After The Citizenship Interview

November 16, 2011 § 3 Comments

The naturalization interview is a very important phase in the naturalization process and it is strongly advised not to miss your interview. If you cannot make it, ensure that you write the office where your interview is to be conducted as soon as possible and request to have your interview rescheduled.

Rescheduling an interview may add to the naturalization process, resulting in a delay in getting your citizenship certificate. So make sure not to change your original interview date. If you do not attend the interview without notifying USCIS, they will “administratively close” your case. If you do not contact them to schedule a new interview within one year after the USCIS closes your case, they will deny your application.

Also make sure the USCIS has your most current address. If they don’t have it, you may not receive any important information from them. It may not be possible for them to notify you about the date and time of your naturalization interview or about additional supporting documents you may be required to send or bring.

If you move to another address after filing your naturalization application, call the USCIS at their toll free telephone number 1-800-375-5283 to change your address on your pending application. Every time you move, it is mandatory by law to inform the USCIS of your new address. To do this, you should file an “Alien’s Change of Address Card” (Form AR-11), apart form calling Customer Service. An important factor to keep in mind is that you should file the Form AR-11 within 10 days of you having moved. However, there is filing fee for this form. Adding to this, you should also keep the U.S. Postal Service aware of your new address to ensure that any mail to you may be forwarded to the new address.

You will become a full fledged US citizen as soon as you take the Oath of Allegiance to the US in a formal naturalization ceremony. Under certain circumstances, you can take the Oath the same day as your interview. If you are not left with that option, or if you choose to have the ceremony at a later date, USCIS will keep you posted of the ceremony date with a Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony”.

If you are not able to go to the oath ceremony on the said date, you will have to return the “Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony” (Form N-445) you received to the local USCIS office. Enclose a letter mentioning the reasons as to why you cannot attend the ceremony. Remember to keep a copy of the notice and your letter before you send them to USCIS. On receiving your letter, the USCIS office will reschedule the date and send you a new “Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony” (Form N-445) that will have the re scheduled date.

Not all applications will be approved. If your case is rejected and you think that USCIS was wrong in rejecting the application, you have the right to request a hearing with an immigration officer. The letter the USCIS sends will have the details as to how to request a hearing and will include the form you need. Form N-336, Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings under Section 336 of the INA” is the form for filing an appeal. You have to file this form, along with the required fee to USCIS within 30 days of having received the denial letter.


Renewing Your US Passport by Mail

August 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

You may apply for a renewal of your US passport by mail if you already have a U.S. passport that is not damaged and if you received it within the past 15 years. In addition to this, you should have been at least 16 years of age when it was issued and should still have the same name as on the passport or you can legally document your name change.

However, there are some exceptions for apply by mail ;

  • US citizens residing abroad (except those living in Canada) should renew their passports at the nearest US Embassy or US Consulate
  • US citizens residing in Canada may mail DS-82 renewal applications to the address indicated on the form. However, the payment has to be in US currency.
  • If your passport has been mutilated, altered, or damaged, you cannot apply by mail. You are required to apply in person.

It is important to note that if you are behind in child support payments, you may not be able to get a passport

If you qualify to renew by mail,you have to

  • complete form DS-82, Application for Passport by Mail form. You have to sign and date the application.

You have attach to the application:

  • your most recent passport
  • two identical passport sized photographs
  • the fee payable to the US Department of State
  • expedited service fee (If Applicable).

If your name has changed after your passport was issued, you must also include a certified copy of the legal document specifying your name change (such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree, or a court order). No photocopies are accepted. If your name has been changed by other means, you must apply in person.

Your previous passport will be returned to you with your new passport. If you mutilate or alter your US passport, you may invalidate it and risk possible persecution under the law. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip and/or have two to four blank visa/stamp pages. Some airlines will not allow you to board if these requirements are not met.


Benefits Of Being A Green Card Holder

May 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

There are many ways to become a lawful permanent resident(green card holder) of the US. If you family member is a US citizen or a green card holder, they can sponsor you for a green card. You can also get one through the Diversity Visa lottery program that is conducted annually.You can also get a green card through employment.

Green card holders (lawful permanent residents) have the right to apply for government-sponsored financial aid for education. They need not pay the normal full tuition for university and college. This study is also called the”in-state” tuition or “resident” tuition. It is, in most cases is 3 to 4 times lesser than what other foreigners pay. Green card holders also have the permission to work in any company located in US territory regardless of job function, hours/week, etc. except for certain positions/companies that only hire U.S. citizens. There is no need for an employer to sponsor them either. It is mandatory in some jobs that security clearance is needed and only green card holders and US citizens have the right. Green card holders get more job opportunities.

A green card also gives your the permission to start your own business and create your own corporation. On retirement, you are eligible for Social Security benefits, if you worked for 10 years (40 quarters) before retiring. You can bring your spouse and unmarried minor children under 21 to the US and help them get permanent status. If you sponsored your family members for a green card, it will still hold good even if you lose your job or pass away.

With a work permit, the principle visa holder’s spouse and minor unmarried children under 21 years of age can stay in the US as dependents. Though you have a work permit, your children have to get student visas to study and work visas to work. But after they get a green card, they can stay in the US even after turning 21 years old and even if they get married.

In addition to these benefits, green card holders have access to security clearances, become eligible for government grants and are exempted from export restrictions. They can enjoy most legal rights under US law, except for voting rights for which one has to be a US citizens. Only green card holders are eligible to apply for american citizenship as being a green card holder is the main eligibility requirements when it comes to filing the citizenship form. It is not mandatory that all green card holders have to take US Citizenship. One can remain a green card holder forever.

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