Understand the Options
Watch: Do you have a family plan?
Mira: ¿Tiene un plan familiar?
Watch: Why documenting your life in the US is so important
Mira: Por qué documentar tu vida en los Estados Unidos es tan importante
Christine saved us a lot of headache going through the entire immigration process. The immigration office messed up when they got my son's bio-metric data ...
I called Christine and she was right on top of it. She made a few phone calls and fixed it. We really felt like she had us covered the entire time.
Notice to Appear
When you receive a Notice to Appear, it includes a specific date and time to appear at Immigration Court.
Do not admit to any allegations or charges until you have a consultation with an immigration attorney.
Apply for Citizenship
Obtaining U.S. citizenship through naturalization is what many immigrants want. Here are the main requirements you need to meet before you apply for U.S. citizenship:
- You must be in the US during the three months prior to filing your application.
- You must demonstrate “physical presence” in the US for the five years preceding your application.
- This doesn’t mean you can’t travel but you can’t be outside the US for more than 180 days during any one calendar year.
- There are a few circumstances, such as military service abroad, that are valid exceptions to the five-year physical presence rule.
- If you are outside the US for more than a year, you should consult with a licensed immigration attorney to discuss your specific situation.
- If you are married to a US citizen who is employed abroad, you should consult with a licensed immigration attorney to discuss whether an uncommon benefit, under INA Section 319(b), applies and you (the LPR) qualify for expedited naturalization.
In addition, you must prove you are a person of good moral character, which is typically addressed by a lack of a criminal history (traffic tickets are usually not important), completing your state and federal income taxes each year, and paying any back taxes owed. Though the government tends to focus on five years immediately preceding the application for citizenship, anything done at any time while you were in the U.S. can be considered for good moral character.
Swenson Law Office, PC, goes the extra mile and continues to work with our clients by practicing for their interview and citizenship test. We highly recommend the materials USCIS provides on its website for home study. We focus on our client’s ability to answer questions asked verbally in English, writing in English, and more.
Individuals who are subject to persecution (torture) because of your race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group in another country may qualify for asylum in the United States.
Humanitarian visas can be granted for a number of reasons.
Protect Your Family
You may be able to sponsor your spouse, parents or your children.
There are four family-based immigration visa categories:
- US citizens can petition (or sponsor) for their parents, spouses, and unmarried children. For spouses and parents, there is no long wait. As quickly as a petition can be processed, your spouse or parent can be with you immediately. Unfortunately, there is a wait – quite a long one depending on the country your children are citizens of. Known as "first preference family-based".
- If you hold a green card, you are a lawful permanent resident (LPRs) and you can petition for your spouse and your children. LPRs cannot sponsor their parents. Spouses and unmarried children under age 21 are treated differently than unmarried children over age 21. For the first group (spouses and unmarried children under age 21) , there is a wait, but as of today, that is just a few years – which for immigration is pretty good, sadly. Known as "second preference family-based".
- US citizens also have the ability to sponsor their married children. There is an extensive wait with this type of family petition but, if it is the only way to immigrate to the US, it is useful. Known as "third preference family-based".
- US citizens can petition for their siblings. As with the third preference, there is an extraordinary wait. Known as "fourth preference family-based".