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Citizenship/Naturalization

Citizenship/Naturalization, Family Immigration, Naturalization

Modifying oath for new U.S. Citizens based on religious objection to bearing arms

Can I modify my oath based on religion when I become a US Citizen? I do not believe in bearing arms.

Yes, you are allowed to modify parts of your oath of allegiance based on your sincere, meaningful, and deeply held religious principles against bearing arms or serving in non-combatant military services. Modifying the naturalization oath is a serious decision allowed in some situations. Make sure you fully understand, or talk with an attorney about the oath and your reasons for requesting a modification before making your final decision:  Continue Reading

Children, Citizenship/Naturalization, Naturalization, Students

Students may apply for naturalization where they attend school

USCIS released a message earlier this month stating that eligible students can apply for naturalization in the state where they attend school, or in the state where their family lives as reflected in the USCIS Policy Manual.

Who is eligible? 
* Students 18 years of age or older who are applying for naturalization
* who attend educational institution in a different state from where their family lives
* and who are unmarried and financially dependent on their parents.
How does this benefit students?
Eligible students may apply for US Citizenship in the state where they attend school, rather than applying from their parent’s home state. This is helpful since the naturalization process takes months, and requires a biometrics appointment at the local USCIS office. Students who apply from the city where their University is located will not need to travel to their parents state to be fingerprinted, and to be interviewed by USCIS.
Adjustment of Status, Citizenship/Naturalization, Family Immigration, Green Card

US Citizenship based on marriage to a US Citizen?

Q: I’m a Canadian citizen married to a US citizen and I’ve never applied for adjustment of status or green card. Can I bypass the green card and apply for citizenship since I’ve been married and living in the USA for 5 years?

A: No, based on what you’ve described, you are not eligible to apply for citizenship. I think you may be confusing several regulations and procedures. A permanent resident (green card holder) is eligible to apply for citizenship after holding permanent resident (green card) status for about 3 years if she or he is married to a US citizen. However, since you do not have a green card, you would not be eligible to apply for citizenship. You’d need the green card (permanent resident status) first.

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Citizenship/Naturalization, Family Immigration

If I apply now for US Citizenship will I be able to vote in November 2016 election?

Q: If I apply now for US Citizenship will I be able to vote in the November 2016 election?

A:

Seattle, WA

If you live in Seattle, the answer is most likely yes! Most recently, applications for naturalization (N-400) has been taking about 5 months to process. There is probably time to apply, have the naturalization interview and ceremony in time to register for November 2016 elections.

 

Other cities

To get a general idea on the processing time for your area, check USCIS Processing Time, select your city’s field office, and check the date listed by N-400. Using Seattle, WA as an example, the chart shows that May 2015 applications were being processed in December 2015. The wait in December was about 7 months, but this wait has shortened recently to closer to 5 months as Seattle has recently added new Officers. Check with a local immigration attorney to get a more specific idea of processing times.

 

Apply right away

It is best to apply as soon as possible. Processing times are subject to change over time. Also, you may need to respond to a request for evidence from USCIS, which increases processing time.

This may be a popular time to apply for citizenship, with the contentious upcoming election. The New York Times reported today that many Latinos are seeking citizenship in order to vote against a particular candidate. Further, as the article points out, 8.8 million legal residents are eligible to naturalize right now.

 

 

Citizenship/Naturalization, Employment Immigration, Family Immigration, Naturalization

Overcoming trips outside the US when applying for Naturalization

Q: I applied for US citizenship by submitting the n-400, but I have 2 trips within the last 5 years that lasted 9 months. What can I do?

A: Among many other requirements, those who apply for naturalization need to show they meet continuous residence and physical presence.

Continuous Residence means the applicant has resided in the US for 5 years before applying, or resided continuously for 3 years if he or she is a qualified spouse of a US Citizen. Trips outside the US that last more than 6 months can disrupt continuous residence, as can trips longer than 1 year.

Physical Presence means the applicant was physically present in the US more than half of the time. Applicants need to show they were present in the US for thirty months or more within the last 5 years (or 18 months out of the last 3 years for qualified spouses of US Citizens.) Also, US law requires that applicants have resided for at least 3 months in state where they apply for naturalization before submitting the application.

Since you mentioned two trips that were between 6 months and 1 year, this response will focus on continuous residence, though you should also check to make sure you meet physical presence requirements. This information is meant to be general and review the most common situations. For specific advice related to your case, be sure to speak with a qualified immigration attorney. Continue Reading

Children, Citizenship/Naturalization, Naturalization, Passport

What are the steps for my child to become a US Citizen?

Q: My 5-year-old son and I have been in the US as permanent residents and I recently married a US Citizen. My new US Citizen wife has adopted my son. What steps do we need to follow to get my son US Citizenship? Can he naturalize more quickly now that he has been adopted by a US Citizen? 

A: Congratulations on your recent marriage! Your child has a couple options, but none of the options will allow him to immediately become a US Citizen (USC). The process will involve simply applying for a US Passport for him. He does not likely need to go through the naturalization process.

There are 2 paths your son could follow to become a USC:

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