Consular Processing

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) , there are two major paths for one to permanent resident status (green card). A persons who is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition and has an immigrant visa number available may apply at a US Consulate in his/her home country for an immigrant visa to come to the US and be admitted as a permanent resident. This process is generally known as Consular processing.

Another process is adjustment of status through which an eligible person, who is already present in the US can apply for permanent resident status without having to return to his/her home country for further processing.

Steps for Consular Processing

Firstly, you have to determine if you fit into a particular immigrant category. In most cases, you will become eligible for a green card through a petition filed on your behalf by a family member or a US employer. There are others who become green card holders by getting refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions provided in the INA.

Once you determine the category, you will need to have an immigrant petition filed on your behalf, in most cases.

  • Family Based

Under this category, a US citizen or permanent resident relative should file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for you.

  • Employment Based

This category quite often require the US employer to file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for you. If you want to invest a significant amount of capital into a business venture in the US, you can file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” by yourself. There are certain other Special Classes of Immigrants and humanitarian programs as well

Although immigrant petitions are filed with USCIS, at times, an I-130 petition can be filed for an immediate relative with a US Consulate abroad, subject to certain conditions.

If the petition is denied, USCIS will mention the reasons for the denial and will notify you about your right to appeal. If the petition is approved and if you are the beneficiary of the petition and living abroad or living in the US, but will apply for your immigrant visa abroad, USCIS will send the approved petition to the National Visa Center and the petition will be there until an immigrant visa number is available.

The National Visa Center will notify the petitioner and beneficiary when the visa petition is received and then again when an immigrant visa number is likely to become available. They will also inform when they have to submit immigrant visa processing fees and other information about the supporting documentation.

Once a visa is available or a beneficiary’s priority date becomes current, the consular office will schedule an interview for the applicant. The consular office will then decide if the beneficiary is eligible for a visa. If the process goes on smoothly, you will be granted a visa. The consular officer will give you a packet of information, referred as a “Visa Packet.”. Make sure you do not open this packet.

Once you arrive in the US, you have to hand over the visa packet to the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry. You will then be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer and only if they find you admissible, you will be admitted as a permanent resident of the US. As a permanent resident , you can live and work in the US permanently. Your green card will be mailed to you.

Advertisements

Using Citizenship Form In Becoming US Citizen

August 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

To become US Citizen one must meet certain requirements. You can become US Citizen by birth or after birth.

To become US Citizen at birth:

• You must be born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States

• You must had a parent or have a parents when you born with Citizenship

To become US Citizen after birth:

•You must apply for citizenship through including naturalization

Green Card is an important step in the way of getting US Citizenship and it allows immigrants to live and work in the United State without time restriction. Green Card subjected for renewal every 10 years.

Once you get Citizenship, you can enjoy all the rights and privileges like any other American Citizen.

The Requirement to get American Citizenship as per the law:

• You must be stayed in America for a minimum of 5 years (3 years for marriage based) as a permanent resident and if any absences shouldn’t be more than year.

• You should be 18 years old and should be of good moral character.

• You must have knowledge in English language and able to speak, write, read.

• You must be able to understand and demonstrate the knowledge of history and government of America.

• You should prove that you are attached to the American Constitution’s principles and must take oath of allegiance.

To apply for Citizenship, you must file the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization with the USCIS. You need to send this application through mail with required document and the application fee $595 to the Application Service Centre serving their area. To avoid rejection, application fee need to send along with your Naturalization application, information on application to be correct according to your knowledge.

Either you can pay the fee through cheque or money order drawn on a U.S bank and payable to the Department of Homeland Security.  Those who reside in Guam should make the fee payable to the “Treasurer, Guam” and US Virgin Islands residents should make the fee payable to the “Commissioner of Finance of the Virgin Islands.”

The Application $595 is not included for Fingerprinting fee which include your photograph and signature. If all the required documents are sent properly with the fee, you will be informed to appear for fingerprint process and also you should attend interview. Most of the Naturalization applicant as a part of the application process must take an English and Civics (US history and government) tests. Depending on your performance in the English and Civics test and completeness of the application, decision will finalised. Depending on age and health factors, some applicants can claim a waiver for the tests.

Asylum Process in the United States

August 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

There two ways to get asylum status in US. Affirmative process and Defensive process are the two ways. From past five years US has become top receiving country for asylum seekers.

To apply for asylum, applicants have to apply within one year of arriving in the US and physically present in the United States under  the ”Affirmative Asylum” process. By submitting the Form I-589, application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal to USCIS one can get the affirmative asylum. And can live in the United States while your application is pending before USCIS and also can remain in the United States if you found ineligible.

To apply for “Defensive Asylum” Processing, you must be in removal proceedings in immigration court with the Executive Officers for Immigration Review (EQIR). Asylum seekers will receive the receipt once their application is received by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and they should visit their nearest Application Service Centre for fingerprint.

Once the fingerprinting is done, asylum seekers will receive interview notice within 21 days and also applicants must receive interview notice within 45 days from the date they are filed. Before asylum officer reviews the case, applicant must made decision on the case within 180 days of the application being filed and their decision is further reviewed by a supervisor. These reviews will be undertaken by the senior staff. Applicants should expect to receive a decision on their case within the 60 days of submitting their form.

After the review, if application is rejected the asylum seeker will receive a “Notice of Intent to Deny” with 16 days time to respond to the court. If no response from the applicant, final denial is issued and applicant is removed from the US.

Filing Declaration of Intent

January 8, 2012 § 1 Comment

Naturalization can be simply termed as the process where a foreign national becomes an American citizen voluntarily. There are many eligibility requirements you need to satisfy prior to applying. You have to be a permanent resident (green card holder) for five years and it is three years if you are married to a US citizen and still living with the US citizen spouse.

Other significant requirements include fulfilling continuous residence and physical presence. If you are not married to a US citizen, you should have resided in the US for a continuous period of five years after getting into the US as a permanent resident. If you are married to a US citizen, the period is reduced to three years after admission to the US as a permanent resident.

If you are married to a US citizen, you should have been physically present in the US accumulatively for eighteen months within three years prior to the date of applying for citizenship. If you are not married to a US citizen, you should have been physically present in the US accumulatively for thirty months within five years before the date of filing the application. This requirement is cumulative but not continuous. There are other requirements as well.

What is the Declaration of Intent and who should file?

In certain cases, lawful permanent residents (LPR) are required to submit a Declaration of intent when they file their naturalization application. Though not mandatory for all applicants, some states want this to be submitted if the LPR wishes to conduct business or engage in certain professions in that state.

A LPR who is at least 18 yrs old can file this declaration. Make note that the applicant has to be in the US while filing the form. Form N-300 is the form used to file Declaration of Intention and it has to be filed with the USCIS.

Filing Procedures:

Your application has to be complete and free from errors. Place a copy of the permanent resident card in the package. Two passport sized photographs are also mandatory. It has to be taken within 30 days of applying and if it is a digital photograph, it should be at least 3.5 mega pixels. Pay attention to all such details.

Information regarding the supporting document list is detailed in the instructions pages that accompany the form. Mail the entire package to the USCIS Lockbox facility at Dallas. If you opt for express mail or courier, send it to the USCIS lockbox facility at Lewisville. I f you like to receive e – notification for your submitted application, complete Form G-1145E and include it in the package.

A check or money order for $250, the submission fee has to drawn on a US bank or other financial institution payable to the US Department of Homeland Security. Do not use Initials DHS or USDHS Read the filing instructions carefully before filing. If you send a check, it will be converted into electronic funds. The USCIS will make a copy of the check and destroy the original one.

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.

Think Before Renouncing Your US Citizenship

June 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

Section 349(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) governs the ability of a US citizen to renounce his/her US citizenship.

A person wishing to renounce his/her US citizenship should do so voluntarily and with intent to relinquish US citizenship, should appear in person before a US consular or diplomatic officer. He/she should do so in a foreign country (normally at a US Embassy or Consulate) and will be required to sign an oath of renunciation.

Renunciations that do not meet the conditions described above have no effect legally. US citizens cannot effectively renounce their citizenship by mail, through an agent, or while being in US. In fact, US courts have held certain attempts to renounce US citizenship to be ineffective on a variety of grounds, as discussed below.

Effects Of Renouncing US Citizenship

Renounce All Rights and Privileges

A US citizen who wants to renounce his/her citizenship cannot decide to retain some of the privileges of citizenship, as this would lead to logical inconsistency with the concept of renunciation. The Department of State will not approve a loss of citizenship in such instances.

Dual Nationality/Statelessness

If you are intending to renounce your American citizenship, you should be aware that, unless you already have a foreign nationality, you might be rendered stateless and will result in the lack of protection from any government. You will also experience difficulty while traveling as you may not be entitled to a passport from any country.

Even if you are not stateless, you have to get a visa to travel to the US, or show that you are eligible for admission pursuant to the terms of the Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP). If you are considered ineligible for a visa or the VWPP to come to the US, under certain circumstances you could be barred from entering the US. Nonetheless, renunciation of American citizenship may not prevent a foreign country from deporting you back to the US in some non-citizen status.

Tax and Military Obligations

Also, you should also be aware of the fact that if you renounce American citizenship, it may have no effect whatsoever on your US tax or military service obligations. Adding to this, renouncing American citizenship will not allow you to avoid possible prosecution for crimes which you may have committed in the US, or escape the repayment of financial obligations previously incurred in the US or what you incurred as a US citizen abroad.

Renunciation For Minor Children

You cannot renounce US citizenship on behalf of your minor children. Before an oath of renunciation will be administered, a person under the age of eighteen should be able to convince a US diplomatic or consular officer that he/she fully understands the nature and consequences of the oath of renunciation, is not subject to duress or undue influence, and is voluntarily seeking to renounce his/her citizenship.

Renunciation is Irrevocable

Another important fact to consider is that renunciation of American citizenship is irrevocable, except as provided in section 351 of the INA. It cannot be canceled or set aside. However, one who renounced his/her citizenship before the age of eighteen can have that citizenship reinstated if he/she makes that desire known to the Department of State within six months after attaining the age of eighteen.

If you are contemplating renouncing US citizenship, consider the effects of renouncing as described above before jumping to such a conclusion.

Refugee Status in the US

May 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Refugee Quotas:

Every year, the President of the United States will send a proposal to the Congress for the maximum number of refugees that can be admitted into the US for the upcoming fiscal year, as specified under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This number is also known as the “refugee ceiling“. Every year refugee advocates seek to raise the number whereas anti-immigration groups want to reduce it. Whatever their claims may be, once proposed, the refugee ceiling is normally accepted without substantial Congressional debate.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, there was a substantial disruption to the processing of resettlement claims with admissions falling to about 26,000 in the year 2002. All refugee claims were double checked for any suspicious activity and strict procedures were put in place to detect any possible terrorist infiltration to the country. Given the ease with which foreigners can otherwise legally enter the US, entry as a refugee is comparatively unlikely. The number of admitted refugees increased in subsequent years with the refugee ceiling for the fiscal year 2006 put at 70,000. These numbers however are still among the lowest in 30 years.

The applications submitted by individuals who have already entered the US are judged on whether they fulfill the US definition of a “refugee” and on many other criteria (including many bars that would prevent an otherwise-eligible refugee from receiving protection). There are two ways to apply for asylum while in the US

  • If an asylum seeker has been ordered for removal before an immigration judge with an Office that is a part of the Department of Justice, the individual can apply for asylum with the Immigration Judge.
  • If an asylum seeker is inside the US and has not been placed in removal proceedings, he/she can file an application with USCIS (formerly the INS), regardless of his/her legal status in the US. But if the asylum seeker does not hold legal immigration status and USCIS does not approve the asylum application, then the USCIS will order for removal proceedings. In such a case, a judge will consider the application. After the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act passed in 1996, an applicant must apply for asylum within one year of his/her entry or will be barred from applying unless the applicant can prove changed circumstances that are material to his/her eligibility for asylum or establish exceptional circumstances for the delay.

Though there is no right to asylum in the US, eligible applicants have a right to have the Attorney General make a determination as to whether the applicant can be admitted into the US as an asylee.

The applicant should have sufficient proof that he/she is eligible for asylum. To prove, the applicant must show that he/she has a well-founded fear of persecution in his/her home country because of either race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The applicant should demonstrate that he/she has a subjective fear (or apprehension) of future persecution in his/her home country that is objectively reasonable.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with US Citizenship at Understanding US Citizenship.