Citizenship & Naturalization
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According to statistics provided by the Department of Homeland Security, 694,193 immigrants were naturalized and granted United States citizenship in 2011, with 13,782 of them living in Virginia. If you are hoping to become a U.S. citizen this year, you can come to Fayad Law, P.C. for help. Our immigration attorneys have more than 20 years of combined experience, and we have assisted countless individuals with the challenges involved in navigating the complex immigration legal system.
With a team that includes lawyers who come from immigrant backgrounds, we understand how important it is for you to achieve the dream of citizenship and we are prepared to help you with every aspect of the process to ensure that you reach your goal swiftly and with a minimum of complications.
The requirements for naturalization are relatively simple. You must have been living in the U.S. as a permanent resident for at least five years, or three years in the case of a spouse of a citizen. It is also possible to apply for naturalization if you have performed certain types of service in the United States military. Additionally, the foreign-born children of U.S. citizens may apply to become citizens. You must have been physically present in this country for at least 30 out of the past 60 months and must have lived in the state or jurisdiction where you are filing your application for at least 3 months.
In addition to the residency requirements, you will also have to pass a test of written and spoken English and an examination of your knowledge of U.S. history and government. Furthermore, you will have to supply evidence of the fact that you are a person of good moral character and are in support of the U.S. Constitution and that you will contribute to the “good order and happiness” of this country.
How a Virginia Immigration Lawyer Can Help
As simple as the eligibility requirements may seem on paper, actually carrying out a successful application for naturalization can be a considerable challenge. You can significantly increase the likelihood that your application will be approved with a minimum of delay and difficulty by working with a lawyer from our team. We can assist you with gathering the necessary documentation and preparing your petition, as well as getting you prepared for your interview and tests. We can also help you apply for a medical waiver if you have a condition that prevents you from being able to take the English or civics tests.
Your Fairfax or Richmond immigration attorney may even accompany you to the interview, such as if it may be necessary to clear up any questions as to whether you can meet the good moral character requirement. We serve clients from around the world, so take the first step now by contacting us for an initial interview at one of our offices in Virginia!
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FAQs - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
There are dozens of different types of visas available under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), but they can all be placed in one of two categories: immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. The former is for individuals who are hoping to establish permanent residency with a green card and perhaps even to pursue the path to naturalization and citizenship. The latter is for those who are only planning a temporary visit to the United States, such as for the purpose of conducting business or attending school.
The INA sets limits on the number of people who will be permitted to immigrate to the United States each year using certain types of visas, while other visas are unlimited. Family immigration visas for the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are available on an unlimited basis, while there are annual quotas set for the relatives of lawful permanent residents and extended family of citizens, with a maximum quota of 480,000. The number of employment immigration visas is limited to 140,000 per year.
Pathways to citizenship include service in the United States military and adoption, but a large percentage of all people who become citizens do so through the process of naturalization. The basic qualifications for naturalization include:
- Living in the U.S. as a permanent resident for 5 years (or 3 years for a spouse of a U.S. citizen)
- Being at least 18 years of age
- Living within the state where you will apply for citizenship for at least 3 months prior to the application date
- Being physically present in this country for at least half of the past 5 years
- Maintaining continuous residence in this country from the date you submit your application for naturalization
- Being able to read, write and speak English
- Have a basic understanding of U.S. government and civics
It is also necessary to supply evidence that you are a person of good moral character and are attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution. We can assist you with proving these factors, as well as preparing your petition and helping you get ready for the tests.
In June of 2012, the Obama Administration directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to begin applying a policy that is referred to as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Under deferred action, DHS is exercising discretion in its execution of the laws concerning deportation and removal of immigrants who are illegally present in the United States. Deferred action is not a change to the existing law, but is instead a change in the way that the law is being applied. You may qualify for relief under DACA if you were younger than 31 years of age on June 15, 2012, came to the U.S. before your 16th birthday, have continuously resided in this country since June 15, 2007 and are either currently in school or have already graduated from high school or earned your general education development (GED) certificate, among other criteria. With deferred action, you may be able to avoid being deported, though it does not grant any change of immigration status.
In its review of immigrant visa petitions, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) weighs factors related to the ties that the prospective immigrant has in the United States and the reasons why he or she wants or needs to come to live in this country. For example, a family immigration petition will not be approved unless the foreign national has immediate relatives such as a spouse, mother or father, child or sibling already living here as a citizen or green card holder. An employment immigration petition is more likely to receive approval if the applicant has a job offer in this country and is coming to fill a position that cannot reasonably be filled from the local labor market. A foreign national who is fleeing persecution in his or her home country may be granted an immigrant visa as a refugee or asylee.
There are many strategies for challenging a removal action. If the proposed deportation is based on a criminal conviction, it may be possible to appeal the conviction in order to have it overturned. Another option is to petition for cancellation of removal, a type of immigration relief which is available to people who are of good moral character and whose deportation would subject a family member who is a citizen or permanent resident to extreme hardship. The key to success in stopping deportation is to take immediate action by hiring a Virginia immigration attorney from our firm as soon as possible. Contact us now at Fayad Law, P.C. for a confidential consultation and to let us get started on your case!
Fayad Law, P.C. maintains offices in Richmond and Fairfax, Virginia. We work with individuals, families, and businesses across the world, providing them with assistance in resolving the legal issues involved with helping their loved ones and employees to immigrate to the United States. We work directly with foreign nationals living abroad, guiding them through the process of obtaining immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for entry to the U.S.