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Mevorah Law Offices LLC
630-932-9100
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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in citizenship application

Posted on in Immigration

Chicago immigration lawyers, dual citizenship, citizenship, United States citizenship, path to citizenshipIn today’s interconnected world, holding more than one nationality is somewhat commonplace. In the United States, however, it was illegal to hold dual citizenship until relatively recently, as the law barring the practice was only overturned in 1967. There are still restrictions in place that do bar dual citizenship in certain circumstances. Still, most of the time it is perfectly legal to do so assuming you meet the other requirements for citizenship.

Often Acquired by Chance

The majority of dual nationals within the United States or its territories have acquired the status simply due to chance or relationship. Children born to U.S. nationals while they reside in other countries will almost always qualify for dual citizenship. For example, a child born in Germany to married U.S. citizen parents will qualify for both German and U.S. citizenship; the first through location of birth, the second through their parents’ fulfilling citizenship and residency requirements under U.S. law.

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Chicago deportation defense attorneys, revoke citizenship, citizenship application, deportation order, deportationTo lie on one’s application for United States citizenship can put you in deportation proceedings if the lie is ever discovered. Historically, any lie, even the most inconsequential falsehood about petty issues, was grounds for revocation of citizenship. However, in June 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling that changed this—a ruling that will be significant for many future immigrants who decide to naturalize.

The Ruling

The Court was unanimous in its ruling in favor of Divna Maslenjak, an ethnic Serb originally from Bosnia, who admitted to lying on her application for refugee status about her husband’s military service. Both of the last two administrations have held that this made her deportable, and indeed she and her husband were both deported in October 2016.

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Posted on in Immigration

DuPage County immigration lawyers, Child Citizenship ActIt is much more common nowadays than it has been in recent years to adopt children from foreign countries, for a myriad of reasons. However, in the past, new parents would run into difficulties obtaining the right visas or citizenship papers for their children. In 2000, the Child Citizenship Act (CCA) was passed, expediting the process for many new families and granting automatic citizenship to these newly adopted children.

Qualification Requirements

Not every adopted child will qualify for automatic citizenship under the CCA. By definition, he or she must still be a child under American law; in other words, he or she must have been under 18 years of age on February 27, 2001—the date the law went into effect. However, if a child meets that requirement, there are only a few additional qualifications he or she must also fulfill. These include the following:

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immigration and divorce, Chicago Immigration AttorneysFor those who marry a U.S. national, immigration to the United States is a common occurrence. Often, it is the method by which immigrants obtain either a green card (Lawful Permanent Resident [LPR] status) or citizenship. However, in some situations, if your divorces your foreign spouse, it may adversely affect his or her immigration status.

While the Application is Pending

Generally speaking, a divorce during the application process will affect your visa or green card application because your spouse’s sponsorship must be rescinded. When someone sponsors you for a green card or for a visa, he or she is saying that they agree to vouch for you and be responsible for your financial upkeep. Only certain family members may serve as a sponsor (if you seek LPR status via family petition, as most do); an ex-spouse is unfortunately not one of them.

If your spouse has submitted his or her I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) but no reply has been received at the time of your divorce, you may not pursue that petition any further, because your sponsor has effectively been disqualified. The I-130 merely begins the immigration process; true progress does not occur until you have been interviewed and investigated. While no binding presumption will be attached to you, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may take a divorce or withdrawal of your petition as a point against the veracity of your marriage.

The other common scenario where divorce might play a role is if you have been approved for conditional permanent residence. Sometimes, if a foreign national has been married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years, USCIS may grant LPR status on a conditional basis, usually for two years. If their concerns are addressed and the person appropriately files for the conditions to be lifted, then a full, unconditional green card is issued and the person becomes an LPR. However, part of the appropriate filing to lift the conditions is a showing that your marriage is continuing and legal. If you divorce or receive an annulment before that two year period has passed, you will become deportable, as you will be out of legal status according to USCIS.

After the Application is Approved

Once your application for (unconditional) permanent residence has been approved, there are very few adverse consequences for a foreign national divorcing his or her U.S. citizen spouse. The only consequence of any note is that it may take you longer to obtain citizenship than it would if you were still married. Citizenship requires that you have five years of continuous residence in the U.S., but if you are married to a U.S. citizen, only three years are required.

It is important to note that at the time of your citizenship application, USCIS may review your file again to reassure themselves that nothing was fraudulent or deceitful, but it is very rare that this review results in any negative consequences unless you are actually guilty of fraud. Still, you may be asked to provide more information to USCIS before your citizenship application can go forward.

An Immigration Attorney Can Help

If you are going through a divorce, worrying about your immigration status is likely the last thing on your mind. The skilled Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help handle this complex process, ensuring that you are free to focus on your divorce being handled appropriately. Contact us today via telephone to discuss your options.

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pitfalls to naturalization, naturalization, Chicago Immigration AttorneysNearly two-thirds of the immigrants who arrive in the U.S. each year intend to one day become United States citizens by going through a process known as naturalization. A naturalized United States citizen has all the rights of a native-born citizen, as well as all the responsibilities. The naturalization process is long, and sometimes problems arise, most often because of a past criminal conviction or irregularity. Therefore it is important to understand what may disqualify you from naturalizing before you spend time and money to try.

Deportable and Inadmissible Crimes and Conduct

In U.S. immigration law, there are two categories which crimes are usually sorted. The first comprises aggravated felonies which are serious crimes that Congress has deemed worthy of harsh immigration consequences. These crimes can be somewhat confusing because aggravated felonies need neither be ‘aggravated’ nor felonies in the jurisdiction where they were committed—they merely need to be on Congress’s list of crimes that qualify as aggravated felonies.

The second category is referred to as crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMTs). These are traditionally crimes that involve fraud or deceit—the accepted definition is “crimes which involve intent to cause great bodily harm, defraud or permanently deprive an owner of property.” They may be aggravated felonies as well as CIMTs. The difference is that crimes of moral turpitude may or may not be deportable offenses. To be deportable, one must have had to commit two or more CIMTs since admission, or to have committed one CIMT with a potential sentence of one year or longer within five years of admission.

It is important to remember that in rare instances, conduct that does not amount to a crime may torpedo a citizenship application. For example, a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) who owes back taxes has not specifically committed a crime, if he or she is working with the Internal Revenue Service to pay what is owed—but tax debts are specifically asked about on the N-400 (Application for Naturalization), and their existence is taken into account when evaluating a potential citizen’s application.

“Good Moral Character”

The reason that criminal records and borderline conduct are very relevant to potential citizens is that one of the requirements asked of all potential citizens is that they demonstrate ‘good moral character.’ Being ruled deportable or inadmissible is a black mark against your record, and even conduct described above that does not reach the level of a crime can play a role.

While there is no specific definition of good moral character in U.S. immigration law, certain crimes on your record are deemed to show that you do not possess the requisite good moral character. If you have ever been convicted of murder, or of an aggravated felony after November 29, 1990, you are permanently barred from seeking U.S. citizenship, for example. However, even a lesser crime such as simple assault may be used as a reason to deny your citizenship on character grounds. Much of the decision is subjective, unfortunately, unless you have been convicted of acts that result in an automatic bar.

Seek Professional Advice

If you have questions regarding whether or not you may be eligible for naturalization, it is best to consult with an Illinois legal professional. The experienced Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC will work with you to make sure you understand your options, and proceed accordingly. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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