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U.S. Citizenship

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

USCIS Updates Policy Manual for Submitting Form I-693

Please be advised that Policy Guidance for the validity period of Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, is being revised by USCIS.  USCIS officers use Form I-693 to determine whether an applicant for an immigration benefit in the United States is inadmissible under the health-related grounds of inadmissibility.  As of November 1, 2018, the updated policy will go into effect.

As such, applicants filing an underlying application (i.e. Form I-485 for adjustment of status) will be required to submit Forms I-693 signed by a civil surgeon no more than 60 days before submission of filing.  This will allow for a two-year period of validity following the civil surgeon’s signature date. Although USCIS will continue to retain the current two-year maximum validity period, a more effective way of calculating the validity period will be implemented in order to enhance operational efficiencies and reduce the number of requests to applicants for an updated Form I-693, including the reduction of delays in adjudicating underlying applications based on fewer requests for updated forms.


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Friday, September 28, 2018

USCIS to Begin Implementing New PM on NTAs on October 1, 2018


On September 26, 2018, USCIS issued an update that they will begin implementing their June 28th Policy Memorandum (PM) 602-0050.1 pertaining to the referral of cases and issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in cases involving “inadmissible and removable” individuals.  For more information about this new Policy Memorandum, please see our previous blog entry on this subject.
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Friday, August 3, 2018

Criminal Charges and How they Affect Non-Citizens

Non citizens who have been charged with a crime, have two sets of problems to worry about: the criminal charges, and how those charges might affect their immigration status.


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Friday, March 9, 2018

Scheduling an InfoPass Appointment to Inquire About Your Immigration Case

InfoPass is a free service that lets you request information or inquire about your immigration case by scheduling an appointment with your local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. This service is available to anyone, and you do not technically need to be represented by an attorney. However, if you do have an attorney you should be sure to consult with him or her before engaging in any communication with USCIS.


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Friday, January 26, 2018

I Have a Green Card…and a Criminal Conviction: Can I Travel Abroad?

Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) also known as “green card holders” who have criminal convictions may encounter problems when attempting to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad and should consult an immigration attorney before planning any trips outside of the country.


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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship, or dual nationality, means that a person is a citizen of two countries simultaneously. It is also possible to simultaneously be a citizen of three or more countries. Dual citizenship occurs when an individual becomes a citizen of another country, in addition to his or her birth country. Generally, countries define citizenship based upon one’s place of birth, descent, marriage or naturalization process.


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Monday, October 17, 2016

What Do I Have to Study for My Citizenship Test?

The United States naturalization test, also called a citizenship exam, comes in two parts.  The first part of the test covers an applicant’s knowledge of the United States system of government. During the interview to determine if an applicant is eligible for naturalization, a USCIS officer will select 10 questions from a list of 100 and administer an oral examination to test the applicant’s knowledge of civics. Some examples of questions on the list of 100 include:

  • How many amendments are there to the US constitution? (27)
  • Who makes the federal laws? (Congress)
  • What group of people were taken to America and sold as slaves? (Africans)
  • What is the capital of the United States? (Washington D.C.).

A complete list of the one hundred potential questions is available on the USCIS website.

The second half of the citizenship test examines the applicant’s ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language. Each applicant must be able to read one out of three sentences correctly, and write one out of three sentences correctly in order to demonstrate the ability to read and write in English. A USCIS officer will determine an applicant’s ability to speak and understand English during the eligibility interview on the Application for Naturalization. The best way to study is to practice speaking, reading, and writing every day. The more a person uses the language, the more comfortable he or she becomes with it. Vocabulary flashcards can be a useful study tool as well.

There are exceptions to the English portion of the exam. Applicants who are over the age of 50 do not have to take the English portion of the exam if they have been in the United States on a green card for more than 20 years. Similarly, applicants over the age of 55 do not have to take the English portion of the exam if they have been in the United States with a green card for more than 15 years. A person who qualifies for these exemptions must still pass the civics section of the citizenship test in his or her native language, and is responsible for bringing an interpreter who is fluent in both English and his or her native tongue.

If a person fails one or both sections of the test, a second interview will be administered to the applicant seeking naturalization. The second interview will be between 60 and 90 days after the initial interview and will only cover the portion of the test that the applicant previously failed.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Immigration Issues in Intercounty Adoption

When a child is adopted from a foreign country, that child must go through the immigration process through the United States Customs and Immigration Service like any other person. The child must be eligible for adoption under the Immigration and Naturalization Act. If a child is adopted from another country and is deemed ineligible, that child will not be permitted to immigrate to the United States. A child under the age of 16 who has resided with his or her adoptive parents for two years may apply for entry under an I-130 petition. This is rarely utilized because of the requirement that the adoptive parent live abroad for two years. Most adoptions are done through one of two processes depending on the country of origin of the child being adopted.

If the child being adopted is from a country that is a party to the Hague Convention, the prospective parents must seek adoption through an approved service provider. They will have to fill out form I-800A to determine whether they are eligible to adopt a child from a foreign country. They will be fingerprinted and undergo a background check and a home study.  The child’s country of origin will then examine your credentials and match you with a child. This process can take months or years. At this point, the prospective parents will meet with the child and decide whether or not to continue the adoption process. The prospective parents must then fill out form I-800 to confirm that the child is eligible to immigrate to the United States, and form DS-260 to request that the child be permitted to immigrate. If everything is in order, the US Consulate will provide a letter confirming the child will be permitted to immigrate to the US. At that time, the adoption process must be completed in the child’s country of origin and prospective parents will receive a copy of the child’s birth certificate, the Hague Adoption Certificate, and an IH-3 visa. If the adoption process will be completed in the United States, the child will be issued an IH-4 visa until the time the adoption process is completed and the parents must also complete form N-600.

In countries which were not parties to the Hague Convention, the process is simpler. The child must be an orphan, or the surviving parent(s) must be unable to care for the child and acknowledge their abandonment of their parental rights in writing. The prospective parents must file form I-600 and apply for an IR-3 or IR-4 visa.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Obtaining U.S. Citizenship Through a Grandparent

The Immigration and Naturalization Act provides that children born outside the U.S. are automatically U.S. Citizens if one of their parents is a U.S. citizen.  There are, however, a number of exceptions.  

To transmit citizenship to a child, the parent must not only be a U.S. citizen but must also meet a physical presence requirement.  The parent must have resided in the U.S. or one of its possessions for at least five years, and for two of the five, the parent must have been at least 14 years old.

If a child is not eligible because a U.S. citizen parent failed to meet the physical presence requirement, the child can still receive citizenship through the physical presence of a grandparent.  There are three basic requirements:

1.  The child is the offspring of parent who is a U.S. citizen, whether by naturalization or birth.

2.  The child is under the age of 18 and in the custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

3.  The child's U.S. citizen grandparent was physically present in the U.S. or its possessions for at least five years, for two of which the grandparent was at least 14 years old.

As with the U.S. citizen parent, the calculation of the total time of physical presence can include periods when the grandparent was not a U.S. citizen.

If the grandparent is dead, the provision is still available.  All that is required is that the grandparent was a U.S. citizen and met the physical presence requirements at the time of his or her death.

Parents seeking to use the grandparent provision for a child must file a form N-600K with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services prior to the child's eighteenth birthday and attend an appointment in person with the child.  If the parent has died, the child's grandparent or legal guardian can apply within five years of the parent's death.

If you or your loved one is trying to obtain U.S. citizenship through a grandparent, you should seek the advice of a seasoned immigration attorney to achieve the best possible result.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Entrepreneurial Immigrants: Building the American Dream

The American Dream of starting your own business and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is alive and well. In fact, it is the creation and growth of small businesses that is instrumental in helping America recover from the Great Recession. What many do not realize is that a significant percentage of new business ventures in this country are started by immigrants.  Despite their business startup prowess, Immigrants face a multitude of legal issues as they start new ventures in the United States.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Refugees & Asylum

Some immigrants to the U.S. are classified as “refugees” or granted asylum. Refugee status or asylum is granted to people who have been persecuted or are afraid they may be persecuted because of their political opinion, race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group.

 


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