Archive for September, 2013

I-485 – Immigration Petition for Permanent Residency

Posted on September 26, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Adjustment of Status is the process of becoming a green card holder (permanent resident) while already inside the U.S. The USCIS form for adjustment of status is Form I-485.

This process, however, is not available to everyone. If you are not eligible for Adjustment of Status, you may apply for a green card outside the U.S. through consular processing.

Who is Eligible for Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of Status may be available to applicants who are currently authorized to be in the U.S. with a valid nonimmigrant visa and reapplying for a green card based on one of the following:

  • Having an approved immigrant petition (Form I-130 or Form I-140);
  • Being the derivate of a principal green card applicant (spouse or child);
  • Having a fiancé visa and having already married a U.S. citizen in the U.S. (Form I-129 and K-1 visa);
  • Having asylee or refugee status;
  • Being born in Cuba or being the spouse or child of someone from Cuba;
  • Having continuous residence in the U.S. since before January 1, 1972;
  • Having a valid priority date under the Child Status Protection Act; Or
  • Having a Western Hemisphere priority date.

What Evidence is Required for Adjustment of Status?

The I-485 application process requires you provide the following evidence:

  • A copy of your birth certificate,
  • A copy of the passport page with your nonimmigrant visa
  • Two identical passport-style photographs of yourself
  • Your criminal records
  • Your biographical information
  • Your fingerprints
  • Affidavit of Support (if application is based on approved immigrant petition or based on a fiancé visa)
  • Marriage certificate  (if application is based on being a derivative or a principal green card applicant or based on a fiancé visa)
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Why Immigrant Dreamers still face DREAM Act’s Limits?

Posted on September 19, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , |

A year has passed since the start of the DREAM Act policy called Deferred Action (DACA). DREAMers who have been approved are still facing struggles.

DACA is a policy put in place by the Obama Administration to ensure that young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. at a young age receive protection from deportation.

Deferred Action defers deportation for a period of two years. This means that an undocumented immigrant who qualifies can live without fear of being deported. That is a huge opportunity in itself, but DACA not only stops deportation for a period of two years. It also gives recipients a work permit and a driver’s license.

As of mid-august, USCIS has received 588,725 applications for the program. Only 9,578 applicationshave been denied.

Of course, the program has helped;however, recipients of DACA are still facing frustration because of the program’s limitations.

Because the work permit is only issued for two years, many companies are not interested in hiring them. Yes, DACA can be renewed but companies cannot be sure that a renewal will be certain. Companies fear investing time and resources to train someone who could beineligible for renewal.A DACA recipient is treated as a temporary worker.

Other DACA recipients have trouble finding jobs because of their lack of experience. Many young undocumented immigrants have plenty of experience in various fields, but because they have been paid under the table, they are not able to list references of any kind.

There are also issues surrounding the issuance of driver’s licenses. In Arizona, for example, DACA recipients are still denied driver’s licenses. Not only does this mean they have to walk or use public transportation when job hunting, but they also have to deal with companies skeptical about hiring workers without their own transportation.

These limits further convince supporters that DREAMers really do need immigration reform that would grant them permanent lawful status.

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Fundamental Information on Immigration and Naturalization

Posted on September 11, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , |

Naturalization is the process by which an immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen.

An immigrant, according to U.S. immigration law, is someone who has the intention to be a permanent resident while a nonimmigrant is someone who is seeking to remain in the U.S. temporarily. Immigration and naturalization is a process that begins with obtaining a green card.

Lawful immigrants are immigrants who have a green card. A green card is the official document that proves lawful permanent residency. Most people become lawful permanent residents with the help of a U.S. family member or U.S. employer.

To be eligible for citizenship, most applicants are required tohave lived in the U.S. with permanent residency for at least five years.There are two cases when the five-year requirement does not apply:

  • For applicants married to U.S. citizens, the requirement is permanent residency for at least three years.
  • For applicants who are in the military, the requirement is permanent residency for at least one year.

Naturalization Requirements

There are more requirements for naturalization than just having had a green card for a certain period of time. The other citizenship requirements are:

  • Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing the citizenship application
  • Be of good moral character
  • Have the ability to read, write and speak basic English
  • Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and civics (government)
  • Prove an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. constitution.
  • Prove continuous residence during the five years immediately before filing the citizenship application. The requirement is three years for spouses of U.S. citizens. This Requirement does not apply to military servicemen applicants.
  • Prove physical presence in the U.S. at least 30 months out of the five years immediately before filing the citizenship application. The requirement is 18 months for spouses of U.S. This requirement does not apply to military servicemen applicants.
  • Demonstrate residency for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where submitting citizenship application

 

Naturalization Process

The naturalization process is completed through these steps:

  • File Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
  • Attend the biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment
  • Attend interview (Includes citizenship test to determine if the applicant fulfills knowledge of Basic English and basic understanding of U.S. history and civics requirements.)
  • Receive USCIS decision on application
  • Attend naturalization ceremony (Includes swearing loyalty to the U.S. by saying the Oath of Allegiance.)
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Immigration Reform Bill’s Big Question is Path to Citizenship

Posted on September 4, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Should the 11 million immigrants living undocumented in the U.S. get a path to citizenship?

That is the big question as Congress prepares to debate immigration reform & citizenship in the next few weeks.

While some House Republicans agree that undocumented immigrants should get some form of legal status, most disagree with the Senate’s plan.

The Senate immigration reform bill proposes to create a path to citizenship called Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI).

RPI would give undocumented immigrants legal status valid for six years with an option for renewal. After 10 years of lawful status, the RPI immigrants would be eligible for permanent residency, green card status.They would have to remain green card holders for three years and then they would be eligible for citizenship. The path to citizenship from RPI status to citizenship would take at least 13 years.

House Republicans say people who are living in the U.S. without authorization because they either illegally crossed the border or overstayed their visas should not be rewarded a special path to American citizenship. They say it is unfair to millions of people who are waiting in line for a green card through the current legal process.

Congress will return from its summer break the week of Sept. 9. All the focus will be on the Republican-led House of Representatives. It’s likely that the House will reject the Senate’s bill. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said recently the he did not support the bill: “We think a legal status in the United States, but not a special pathway to citizenship, might be appropriate.”

The Senate bill passed in June and aside from the path to citizenship provision, it includes provisions to increase border security and streamline the legal immigration system.

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