Passport Fair

March 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Post Offices (Atlanta) will host a one-day Passport Fair on March 10, 2012. If you wish to apply for a passport, bring with you proof of American citizenship (previously issued passport, birth certificate, or a certificate of citizenship. In addition, bring any photo identification. This include a driver’s license or state identification card, military photo ID card or government issued photo employee card.

All minor children (below 16 years old), who wish to apply for Passports have to be accompanied by both parents. Note that children who are 16 to 17 should be accompanied by one parent. Also remember if one parent is absent on the day, the other parent should submit proof of sole legal custody of the child. He/she should also bring a notarized written consent of the other parent for issuing the passport. As an alternative, a written statement that explains why the non-applying parent’s consent cannot be obtained can be produced. Adults have to pay a $110 fee for Passports, whereas for children under 16, it is $80. For Passports cards, it is $30 for adults, whereas it is $15 for children. Both will be subject to a $25 acceptance fee. Photographs will be made available onsite for a fee of $15. Should you have your own, make sure the size is 2″x 2″. Note that applications to apply for passports are available online as well as at the Post Office.

Participating Offices/Time

9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Acworth Post Office 4915 N Main St. 30101

LaGrange Post Office 950 Lafayette Pkwy 30241

Suwanee Post Office 990 Peachtree Industrial Blvd 30024

9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Cumming Post Office 525 Tribble Gap Road 30040

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Howell Mill Station 1984 Howell Mill Rd NW 30327

Northridge Branch 1185 Hightower Trl. 30350

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Pharr Road Station 575 Pharr Road NE 30355

Sandy Springs Station 227 Sandy Springs Pl. NE 30328

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Griffin Post Office 101 N 8th St. 30223

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Adairsville Post Office 10 Finley St. 30103

Athens Main Post Office 575 Olympic Dr. 30608

Marietta Main Post Office 257 Lawrence St. NE 30060

Limestone Station 364 Green St. NE 30501

Lawrenceville Post Office 35 Patterson Rd 30044

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Forest Park Post Office 4989 Courtney Drive 30297

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Atlanta Main Post Office 3900 Crown Rd. SW 30321

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Loganville Post Office 4160 Logan Dr. 30052

Newnan Main Post Office 60 Postal Pkwy 30263

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Akers Mill Postal Store 2997 Cobb Pkwy SE 31139

Ben Hill Station 2260 Fairburn Rd. SW 30331

Briarcliff Station 3104 Briarcliff Rd. NE 30345

Doraville Branch 4700 Longmire Ext. 30340

 

Renouncing US Citizenship

December 27, 2011 § 6 Comments

Section 349(a)(5) of the INA provides for the loss of nationality by voluntarily acting the intent to relinquish his or her US Nationality.

If you want to renounce your American citizenship, you have to do it voluntarily and with intent to relinquish US citizenship.

  1. You are required to appear in person before a US consular or diplomatic officer
  2. You have to be in a foreign country , generally at a US Embassy or Consulate and
  3. You are required to sign an oath of renunciation

Renunciations that do not meet the requirements stated above have no legal effect. US citizens cannot renounce their citizenship by mail, through an agent, or while being in the US. Certain attempts to renounce US citizenship are found to be ineffective on a variety of grounds, as stated below :

RENOUNCE ALL RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES

If you decide to renounce your US citizenship, you cannot decide to retain some of the privileges of citizenship.

DUAL NATIONALITY / STATELESSNESS

If you have decided to renounce US citizenship, you should be aware that, unless you already possess a foreign nationality, you might be left stateless and so, will not get the protection of any government. You will also have difficulty traveling as you will not have a passport from any country. Even if you are not stateless, you will still need a visa to travel to the US. Another important fact is that Renunciation of US citizenship may not prevent a foreign country from deporting you back to the US in some non-citizen status.

TAX & MILITARY OBLIGATIONS

Having decided on renunciation, you should also know that you may have no effect whatsoever on your US tax or military service obligations. Apart from this renouncing will not allow you to avoid possible prosecution for crimes which you would have committed in the US, or escape the repayment of financial obligations previously incurred in the US or incurred as US citizens abroad.

RENUNCIATION FOR MINOR CHILDREN

You cannot renounce US citizenship on behalf of your minor children. Before an oath of renunciation will be administered, one under the age of eighteen must convince a US diplomatic or consular officer that he/she fully understands the nature and consequences of the oath of renunciation and also that he/she is voluntarily renouncing his/her US citizenship.

IRREVOCABILITY OF RENUNCIATION

You have to know that the act is irrevocable, except as provided in section 351 of the INA .It cannot be canceled. If a person renounced his/her US citizenship before the age of eighteen, he/she can have that citizenship reinstated if he/she informs the Department of State within six months after reaching the age of eighteen.

Physical Presence for US Citizenship

December 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

To be naturalized, before the date of filing your application, you should have resided continuously, after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, within the US for at least five years. During the five years immediately prior to filing your citizenship form, you should have been physically present therein for periods totaling at least half of that time. In addition, you should also have resided within the State or within the district of the Service in the US in which you filed the application for at least three months.

You should have resided continuously in the US from the date of filing the application up to the time of admission to citizenship. During all the periods you should have been and still are a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the US Constitution.
Absence from the US for more than six months but less than one year immediately before filing for American citizenship will break the continuity of such residence, unless you can establish to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that you did not abandon your residence in the US during that period.
Absence from the US for a continuous period of one year or more shall break the continuity of such residence except that in the case you were physically present and residing in the US after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence for a continuous period of at least one year and thereafter, you

  • are employed by or under contract with the Government of the US or an American institution of research,
  • are employed by an American firm or corporation engaged in whole or in part in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the US, or a subsidiary thereof more than 50 percent of whose stock is owned by an American firm or corporation,
  • are employed by a public international organization of which the US is a member by treaty and by which you were not employed until after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, no period of absence from the US shall break the continuity of residence if-

(1) before the beginning of such period of employment, but prior to the expiration of one year of continuous absence from the US, you established to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that your absence for such period is to be on behalf of the Government, or for the purpose of carrying on scientific research on behalf of an institution, or to be engaged in the development of such foreign trade and commerce or whose residence abroad is necessary to the protection of the property rights in such countries of firm or corporation, or to be employed by a public international organization of which the US is a member by treaty and by which you were not employed until after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, and
(2) you prove to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that your absence from the US for that period has been for such purpose.

Filing Form N-648

September 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

While applying for American citizenship, one of the requirements is that you have to establish an understanding of English language and prove that you can speak, write and read words in normal usage. It is also required that you have basic knowledge and understanding of fundamentals of US history. The citizenship test comprises of these both.

Some applicants, because of their age and other medically determinable physical or mental impairment are exempted from taking these tests. If you fall under this category and want an exception from the English and US civics test because of your physical or age-linked disability or mental deficiency, you have to file Form N-648 with the USCIS. It is mandatory that a licensed medical doctor or licensed clinical psychologist complete and sign this form. This form has to be filed along with the citizenship form, N-400. Finally,it is up to the USCIS to make a decision if you qualify for an exception to the tests.

A few provisions are there in the Rehabilitation act of 1973 and if you fall under those, you need not file Form N-648. Sign language interpreters, time extension for testing and off site testing come under the provisions. But note that illiteracy will not be considered while requesting an exception from the English and Civics tests. You have to fill Part three of the Form N-400 while applying for American Citizenship, indicating your request.

“Medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, or clinical psychologists licensed to practice in US including territories like Guam, Puerto Rico, territories of CNMI and the Virgin Islands” are the ones authorized to fill the N-648 form. While filling the form, the medical professional takes up the responsibility for the genuineness of the information entered in the form. The medical professional has to certify all parts of the Form N-648 except for the applicant attestation and interpreter’s certification.

In addition, the medical professional should also ensure that the form is complete and accurate as the USCIS will reject incomplete forms. The information in the form has to be in such a manner that it is easily understood even by a lay man. The medical professional filling this form has to submit a lengthy assessment of the applicant’s physical and developmental disability or mental impairment. Medical diagnostic report or records have to be included in the application package.

As mentioned above, the medical professional and the applicant both have to attest the Form N-648, taking full responsibility for the genuineness of the information given in the form. There is no submission fee and it has to be mailed along with the Naturalization application. If there is any false information provided in the form, affidavit or other supporting documents or if the applicant presents any such document, he/she will be fined or imprisoned for not more than 10 years or both.

Crimes That Can Prevent You From Getting US Citizenship

August 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

You have to meet many eligibility requirements to qualify for American citizenship. One important requirement is that you should be a person of good moral character. If you commit certain crimes during the five years prior to filing the citizenship form or even if you lie during their naturalization interview, you will not be considered to be of “good moral character” and your case will be denied.

A few of the behaviors that show lack of good moral character are drunk driving or being drunk most of the time, illegal gambling, prostitution, telling lies to gain immigration benefits, failing to pay court-ordered child support, committing terrorist acts, persecuting someone because of race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or social group.

Certain crimes will bar you from becoming an American citizen and if you commit those, you probably will be removed from the country. These crimes are generally known “bars” to naturalization. Crimes that come under “aggravated felonies” are murder, rape, sexual abuse of a child, violent assault, treason, and illegal trafficking in drugs, firearms, or people and will result in permanent bars to naturalization.

Persons exempted or discharged from serving in the US Armed Forces and those who deserted from the US Armed Forces are also permanently barred from American Citizenship. The chances of citizenship getting denied is more if you behave in other ways that show you do not have good moral character. There are other crimes that result in temporary bars. Temporary bars prevent you from becoming a US citizen for up to five years since you committed the crime.

While filing the citizenship form, it is very important that you are transparent in disclosing any crime that you committed. Even if the crime was removed from your record or you committed a crime before your 18th birthday, it is mandatory that you report it. If you try to hide such information, citizenship will denied and will also lead to your prosecution. So always be transparent and truthful with the information you provide in your application.

Immigration process, at times can be sophisticated. You can avail the services of a licensed immigration lawyer for any assistance. You can get in touch with your local bar association for assistance in finding a qualified lawyer. Some states certify specialists in US immigration law. However, it is up to decide whether to hire a particular attorney. If you do not have enough money to hire a lawyer, you have some low cost or free assistance options. You can get help from:

  • A Recognized Organization : To qualify, the organization should have adequate knowledge and experience to offer services to those seeking. Such organizations are recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). They charge or accept a very minimal fee for such assistance.
  • An Accredited Representative : Such persons,connected to BIA “recognized organizations” too offer services and charge a minimal fee for the services they render.
  • A Qualified Representative : These persons offer free services. They should have sufficient knowledge in US immigration laws and the rules of practice in court. Law school students and graduates and people with good moral character who have a personal or professional affiliation come under “qualified representatives”.
  • Free Legal Service Providers : There are many attorneys and organizations available to represent immigrants in proceedings before Immigration Courts. Attorneys and organizations help immigrants without accepting any fees only in immigration proceedings. Some may not be able to help you with non-court-related issues such as visa petitions, naturalization, etc.

USCIS Facilities for Applicants With Disabilities

July 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offer applicants with disabilities the same access to its programs, activities and facilities as it does for other normal applicants. The USCIS provides different accommodations and it depends on the individual’s disability.

Through various measures, the USICS allows applicants with disabilities to successfully participate in the immigration process. If you are not able to use your hands, USCIS will allow you to take the test orally rather than in writing. They also will provide a sign language interpreter for an appointment or a USCIS-sponsored event if you are hearing-impaired. Apart from these, USCIS makes things easier and will you at your home or a hospital if you are not able to travel to a designated location for an interview.

If you need an accommodation due to a disability OR if the disability prevents you from going to the USCIS office as scheduled, just call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 (TDD: 1-800-767-1833). But if you are a naturalization applicant who wants an exception from the English and/or civics testing requirements, do not call the NCSC. If you are claiming such exception, file Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. This form is strictly for applicants filing for American citizenship who want to get an exception to the English and civics test because of physical or developmental disability or mental impairment.

You can request an accommodation for any interaction with USCIS that includes an ASC appointment, Info Pass appointment, interview appointment or naturalization ceremony. You can also request an accommodation to attend a USCIS public event such as town hall meeting. To do this, just call the NCSC at any time. If you are seeking an accommodation for an appointment related to your application/petition, call after you receive your appointment notice.

You have the option to mention in the application that you need an accommodation. Even then you are required to call the NCSC. You will have to call the NCSC to request an accommodation for each and every obligation, which means that if you need an accommodation for your biometrics appointment you should call the NCSC and then call again if you need an accommodation for your interview.

 

 

 

American Citizenship

July 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

Being conferred American citizenship is a tremendous honor and no easy accomplishment. There are major reasons as to why certain immigrants want to get the highest immigration status in the US. But there are other who, though eligible are satisfied just being a permanent resident.

Why American citizenship ?

The desire to get benefits, for oneself or one’s family, is a major reason immigrants give for taking the initiative towards naturalization. The desire to go for economic opportunities, to advance one’s position and to live in the greater comfort of the American way of life is another major motive behind going for naturalization.

The third reason why immigrants go for citizenship is to fight discrimination and ensure equal treatment. Only very few say they want to become citizens to qualify to vote. Voting and civic engagement may receive high priority as civic values, but they do not endorse high on the open-ended list of reasons for becoming a citizen.

The urge to unite with family or to help other family members who want to come to the United States.

What stops immigrants from going for citizenship

Some immigrants are not yet eligible. Some don’t have time. The cost involved while filing the application for citizenship is another major factor. Some do not meet the standard English requirements. And many do not know how to go about the process.

While filing the US citizenship application, one needs to pass an English and Civics test. It is language skill and not educational level, that is the barrier. Rates of naturalization are strongly related to one’s English language ability. The test is disproportionately a test of English ability. To have knowledge of US civics and government, one need not have a high school or college education. This knowledge ca n easily gained by persons of almost all educational levels.

Not having formal education is not the barrier to passing the citizenship test. The Cost (submission fee) is another factor that is a barrier in the naturalization process. Another significant reason for not pursuing naturalization is that many do not intend to remain in the United States forever. Ease of reverse migration and proximity to one’s home country allows immigrants to maintain their distinct culture and language to a greater extent.

 

 

 

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