Do I need a lawyer to apply for US citizenship?
The process of filing a naturalization application is straightforward, and anyone comfortable with the English language and filling out forms could do it without an attorney. An attorney's role in a naturalization application is more about spotting issues that could cause the application to be denied (and your filing fees lost), or more serious issues that could put your legal status in jeopardy. For instance, I always say if you have ever been detained by the police for any reason you should talk to an attorney before filing an N-400. Sometimes people think they don't have a criminal record because a conviction has been expunged or a charge dismissed. Dismissed charges and expunged convictions need to be dealt with proactively on a naturalization application and this should be handled by an attorney. Also, some convictions that do not seem that serious or are misdemeanors under state law can have serious immigration consequences.Another issue that should be handled by an attorney is a trip abroad of more than 180 days. While this does not necessarily preclude a person from getting a green card, it does require analysis and explanation, best done by an attorney.Other red flags include tax issues (late filings, missed filings, overdue payments), separation shortly after receiving a green card through marriage, problems with child support or alimony, or quitting your job shortly after receiving your green card through work.Also, if you have a US citizen parent, at least speak briefly with an attorney before filing. It continually surprises me how frequently it happens that people have automatically derived citizenship through their parents without knowing it. In this situation, you will not be allowed to naturalize because you are already a citizen. This means you lose the money and time spent on the naturalization application, and then have to spend more money and time going through the different process of applying for proof of citizenship.If none of these factors apply to your situation, you could probably file your own N-400 without a problem. I agree with Joseph, however, that sometimes us attorneys can still be useful for simple cases! For instance, sometimes the government will issue nonsensical demands for unnecessary or irrelevant evidence, or an untrained officer will take a mistaken view of the law. In these cases it is faster and much less stressful to have an attorney who sees this sort of thing every day advocating for you. That's my totally biased two cents!
What should I do if I don't have written records/recollection of when and how many times I crossed the US/Canada border via road (for weekend escapes) when I am filing US USCIS citizenship N-400 application?
CBP will have a record of your entries into the United States. You can only get this information by filing a FOIA request, which can be done here: U.S. Customs and Border Protection. My own experience with this is that is takes quite a while to get a response - my own request took just over a year.Canada also maintains a database with records of entries in CBSA’s ICES system. You can make a request for this information from CBSA here: Travel History Report. The processing time is much faster, typically less than a month.If you get the Canadian report, you will have the dates you entered Canada. Hopefully this will jog your memory enough to remember each trip and how long it was so as to complete your N-400. All USCIS will expect is that you make a good faith effort to be as accurate as possible. If you miss the odd day or weekend trip it will be no big deal. The trips that matter are the long ones that may break the period of continuous residence required for naturalization. USCIS will also make a judgement call if your trips, while frequent and short, constitute a pattern of being outside the U.S. more than in it. If you just like to visit Canada (and who doesn’t - the country is quite beautiful,) you shouldn’t have a problem.
How long does it take to from green card to US citizenship? Can you speed it up?
In order to get naturalized in the United States you need to:* Secure green card (permanent residency)* Live in the US for a certain amount of time* Apply for citizenship and get your application approvedOf the steps listed above, the most complicated part is getting your green card. You can get that in four ways:An employment-based green card. This process is done only through an US employer, but any person with extraordinary ability can also be self-sponsored. Keep in mind that UN never sponsors any green card, as it is not a US entity. All those who get their greencard through sponsorship through employer first start as employees of their companies, mostly under L-1 visa (intra-company transferee) or H-1B visa (temporary worker).Through some relative who is a US citizen (sibling, parent, married spouse or child), or a US permanent resident (married spouse or parent of a minor). The most immediate of all these options is through a above 21 US citizen child, a US citizen parent or a US citizen married spouse.Asylum/refugee process, for all those who’ve been persecuted in their home country.Diversity lottery, a process though which US grants 50,000 green cards to few lucky winners. Participation in this lottery is free.Once you have your green card, you must live continuously in the US. If you live with US citizen spouse, you will become eligible after three years for citizenship. Otherwise the duration is five years. Using form N-400, you can apply for naturalization 90 days earlier. You’ll have to fill out a lengthy form, including names of all organizations you’ve been affiliated with (outside the US) in the past five years, be background checked and fingerprinted. You will also have to learn towards English and civic test (not that difficult), and take a test, be interviewed, and so on. Finally, in the end your oath ceremony will arrive. It is presided over by a federal judge where pledge of allegiance is said. You will sing The Star-Spangled Banner!If you’re interested in potentially applying for a green card you should visit us at LawTrades. Our legal marketplace makes the most sense when it comes to the immigration process. We have skilled on-demand attorneys available to guide you through the application process for much less than a law firm. Visit us for a free initial consultation! Best of luck.
How long does the naturalization process take, will it be faster if a person has lived 20 years in the US?
The naturalization process can take years, even decades and is predicated on so many factors that it is hard to predict a reasonable time frame without specific information on a given case. The biggest things that factor into the speed or timing for obtaining permanent residency and then citizenship are actually related to two things: 1) the basis for your residency petition (marriage to a US citizen, petition by another US citizen family member, work-based petition, etc.) and 2) the number of immigrant visas allocated and available for nationals of your country of origin.Immigrant visas for immediate relatives (like a spouse) of US citizens are unlimited, so those petitions are generally the fastest route to citizenship. However, other family based petitions and employment based petitions are limited by the allocation of immigrant visa numbers each year by the Department of State. This page at the USCIS website gives a good overview of the immigrant visa process and explains the limitations around certain immigrant visa categories.In general, it is going to take you - conservatively - five and a half to six years to become a US citizen, and that is only if you are the immediate relative of a US citizen. First, you must file an I-130 (Family Based) or I-140 (Employment Based) petition for immigrant status. If your I-130 petition is based on your relationship to an immediate family member (like a spouse), you can also file your I-485 petition to adjust status (to that of a legal permanent resident) concurrently. However, any other I-130 or I-140 petition will be filed first for approval and then, when an immigrant visa number becomes available, the adjustment petition can be filed. So on average you are probably looking at at least a year to file and get an approved adjustment of status petition to become a Legal Permanent Resident, and then you need to maintain LPR status for a minimum of five years before you can apply for citizenship. The thing to remember here is that if your petition is based on employment or a non-immediate family relationship and your country of chargability (or country of birth) has a limited number of visas per year with a long backlog, it could be a decade or more before you can even file your petition for Legal Permanent Resident status.So to answer your question, having lived in the US for 20 years really only helps you become a citizen faster if you’ve spent at least five of those here as a Legal Permanent Resident. Otherwise, it’s unlikely to have much impact on your petition and timing.Standard disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and nothing here should be construed as legal advice.
Should I hire a lawyer to help me complete my naturalization application? Do applicants generally hire lawyers to help with the application process? What are good online resources if I run into any questions during the process?
I'm going to chime in and say probably not....If you don't have a criminal background, you've maintained a good record of all your immigration/travel/residence documentation, and you are pretty self-sufficient when it comes to navigating through government processes (e.g.: you file your own taxes), then you could probably apply and go through this process on your own without hiring an attorney. The naturalization government filing fees are very expensive for the average Joe so save your money where you can.Unless ... you want assurance and don't mind spending the money on legal fees, it doesn't hurt to hire an attorney. They'll do most of the work for you and prepare you for your interview and what to expect.Also, if there are "issues" such as the ones described below (and this applies for anyone seeking to get naturalized):- prior arrests- prior convictions (misdemeanor or felonies) either in the U.S. or in another country- if the greencard was obtained based on marriage to a U.S. citizen and there are problems in the marriage (i.e. not living together, divorce, etc.)- lack of documentation- lack of English proficiency- other issuesthen it may be helpful to consult with an immigration attorney to see if hiring one would be in your best interest.I've helped friends and family (pro bono) get naturalized and I can say that the times that I did, they didn't use an attorney (although they had me helping) and it was a fairly straightforward process.Your best resource is to connect with people you know personally who have navigated this process successfully and get their input. USCIS' website is also a great resource. They've come a long way with their website and it is a wealth of information. For self study, the 100 civics questions can be found here:http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site...Your application is not approved quicker because you hire an attorney but in the event you run into problems, or your "case" was a problematic one to begin with, it may be a good idea to hire an attorney.Sorry to be so verbose. The best of luck to you!** A friendly caveat that this forum is neither private nor confidential. This post should not to be construed as confidential legal advice nor has an attorney-client relationship been established as a result of this post :-)
If my green card has expired, can I apply for a citizenship? My father is a citizen, do I still need to apply for a green card? How would I do it?
You are still a permanent resident, on that basis you can apply for U.S.Citizenship. If you are not sure about filling form N-400, Application for Naturalization , read the instructions or fill out online application for U.S. Citizenship which is easy & error free.Discalimer :- - is a private entity and is not affiliated or approved by any government agency.We are not a law firm and don't provide attorney's services. .
How can I help my co-worker gain us citizenship?
Simple answer: you generally cannot help your “co-worker” gain us citizenship.Now, you haven’t mentioned anything about your or the “co-worker.”Assuming you are a US Citizen ANDYou and the “co-worker” are both single ANDyou love each other ANDare willing to spend the rest of your lives togetherYou could get married and sponsor your “co-worker-spouse” for a dependent visa and eventually a US citizenship.