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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!
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 :-)
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.
If you left a survey for burglars to fill out the next time they ransacked your home, how would they rate the experience?
How did you learn about us?Rumors about rural houses having little Security.Location: 5/10Location was alright. Around 500 meters to the nearest neighbor. But unfortunately an hour away from any sizable population (20,000 plus being a sizable population.)Transportation: 10/10Transportation was top notch. The owners of the property never lock their Minivan or Pick-up truck. The keys are always left in the vehicles. Both are moderately new and somewhat non-descriptive so a perfect getaway vehicle. Not only did they provide vehicles they also kept trailers in a easily accessible unlocked shed.Security: 9/10Security was lax. There is a gate but it isn’t locked. Doors aren’t locked unless the house is left unoccupied for more than 2 weeks. No cameras made it really easy. They did have a dog which made it a bit of a pain. He was easily disposed of as he was just a Labrador Retriever puppy. Owners are very light sleepers don’t rob if they’re around.Products: 10/10No place has better selection. The place had 3 DSLR cameras, 3 Workstation class desktops, 3 tablets, 4 drones, 6 Smartphones, 9 external monitors and 11 laptops. All of the items were of premium design and value (aka Apples or equivalent). The freezers and shelves were well stocked the rest of the property was much more appealing though.They also had a shop on the property with many tools ranging from mechanics to carpentry to fabrication. The tools were of medium quality. The shop also stored 2 ATV for added convenience. The shop wasn’t the jackpot though.The shed was the real treasure trove. This drive in shed held heavy equipment all with the keys in the ignition for easy accessibility. The average equipment’s value was around $100,000, with a combined value of around $1.5 Million. Unfortunately the heavy equipment is hard to transport and the market is too small to get away with it.The products all seemed gift wrapped for the taking. Everything was easy to find as it looked organized.Laws in the area: 10/10Owners aren’t allowed to use lethal force or even have a premeditated weapon for self defense. A robber in the area once accidentally locked himself into the garage place he was robbing. As the owners did not come home for a couple days he resorted to eating dog food. The end result was the owners were charged for negligence of the robber. Laws almost protect us. Owners are not supposed to attack us in any way or they may be charged.Would you recommend to your friends?If everybody is gone a resounding yes. Unfortunately that’s not very often as the house is occupied by Home-schooling kids, a Writer and the owner is a farmer who mostly works on property. Also if you intend to use brute force, bring a weapon. All the occupants are big. The average height is around 6 feet.BTW bring friends to help loot. It really requires a team of people to loot the place.
Why does it take so long to get a prescription at the pharmacy?
The wait time given is not always the time it takes to fill YOUR prescription. It's usually the time it'll take to finish everyone else's prescription that came before yours.Your prescription has to be entered EXACTLY the way the doctor wrote it. If someone, such as an assistant, enters the prescription incorrectly but doesn't notice until the pharmacist checks it for accuracy and appropriatenes, the process gets restarted. The prescription gets sent back for someone to cancel it in the computer and re-enter everything once again. If you go to a pharmacy with inexperienced staff, lots of mistakes are made behind the counter, but the pharmacist has the final check. Trust me, there's a lot that can go wrong and can be missed if the pharmacist is rushed and stressed out.For instance, I used to work at a VERY busy pharmacy. We even had a huge room sized robot that counted and labeled the majority of our prescriptions. This would seem like it would make it super easy to work there. But, in fact, sometimes it made it even more dangerous for patients. Anyway, on a very busy day, the pharmacist made an error and didn't open up the box of fentanyl they were checking. Just so happens that 100microgram patches were put in a 25 microgram box. That's 4 times the dose that the patient used to receive. The patches look all the same except for the box and the size of the patch and maybe some writing but when you've been on these meds for a long time most people won't even think to read the package each time they apply the patch to their skin.We got a frantic call from the patients wife who, upon trying to wake him, she was unsuccessful. She called to inquire if the doctor changed his dose… That's when the pharmacist asked her to read the patch off his arm. This pharmacist was mortified that they had made such a huge error. It ruined them for a long while. Luckily, the patient survived. But, those mistakes stick with you forever. They're always on their minds when they are working and sadly even when they aren't.So when you wonder what takes so long to prepare a prescription, please be nice about wait times, you really don't know what the pharmacist has just gone through and they may just want to take their time so nobody gets hurt.
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