The Road to Citizenship

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"The Road To Citizenship"

1. Benefits of Citizenship
2. Requirements for Citizenship
3. The English & Civics Tests
4. Application, Interview, and Oath Procedures

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The Road to Citizenship

  1. 1. The Road to Citizenship May 18, 2011 Hosted by: Bashyam Spiro LLP Immigration Law Group Ame Coats & Murali Bashyam www.bashyamspiro.com
  2. 2. Outline Today’s Dialogue Map… <ul><ul><li>Benefits of Citizenship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requirements for Citizenship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The English & Civics Tests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Application, Interview, and Oath Procedures </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Benefits <ul><ul><li>Right to Vote </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to Sponsor Certain Relatives for Lawful Permanent Residence in the US </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom to Reside Abroad </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Consequences You may lose citizenship with another country. Check with the country’s embassy in the United States.
  5. 5. General Requirements <ul><ul><li>At least 18 years old </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lawful Permanent Resident for 5 Years </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exceptions include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spouses of US Citizens (Must be LPR for 3 years and still be living with spouse. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must prove shared life. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Members of the US Armed Forces </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Residency Requirements <ul><ul><li>3 months residing within the state or USCIS district </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical Presence – ½ of the required period in LPR status must be physically present in the US </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Continuous Residence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Absences between 6 months and 1 year —Presumption that the requirement of continuous residence has been broken. However, you can present evidence of ties to the US during this period which may overcome this presumption. </li></ul><ul><li>Absences of more than 1 year —Automatically break continuity of residence </li></ul>
  7. 7. Good Moral Character Requirement <ul><li>Generally USCIS looks at the 5 year period prior to filing (or 3 years if married to USC) </li></ul><ul><li>Common Problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Criminal Issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>USCIS finds problem with Applicant’s old green card case </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Failure to register for selective service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Failure to pay child support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Failure to pay taxes </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Principals of Constitution Requirement <ul><li>Attachment to the Principles of the Constitution Required. </li></ul><ul><li>Common Problem Regarding Oath of Allegiance: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If the law requires it, are you willing to bear arms on behalf of the US? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If the law requires it, are you willing to perform noncombatant services in the US Armed Forces? </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Ability to Read, Write, and Speak English: The Test: Informal— Ability to answer questions asked by USCIS Examiner Formal— Write a sentence which is read aloud by Examiner & read a sentence selected by Examiner. USCIS has posted 2 vocabulary lists to study… English Test
  10. 10. <ul><li>Knowledge of US History and Government </li></ul><ul><li>The Test: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At the interview, the Examiner will ask up to 10 questions aloud. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You must get 6 out of 10 correct. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>USCIS posts 100 questions for study purposes. Examiner will draw questions directly from this list. </li></ul></ul>Civics Test
  11. 11. <ul><li>What happens if I don’t pass the English or Civics Test? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Second Chance Interview Possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exempted from English Requirement: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Over 50, LPR for 20 years </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Over 55, LPR for 15 years </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easier Civics Test </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Over 65, LPR for over 20 years </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Waiver: If disability or mental impairment prevents Applicant from learning English/Civics or demonstrating knowledge of English/Civics. </li></ul></ul>Fear of Failure!
  12. 12. <ul><ul><li>Filed on Form N-400 which can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/n-400 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Application Fee - $680 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Filing location depends on state. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>See form instructions. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average Processing Time: Depends on backlog at local office. National goal and national average is 5 months. </li></ul></ul>Application Procedures
  13. 13. <ul><ul><li>Examiner will ask every question on N-400. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May examine green card, driver’s license, passport, and any other required documents. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>English and Civics Test </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Second Officer must sign off on Application. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Receive Notice Recommending Approval. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oath usually not taken same day. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oath Notice will be given to you by hand or by mail. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If no recommended approval: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>USCIS will eventually approve, request additional information, or deny. </li></ul></ul>Interview
  14. 14. <ul><ul><li>At Oath Ceremony, turn in green card, take oath, accept naturalization certificate. Guests and cameras are usually welcome. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You may apply immediately for US passport at designated US Post Offices. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On the day you become a citizen - Children under 18, residing in US Citizen’s legal and physical custody, who already have LPR status are automatically US citizens (But you must apply for US Passport for them. Can also apply for a Cert. of Citizenship) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>File petitions for other relatives if desired. For categories with long wait times such as brother/sister of USC, best to file immediately. </li></ul></ul>Oath & Beyond…
  15. 15. Questions for us?
  16. 16. Thank you for attending. VISIT OUR MEDIA LIBRARY www.bashyamspiro.com For more information, contact: 919-833-0840 [email_address] [email_address] CONNECT WITH US: FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/bashyamspiro TWITTER: www.twitter.com/bashyamspiro
  17. 17. Join us for our next webinar… Changing Jobs During the Permanent Residency Process Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 Time: 10:00-10:30 AM EST Visit www.bashyamspiro.com to register TODAY!

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