that he/she fully understands the nature and consequences of the oath of renunciation. He/She should also convince that he/she is not subject to duress or undue influence, and is voluntarily seeking to renounce his/her citizenship.

Irrevocable :

Another important fact that would make you think twice is that renunciation of American citizenship is irrevocable, except as provided in section 351 of the INA. It cannot be canceled or set aside. However, if you renounced your US citizenship before the age of eighteen, you have the option of having that citizenship reinstated if you let your desire known to the Department of State within six months after reaching the age of eighteen.

If you are contemplating renouncing US citizenship, it is vitally important to consider the effects of renouncing as described above before arriving at such a conclusion.

 

 

 

 

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Per a recent news in the press, the USCIS has started a campaign that focuses on promoting American Citizenship. The campaign urges the 12 million Green Card holders in the US to become citizens. It is perhaps the first time the USCIS has launched a paid advertising campaign to promote American citizenship in the minds of green card holders.

This campaign includes advertisements on radio, TV, print media and Internet with messages in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and English and is mainly targeted at major U.S. states where many Green Card holders live, such as California, New York, Florida and Texas. The initiative throws light mainly on the awareness of the rights, responsibilities, and importance of being a US citizen and also about the free naturalization preparation resources available to green card holders.

There are currently 12.5 million green card holders in the US, out of which almost 8 million Green Card holders are eligible to file the citizenship form. The main reason why eligible green card holders do not run for citizenship is that they can legally live and work in the US as a green card holder itself. However, what they fail to realize is that citizenship gives them the benefit of voting, getting a US passport to travel without restrictions, obtain better jobs. Recent studies show that people who become citizens earn more money too. It is an important step in fully integrating into a new society and as a US citizen, one can vote, serve on a jury and get more involved in the political process.

Per the USCIS, last year more than 700,000 immigrants applied to become US citizens, a 25% increase from the year before. Green Card holders living in the US for 5 years, show good moral character as well as passing an English and civics tests can apply for Naturalization. Apart from these, there are many other eligibility requirements that one needs to fulfill in order to qualify.

Through this campaign, USCIS wants to increase awareness of the rights, responsibilities, and importance of US citizenship. Apart from this, the USCIS also wants to increase understanding of the naturalization process and requirements and create awareness of available citizenship preparation resources. Another point they wish to drive is to educate eligible permanent residents about the steps they need to take to apply and prepare for the naturalization process

The campaign ads have professional actors depicting immigrant stories that concentrate on the diverse backgrounds of immigrants both past and present. The stories also highlight many of the motivating factors immigrants have stated as common reasons for going for US citizenship.

From the early 1900s, the government has promoted an awareness of citizenship among immigrants to get naturalized. The present initiative builds upon those efforts and supports the mission of the USCIS. Since July 2009, USCIS has reached more than 32,000 green card holders and potential naturalization applicants at approximately 560 naturalization information sessions through USCIS field offices, local community groups and immigrant-serving organizations.

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If you satisfy all the requirements to apply for US citizenship, the first step is to get Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization.

Complete the N-400 application.

• Take two passport-style photographs.

Get the necessary supporting documents.

Mail your citizenship application along with passport-style photographs, documents and fee to the designated Service Center. Do not send cash.

• Have a copy of everything you send to USCIS.

You will receive an appointment letter from USCIS.

Go to place mentioned in the letter and have your fingerprints taken.

In case USCIS requests for additional documents, mail them

Wait till you receive an appointment for your interview.

Go to the local USCIS office as mentioned in the letter at the given time.

If USCIS requests, bring identification and provide additional documents. Having two additional passport-style photographs at the time of interview would be useful.

• Answer questions about your application package and background.

Take the citizenship test which comprises of English and Civics.

•  If everything goes on well, your case is approved and you will be notified about the ceremony date.

At the ceremony, return your Permanent Resident Card (green card)

You have to answer a few questions about what you have done since your interview.

Take the Oath of Allegiance.

Finally, receive your Certificate of Naturalization.

 

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Per the USCIS, the following naturalization ceremonies for those who applied for US citizenship are occuring across the country Jan. 11 – 21, 2011.

Date Location
1/11; 11 AM The National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry St., Memphis, TN 38103
1/11; 9:15 AM Florida State College, 11901 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32246
1/11; 11 AM Florida State College, 11901 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32246
1/14; 8 AM USCIS Orlando Field Office, 6680 Corporate Centre Blvd., Orlando, FL 32822
1/14; 10 AM USCIS Orlando Field Office, 6680 Corporate Centre Blvd., Orlando, FL 32822
1/14; 9 AM USCIS New York City Field Office, Jacob K. Javits Federal Building, 26 Federal Plaza, 3rd Floor, Room 3-120, New York, NY 10278
1/14; 9 AM USCIS Providence Field Office, 1543 Atwood Ave., Johnston, RI 02919
1/14; 10 AM The King Center, Freedom Hall Auditorium, 449 Auburn Ave., Atlanta, GA 30312
1/14; 11 AM YWCA Center for Race and Gender Equity, 305 Wood St., Pittsburgh, PA, 15222
1/14; 1 PM USCIS Providence Field Office, 1543 Atwood Ave., Johnston, RI 02919
1/14; 1 PM USCIS Reno Field Office, 790 Sandhill Rd., Reno, NV 89521
1/15; 11 AM Chandler Multicultural Festival, 124 E. Commonwealth Ave., Chandler, AZ 85225
1/20; 2 PM USCIS New Orleans Field Office, Metairie Centre, Suite 300 (3rd Floor), 2424 Edenborn Ave., Metairie, LA 70001
1/20; 11 AM St. Paul U.S. Federal Court, 316 N. Roberts St, St.Paul, MN  55101
1/20; 2PM St. Paul U.S. Federal Court, 316 N. Roberts St, St.Paul, MN  55101
1/21; 8:30 AM USCIS San Jose Field Office, 1887 Monterey Rd., San Jose, CA 95112
1/21; 10:30 AM USCIS San Jose Field Office, 1887 Monterey Rd., San Jose, CA 95112
1/21; 12 PM The International Civil Rights Center and Museum, 134 South Elm St., Greensboro, NC 27401

 

Source : USCIS

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