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If you are preparing to move forward with naturalization, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the process and prepare for your interview. For example, you should take a look at how the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services carries out background checks.

The outcome of a background investigation can have an impact on an applicant’s ability to go ahead with a naturalization interview, and you may need to review unique issues (such as securing a fingerprint waiver).

Naturalization and fingerprint requirements

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, those pursuing naturalization must go through background checks that include fingerprints and name checks with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). You must satisfy these requirements before you can attend a naturalization interview.

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Once you successfully emigrate from your country of origin to the United States, it is only natural for you to want to bring others of your family to join you here.

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, advises that you have two visa options: Family Preference and Immediate Relative. The question then becomes: Which type of visa can you more easily obtain? The answer depends on who you need to obtain the visa for.

Immediate Relative visas

Assuming you are a permanent U.S. resident, Immediate Relative visas are easier to obtain than Family Preference visas. The U.S. government issues an unlimited number of IR visas each year. The downside, however, is that you can only obtain this class of visas for your immediate family members. The following lists the five types of Immediate Relative visas and your family members to whom each applies:

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Being an American citizen comes with a variety of important and valuable benefits. Still, if you are not a citizen of the U.S., it is imperative to understand the consequences of claiming to be one. Simply put, making a false claim to U.S. citizenship may make you forever ineligible to become a legal permanent resident or to obtain a nonimmigrant visa.

Falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen makes you inadmissible to the country. This means immigration officials will not allow you to enter legally. It also makes you deportable, meaning government lawyers may try to remove you from the country.

No general waiver

There are several grounds for both inadmissibility and deportability. With many of these grounds, though, a person can seek a waiver. With a waiver, government officials essentially agree to ignore your violations of U.S. immigration law.

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After all of the excitement of getting your U.S. citizenship, you may wonder what comes next. Getting involved in your community and celebrating your accomplishments can help you embrace your newfound freedom.

Knowing some of the things you can do after completing the naturalization process may help you identify your next steps. Setting goals for your progress may increase your motivation for the future.

Learn about your privileges

Your citizenship opens a whole world of possibilities. In fact, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, after acquiring citizenship you have the chance to get your passport, update your driver’s license and register to vote. Each of these tasks requires various documentation and the completion of an application.

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One of the steps to become a citizen of the United States is to take the naturalization test. This is a requirement unless you qualify for an exemption. You may qualify for exemptions because of age or medical disability.

If you do not qualify for an exemption, the test consists of two parts: A civics test and an English language test.

1. Civics test

The civics test consists of questions about the history of the United States and how its government functions. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the civics test underwent a change in 2020. Under the new rules, the examiner will ask you 20 questions out of a possible 128. To pass this portion of the test, you must answer 12 of the 20 questions correctly.

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One of the primary objectives of U.S. immigration law is to keep families together. Consequently, if you are a U.S. citizen and marry a person who lives elsewhere, you probably have a streamlined process for securing legal permanent residency for your spouse.

Even though the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services wants to reunify families, immigration officials also want to prevent immigration fraud. Therefore, you can expect a USCIS officer to determine whether you have a bona fide marriage before approving your immigration paperwork.

Your marriage is for the right reasons

Everyone has his or her own reasons for choosing to walk down the aisle. To comply with U.S. immigration law, however, your marriage must not be for the purpose of securing immigration benefits. Therefore, you should provide evidence that shows your marriage has love and commitment as its foundation.

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If you are applying for a green card, you are probably looking forward to the benefits of being a permanent resident. As a permanent resident, you can live and work anywhere in the U.S.

If you are currently living in the United States, you will need to apply for an adjustment of status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This application process is complex, and you will want to avoid these common mistakes that could lead to delays or denial.

Failing to provide required supporting documents

There are many different documents that you will need to include with your green card application. The exact requirements will depend on your unique situation. For example, if a spouse is sponsoring you, you and your spouse may need to provide a marriage certificate, joint leases and joint bank account statements. Other commonly required supporting documents include:

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Starting over anew in a different country is often enough to rattle even the strongest of people. However, getting started on the right foot can help build a strong foundation that can make the transition easier to bear.

With the right authorization, it is possible for your fiancé to gain the ability to work, which is one step toward making the process of transitioning smooth.

Work authorization approval

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services take a look at how fiancé visas work in the country. They note that after your fiancé arrives in the country, they can apply for work authorization with form I-765. If approved, this privilege lasts for 90 days. If your fiancé applies for a green card at the same time, the privilege lasts for one year instead.

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Naturalization is the culmination of the American Dream for many immigrants who come to the United States, and you may have similar goals as well as questions about how to become a citizen. In most cases, discovering your eligibility is the first step in the process.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration notes that several factors, such as your parents’ citizenship status, can help you determine your own status and which you must meet before you reach eligibility.

Age

You must reach the age of 18 before attempting to apply for naturalization. You may want to obtain documents that prove your age. Children under the age of 18 receive automatic citizenship if they were born in the U.S. or if their parents carry U.S. citizenship.

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Immigrants face many challenges as they work to settle and build a life in Texas and the rest of the United States. These challenges are often exacerbated when the immigrants are undocumented and local law enforcement officials are not playing by the rules.

According to CNN, the Real County sheriff in Texas is being investigated for stealing money during traffics tops from undocumented immigrants. Although no charges were filed, the attorney general’s office and the Texas Rangers executed search warrants in the small county located close to 90 miles away from the United States and Mexico border.

Immigration disagreements often fuel allegations

Local government officials have often sparred and disagreed with the current presidential administration over issues such as immigration. In Texas, property and money can be seized during a stop if there is clear evidence that links it to some type of criminal activity. The allegations leveled against the sheriff suggest that he seized money that was not involved in any specific crime.

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What is the extreme hardship waiver?

Posted on in green cards

An immigration waiver can help you to get a visa for yourself or a loved one in circumstances where you may otherwise be unable to. Getting a waiver is not an easy process, but if you meet the requirements and can provide all required information and documentation, it can be a blessing.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains one wavier option is for extreme hardship.

The waiver

The extreme hardship waiver is available in situations where the refusal of a visa to a person would cause serious problems for a family member who is a citizen or lawful legal resident. Extreme hardship can mean different things depending on your situation. For example, if the reason you need a waiver is more serious, then the hardship your family is facing must be more serious.

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Recently, you received your green card and all the benefits it offers. As time goes on, you may need to replace your card to remain a lawful permanent U.S. resident.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services breaks down the basics of replacing your green card. Understand how to maintain your status and have one less thing to worry about.

When to get a replacement green card

After you become a lawful permanent resident, certain situations may require you to replace your green card. Such situations include when your current green card expires or expires in six months, you received your card before turning 14 and turn 14 soon, commuters take up residence in the U.S. and permanent U.S. residents become commuters. You must also apply for a new green card if your current card becomes mutilated, damaged, destroyed or stolen.

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You may need to travel to another country as an immigrant or while you await the processing of your application. In this case, you must ensure you have the necessary travel documents to legally return to this country.

In general, there are four documents travelers need, including advance parole, refugee travel document, re-entry permit, and carrier documentation. It is important to get these documents organized before your trip, as it can prevent any delays when or issues when re-entering the country.

Advance parole

Advance parole documents take the place of a visa, as airlines will accept them when it comes to re-entry into the U.S. However, you will also need to have a passport. Advance parole doanother re-entry documentcuments are necessary for people with pending applications when registering as a permanent resident or awaiting adjustment of status. It is also required for asylum seekers to await a decision on their applications.

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In December, the House passed a version of the Build Back Better act that reforms family-based immigration waivers. The act will now go to the Senate for final approval.

Learn how Build Back Better could improve the waiver process for your family if it becomes law.

New adjustment of status requirements

Under the new law, family-based applications for adjustment of status could apply right away. You must pay a fee of $1,500 along with $250 for each additional dependent. Currently, you must wait for a visa to become available in your category before applying for an adjustment of status.

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It is no secret that immigration laws have a high level of complexity. This rings true if you hope to get a green card for any of the valid reasons available to you.

Even after you have successfully applied, you still need to follow certain steps to make sure your application remains active.

Stay engaged

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services emphasizes the importance of keeping a current address on file with the agency. While this seems like a simple task, failure to do so could result in missed information that is crucial to your application.

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Your green card and your career

Posted on in green cards

Wanting to gain U.S. citizenship can motivate you to get a job and learn more about your new home. Having a green card can facilitate your effort to pass the naturalization requirements.

The advantage of having a green card is that you do not have to wait until you have citizenship to start working in the United States.

Participate in your community

The process of obtaining a green card is easiest when you have another family member who already has U.S. citizenship. With their help, you can petition for legal residency of your own. Once granted, you can apply for your own social security card, as well as follow the requirements to get a driver’s license. Both of these privileges allow you to actively participate in your community.

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Completing the naturalization test is one of the final steps in your journey to becoming a citizen of the United States of America. As with any test, the more you prepare, the higher your probability of passing.

Knowing some preparation strategies can optimize your studying efforts. With a confident understanding of the testing materials, you can have a winning chance at a satisfactory outcome.

Testing components

The naturalization test will assess your understanding of critical aspects of citizenship. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you will complete the test in two parts. The English portion of the test will give you an opportunity to show your ability to read, write, speak and comprehend the language. The civics portion of the test will determine your understanding of basic governmental principles, as well as the history of the U.S.

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What are joint sponsors?

Posted on in fiancé visas

If you opt for a K-1 fiancé visa, then one of the most important parts is the ability to meet the corresponding income requirement. The sponsor – in this case, the fiancé – must have the financial means to support their spouse.

If you cannot support your significant other in this case, what can you do? You can turn to a joint sponsor. This person is a third party that agrees to sign an affidavit, stating they will support the sponsor.

What is joint sponsorship?

RapidVisa discusses your options when aiming for joint sponsorship, along with discussing what goal this option serves. You can pick certain people to serve as your joint sponsor, but they must meet certain requirements first. They must be at least 18 years old and either have permanent residency or be a citizen of the United States. On top of that, they need a domicile in the country and also meet the minimum income requirements of the K-1 visa.

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For those who are not born in the United States, obtaining permanent residence may seem overwhelming. Whether you have a close family member who has already achieved permanent residence, or your family member is a U.S. citizen, there are steps you must follow in order to complete the immigration process.

Not only is it helpful to understand these steps and the green card application process, it helps to know just how long the entire process will take.

What is the timeline?

The process of achieving a family-based green card varies depending on the circumstances of your situation. According to Boundless, the following are general timelines for more common situations:

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We hope all goes well with your immigration, but unforeseen circumstances could bring your plans to a standstill. For instance, what happens if your U.S. sponsor/spouse dies before you receive your visa?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains how to navigate a principal beneficiary or petitioners’ death. This turn of events does not have to bar you from fulfilling your desires for citizenship.

Widowers and widows

Widows and widowers of U.S. citizens may apply for a green card within two years of their petitioning spouse’s or principal beneficiary’s death. This only applies if the two of you had a legitimate marriage rather than one arranged for a green card. If you and your petitioner or beneficiary separated when she or he died, or if you remarried, you do not qualify to apply for a green card. If you have children younger than 21, they may join you as derivatives.

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