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Darien CT immigration citizenship attorneyU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been dealing with a record number of applications for U.S. citizenship by naturalization during the past few years. As a result, it is taking much longer for naturalization applications to be processed.

Growing Demand for U.S. Naturalization

The annual number of applications for naturalization received by USCIS rose from 783,000 in fiscal year 2015 to nearly one million in FY 2017, a 25 percent increase. Final figures are not yet available for FY 2018 (the 12 months ending on October 8, 2018). The first week of October marks the end of each USCIS fiscal year.

As a result of this increased demand for naturalization, it took an average of 10.2 months for an application for naturalization to be processed in FY 2018. This is nearly double the average processing time of 5.2 months reported in FY 2014.

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New Canaan immigration green card lawyerIf you are considering marriage as a way to obtain permanent resident status in the U.S., also known as getting a green card, you must be very careful to avoid being accused of fraud. Applications for marriage-based visas, which permit the immigration of fiancés and spouses of U.S. citizens, are closely examined by U.S. immigration officials because of the relatively high incidence of fraud. You would be wise to consult an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that you do not make any mistakes in the application process.

Avoiding Marriage Fraud

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been involved in the investigation and prosecution of numerous marriage fraud schemes in the past few years. It is instructional to review a few of these cases to understand what was done wrong:

In 2017, eleven people were found guilty of immigration-related marriage fraud in two separate but related schemes in Texas. They had been paying U.S. citizens to enter into fraudulent marriages with Nigerians who had entered the United States on tourist visas and then preparing fraudulent applications for the Nigerians to obtain permanent resident status. One of the ringleaders, an American citizen, was sentenced to two years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised parole. Other defendants were sentenced to 12 to 18 months in prison or a term of probation. Several of the defendants are not U.S. citizens and will face deportation proceedings upon their release from custody.

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Posted on in Green Cards

Westchester County NY green card application attorneyIf you have come to the U.S. on a temporary visa and want to remain here indefinitely, you may be eligible to apply for an adjustment of status and become a Lawful Permanent Resident. This will allow you to live and work in the U.S. for as long as you like, and you may eventually apply for citizenship through naturalization. The adjustment of status process can be convenient for those who already reside in the United States, as it does not require you to return to your home country for consular processing.

How to Ensure Your Adjustment of Status Is Approved

To improve your chances of approval, your written application must be accurate and thorough, and it must include all necessary supporting documentation. There are a number of documents that you must submit, including:

  • You must complete a Green Card application, Form I-485. Some of the supporting documents you must attach, along with English translations, include:
    • A copy of your government-issued identity document with photograph.
    • A copy of your birth certificate or other evidence of birth, such as church, school, or medical records.
    • Your inspection and admission documentation.
    • Certified police and court records documenting all criminal arrests, charges, or convictions, even if you were acquitted or your record was later cleared (as often happens with juvenile offenses).
    • Other documentation as needed for your specific immigration category.
  • You, or more commonly your sponsor, must file an immigrant petition. For example, if you are applying for family-based immigration, your sponsor would file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

Officials of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review your application and most likely will ask you to appear for an in-person interview. Interviews are generally waived for children under the age of 14. During the interview, it is critical that you answer all questions honestly and completely. You will be under oath, and any false or misleading statements could result in your disqualification.

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Posted on in Green Cards

Stamford green card attorneyIf you are a foreign citizen currently living in the United States, you may be thinking about applying for an adjustment of status (AOS) using Form I-485. If your AOS application is approved, you will be given a green card, and you will be able to live and work in the U.S. for as long as you want.

In our last post, we explained the requirements to qualify for a green card. However, even if you meet all of the qualification criteria, your application could still be denied. In this post, we will explain some of the reasons why U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) might deny an AOS application. 

Reasons for Denial of an Adjustment of Status

Here are some of the common reasons that the USCIS might deny your AOS application:

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New Canaan green card attorneyIf you are legally in the U.S. on a short-term visa, you may qualify for an adjustment of status (AOS) that will allow you to legally remain in the country indefinitely. This adjustment of status will make you a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States; in other words, you will receive a green card, also known as an I-551 card. 

To be eligible for an adjustment of status, you must meet some basic requirements. However, even if you meet all of the basic requirements, the approval of your application is not guaranteed. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) hearing officers have wide discretion to approve or disapprove any application. Your application may also be subject to annual immigration quotas. An experienced immigration lawyer can help ensure that you do meet all of the requirements, improving your chance of approval. 

Criteria for an Adjustment of Status

You must meet several basic requirements in order to qualify for an Adjustment of Status, including:

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