Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding Applications for United States Citizenship Based on Family Relationships
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I have over 35 years experience with both basic citizenship applications and with the more difficult cases involving divorce, criminal activity, abandonment of permanent residency prior to application, asylum, refugees, and the like
"Please call to discuss the details of your case with me...Cal Knickerbocker, Attorney at Law"
Questions and Answers:
When is a permanent resident eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
- For those who are married to a U.S citizen you may apply based on that relationship after you have been a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) for 3 years. For most other family based relationships which support a granting of Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) status the time to apply is 5 years after the granting of the family sponsored permanent residency. I will be happy to discuss with you other basis of application and sponsorship such as education and employment but they will not be addressed here.
I was married to a U.S. citizen and before we divorced he helped me get my green card. However, we got divorced about 2.5 years after I came to the U.S . I have been a permanent resident for a total of five + years now. Can I apply for U.S. citizenship or will the divorce prevent me from applying?
- You will still be able to apply and receive citizenship since you have now been here five years or more as a permanent resident. However, if you had wanted to apply for citizenship after three years as a permanent resident based on marriage to a U.S. citizen there could be a problem. The general rule is that you must be married at the time you actually receive citizenship (not just apply) in order to apply after the shorter 3 year period. Additionally, you must be living with your spouse during the 3 years before applying.
Does the USCIS require more of me because I am now divorced even though I have been a permanent resident for five years?
- The basic rule is that you must prove that your marriage was valid and not for the purposes of immigration when you entered into it However, the fact of the divorce may be a “red flag” to the USCIS about possible immigration fraud (“sham marriage) so you should take extra care in proving validity of the previous marriage.
What kind of “proof” do I have to submit to show the validity of my previous marriage.
Assuming your first green card was a conditional green card you should re-submit all of the evidence regarding proof of validity of marriage that you submitted previously to remove conditions from your green card (don’t assume “they already have it”; it’s probably lost or destroyed). Also, see my page regarding removal of conditions on this site for further details.
The divorce by itself will not give rise to the assumption by the USCIS that your previous marriage was a sham or fraud. The documents you submit should be accurate, complete, and through in making your showing of validity. It will also be very important to be thoroughly prepared to address this issue at your citizenship interview. I will assist you with this so you are fully prepared and ready.
Note: you should also take care to submit evidence of those things which may not have come up or been available at the time you removed conditions from your green card. You should consider such things as birth certificates of any children of your previous marriage (excellent proof), proof of attempts at counseling to save the marriage, and evidence of you and your former spouse continuing to live as man and wife even after you removed the conditions from your green card, (please see my page on this site regarding removal of conditions from a two year green card for some good ideas regarding this type evidence).
At the citizenship interview how should I prepare for other questions?
- I have written a booklet on this subject which I feel will make this process very “user friendly” for you. I will provide this to you and If you feel you need it we can go over the entire process and questions by phone conference before your interview. You will be prepared.
How long does it take to obtain United States citizenship?
- Generally speaking, from the date your application is filed to the time you are sworn in as a citizen will take 5-6 months. This can be shorter or longer depending on how many others are applying at the same time as you, i.e. the work load of the USCIS at the time of submission.
I am happy to discuss the details with you. You may make an appointment for a private consultation at a time convenient to you. Click Book Now to schedule your consultation. There is no charge for this.My legal Fees:
My total legal fee for the application for citizenship is $750.00
Note: Fees may be paid with any major credit card. You may enter your card information by clicking here and using Google Pay or by calling our direct Toll-Free number at 415-839-6662. We can also send you a PayPal request.
Mr. Knickerbocker writes: “As the attorney at AmeriLawGroup who handles Removal of Conditions I am able to provide personal and professional service at a very low price by using the latest in electronic tools to make the process fast and efficient. I work directly with each client and am available by phone and email to answer questions and provide guidance through each step. There is no extra charge for this service! With over 35 years of legal experience I am able to assure success to all of my clients. I have served clients from Western Europe, Russia, Ukraine, UK, Africa, South America, Southeast Asia including the Philippines, plus many other areas. I look forward to helping you with your loved one becoming an unconditional permanent resident (LPF).
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