Becoming a Citizen, Visas and Green cards, Permanent Residency and Deportation
It is a wide spread dream of many foreign born individuals to become official citizens of the United States. Their reasons vary from seeking a better life and living the �American Dream,� to freedom from religious or political persecution of their homeland. Last year, 1,112,373 people realized that dream by becoming legal permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States.
Because of the high number of people becoming LPRs of the United States each year, many people mistakenly think becoming a US citizen is simply a matter of filling out a few forms. The reality is United States immigration is a very complicated affair. With a myriad of forms to fill out and requirements to meet, many people have no idea where to even start. Therefore, Legal Language Services offers you our services to help you make sense of, and maybe even simplify, this long, arduous process.
Where you (and your parents) were born, where you are currently living and where you want to live in the future are the starting points (and sometimes the ending point) for your dealings with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
For example, where you were born and where your parents were born are very important questions when it comes to US citizenship. If you were born in the United States (or its Territories), or your parents were born there, then you either are already a US citizen or you can get citizenship fairly easily. Otherwise, you need to begin a somewhat lengthy process to become naturalized, and this process is heavily influenced by where you are living and where you will be living.
These and other aspects of the current US policy are brought together in Federal Immigration and Nationality Act. This law not only governs the Immigration and Naturalization Service, but also guides the USCIS in its development of rules and procedures. Who is permitted to enter the United States and how they can become a citizen, as well as who can be removed from the United States, are all covered in the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act. The State and Territorial laws do not impact the process (which greatly simplifies the process), but where you are living in the United States definitely does have an impact based on workloads and USCIS office policies that impact their application of rules and guidelines.
It is highly recommended to consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable in immigration law before taking any action towards naturalization, due to the constant changes in this area of law. Ideally, you are looking for someone who is knowledgeable about applications from your country of origin and the procedural guidelines of your regional office of immigration.
Frequently Asked Questions on Immigration and Naturalization
Q. What is Immigration Law?
A. Immigration is exclusively governed by federal law. The federal Immigration and Nationality Act regulates who can enter the United States on a temporary or permanent basis. It also governs whom the government can remove (or �deport�) from the United States.
Q. What is Naturalization?
A. The act of making a person a citizen of the United States who was not born with that status. An application for citizenship is an application for Naturalization.
Q. What are the requirements for naturalization?
A. You may apply for naturalization if:
you have been a lawful permanent resident for five years,
you have been a lawful permanent resident for three years, have been married to a US citizen for those three years, and continue to be married to that U.S. citizen,
you are a lawful permanent resident child of United States citizen parents, or
you have qualifying military service. Children under 18 may automatically become citizens when their parents naturalize.
Q. If I am naturalized, is my child a citizen?
A. Usually if children are Permanent Residents they derive citizenship by operation of law from their naturalized parents. In most cases, your child is a citizen if all of the following are true:
The other parent is also naturalized or
You are the only surviving parent (if the other parent is dead) or
You have legal custody (if you and the other parent are legally separated or divorced.) and,The child was under 18 when the parent(s) naturalized, the child was not married when the parent(s) naturalized; and the child was a Permanent Resident before his or her 18th birthday.
Q. What is an Immigrant?
A. A person coming to the US to remain permanently or for an indefinite period of time and to make the United States the primary place of residence. A permanent resident of the US is an immigrant. A person who plans to become a permanent resident is an intending immigrant.
Q. What is a Visa?
A. An authorization issued by a US consul permitting a person to come to a US port or inspection point to apply to be admitted to the US for the purpose of the particular visa. A visa does not give the bearer the right to enter the US but only the right to apply to be admitted at an inspection point.
Q. What is an Immigrant Visa?
A. An Immigrant visa is the visa given to a person by a US consul after qualifying for permanent residence. After arriving in the US, the person will receive a green card. Immigrant visas are issued to those who qualify for residence in the United States. There are various applications for residence some are listed below:
Employment Based Visas and Special Ability Visas
Family Relations Visas
Lottery Diversity Visa
Religious Worker Visa
Q. What is a Green Card?
A. A Permanent Resident Card, which is commonly known as a Green Card, is evidence of your status as a lawful permanent resident with a right to live and to work permanently in the United States, to travel in and out of the counrty without a visa, to work at any job, and to accumulate time toward U.S. citizenship. It also is evidence of your registration in accordance with the United States immigration laws. The Permanent Resident Card is also called Form I-551.
USCIS: The USCIS, or the United States Citizen and Immigration Service, is a department within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The USCIS was created by the Homeland Security Act of 2002. The USCIS consists of approximately 15,000 employees and 250 field offices around the world.