Age is not a limit to apply for US citizenship!

 

Joaquin Arciago Guzman

At the Los Angeles Convention Center on Wednesday during a touching naturalization ceremony a 102-year-old Filipino man became an American citizen. He is a man who came to California as a teenager in 1928 to pick lettuce and cabbage!

In Tagalog Philippines-born immigrant Joaquin Arciago Guzman said “I’m happy,” after Wednesday’s ceremony, where about 7,300 joined him in taking the citizenship oath.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Nationwide only 27 people older than 100 have become U.S. citizens in at least the past 50 years.It might be not very late to apply for US citizenship!

In 1997 the oldest person ever, at 117 years of age, to take the oath to become a U.S. citizen was Manik Bokchalian of the San Fernando Valley community of Van Nuys. Guzman, who now lives in North Hollywood, was 18 when left the Philippines to harvest lettuce and cabbage in the fertile Salinas Valley fields south of San Francisco. Guzman waited so long for Applying for US citizenship for reasons that aren’t clear.

You’re eligible to vote in the upcoming elections?

US citizen has the privilege to cast his/her vote.  This privilege is only for US citizens and not for green card holders. The options through which you can become a US citizen depend on the category through which you opt for it or you are eligible for. As a green card holder above the age of 18 years living in the US you need to fulfill the physical presence requirement in order to be eligible to Apply for US citizenship. Through the naturalization procedure you can become a US citizen and for this you need to file the US immigration Form N-400.

When and which immigration form should be used?

The children born to US citizen parents, even if outside US, automatically become US citizens by birth. Even if one of the parents is a citizen you qualify for US citizenship.  They need to file for the citizenship certificate using the Form N-600 if under the age of 18 years. In order to apply for US citizenship for adopted kid the US immigration Form N-600K needs to be filed. Once the formalities are done and the kid enters US they become citizens.

If it so happens that the citizenship or naturalization certificate is lost, damaged or stolen you have the Form N-565 with which you can file for a new one. The physical presence requirement is waived off in case you are in active service is any of the US armed forces assignments.

To be eligible to file the Form N-400 apart from being a green card holder above the age of 18 years having lived in the US and who fulfill the physical presence requirement, the moral good character requirement is also checked.

Part of the naturalization process also includes passing the citizenship test. In case you are above the age of 50 years and have lived in US for more than 20 years, or if above the age of 55 years and lived in US for the past 15 years you get exemption from the test.  This exemption is also applicable for persons with impairment or any disability and they need not take up the English knowledge test. Form N-648 can be used to get exemption from the citizenship test which needs to be filled by a qualified physician.

If applicant is married to a US citizen, after entering US they get the conditional status which is valid for two years. They can adjust the status to permanent lawful status after two years using the Form I-485. As a green card holder if they continue to reside in US for a three year period and are still married they are eligible to Apply for US citizenship using the Form N-400.

The US citizenship entitles applicant with the right to vote, allows you to petition for family members to come to US, enables you to travel abroad freely and you can join the judiciary and take up legal duty. As US citizens they need to abide by the constitution and be loyal citizens of US. Thus to enjoy your right and as your duty to your country make sure you are a US citizen with the right to cast your vote and take part in the process of electing a government of your choice!

Customer Service Details for INS forms lockbox filing

USCIS collects immigration-related applications and fees through several channels as it’s a self-funded fee-based agency. These include field offices (Service Centers and District and Field Offices), e-filing, and the Lockbox facilities provided through the Department of Treasury.

Direct Mail Program was started in the mid 1980s by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) called USCIS from 2003 through service centers. Works done by INS district offices previously namely handling mail, data entry, fee collection, file, and adjudication operations of most applications and/or petitions for immigration services and benefits were handled. These service centers were not staffed to handle walk in applicants or answer queries.

USCIS has been steadily centralizing intake of forms at their lock box facilities over the past few years. More quickly forms are received and process payments more efficiently and securely in these facilities.

As a recent addition beginning June 4, overseas customers will be able to mail INS forms I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility and Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal to the Phoenix Lockbox. It’s easy to Mail forms to a USCIS lock box.

Customers service facility for INS forms filing

Please write to lockboxsupport@dhs.gov before you re-file if your form is rejected and you don’t understand our explanation or disagree with that determination. Your concern will get quick response. In your inquiries please include the form type, receipt number(s), and the applicant name and mailing address. As email is not a secure means of communication we specifically ask that Alien Numbers (A-numbers) NOT be included in email.

•           For those applications and petitions which are pending acceptance or rejection at the Lockbox, and those which have been rejected lockboxsupport@dhs.gov can answer questions.  The Lockbox has no information on the adjudication status once your application has been accepted. Contact USCIS Customer Service at (800) 375-5283 or visit our website, http://www.uscis.gov after your application or petition has been accepted by the Lockbox, if you have questions about the status of your pending application or petition. The Info Pass system can also be used to make an appointment at your local USCIS office for help.

•           To the office adjudicating your application or petition requests to withdraw an application or petition must be addressed.

•           To the office holding your file requests to send files to a different office must be made.  To determine where your inquiry should be sent call USCIS Customer Service at (800) 375-5283.

•           The Lockbox does not process refunds.  By visiting USCIS website and typing Refund Request in the Search box in the upper right hand corner of the homepage information about refunding can be found.

Remember what not to send to a Lockbox Facility

•           To any Lockbox only INS forms or applications with fees or fee waiver requests should be sent.

•           To any Lockbox the following items are examples of items that should not be mailed:

1. Additional evidence submitted in response to a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) is not accepted by lockboxes.  Such documents and information must be sent to the office requesting the information.

2. Change of address process the Lockbox does not do. It can be done online on USCIS website.

 

Get to know Lockbox Filing Tips for INS forms

A service offered to organizations by commercial banks that simplify collection and processing of account receivables by having those organizations’ customers’ payments mailed directly to a location accessible by the bank is Lock box banking. A lockbox in general is a Post office box (PO box) that is accessible by the bank.

A company may set up a lock box service with their bank for receiving customer’s payments. The company’s customers send their payments to the PO box. Then the bank collects and processes these payments directly depositing them to the company’s account. Typical costs are around $100 per month with per-item fees for basic service, and upwards of $500 for businesses with high check volume.

Also called ‘Remittance Services’ or ‘Remittance Processing’, Lockbox services is when a company maintains special mailboxes in different locations around the country and a customer sends payment to the closest lockbox. The company then authorizes a bank to check these mailboxes as often as is reasonable, given the number of payments that will be received. Because the bank is making the collection, the funds that have been received are immediately deposited into the company’s account without first being processed by the company’s accounting system, thereby speeding up cash collection. USCIS also uses this service for INS forms.

General Tips to remember while filing INS forms

•           It’s important to read and follow all form instructions for fees, filing location, and eligibility requirements.

•           Ensure all entries are neat and legible if hand writing your application.

•           Be sure to keep your information within the box or space provided When entering information on your application or petition.

•           Use black or blue ink only. On your application Do NOT use highlighters or red ink as they may make your materials undetectable when scanned.

•           The correct edition of the form should be used. FREE download on the USCIS website of the correct, most current edition of every USCIS form is always available.

•           The data fields should not be grayed out on the printed forms. Data fields will not be detected by the machine scanners of information entered into grayed-out area.

•           You should provide all required supporting documentation and evidence.

•           English translation of the supporting documents written in a language other than English must be included.

•           Your application must be signed.

•           All pages of the application must be mailed surely.

•           It’s recommended that you begin with a new form if you must change your form, rather than trying to white out information. This is to avoid processing delays or rejection of forms as scanners may see through the white correction tape or fluid and make your form incorrect.

Payment of Filing Fees

•           Checks must be made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The INS forms instructions must be read for additional details.

•           For each application in the package and biometric fees its suggested that you use a separate check or money order.  If a single check is submitted for multiple applications and one of the applications must be rejected, then all applications will be rejected. The Lockbox cannot accept overpayment and make partial refunds.

•           Depending upon your age and the benefit for which you are applying note that the requirement for biometrics fees varies. Based upon age and benefit ensure the biometric fees submitted are correct.

 

Want to realize your dream to visit USA?

Want to realize your dream to visit USA?

Its easier than you think. All it takes is to visit the closest embassy or consulate near your area of residence in your country and follow their instructions to apply.You will need to know the INS forms that are required to be filed in order to kick start the process.Once the formalities are done with you would be able to get the required document or visa as the case may be to visit USA!

Aware of when to file in US affidavit of support Form I-134?

Any alien is disqualified from entering U.S., according to Section 212(a)(4) of Immigration and Nationality act, in the opinion of the U.S. department of State officer delivering judgment on a visa application, a department of Homeland security officer or an immigration judge adjudicating an application of admission, if he/she  is found to become a public charge at any time.

The petitioning relative should file Form I-864, as specified in section 212(a)(4)(C) and 213A of the act and 8 CFR part 213a, for aliens seeking admission or adjustment of status as permanent residents as immediate relatives , family-based immigrants and certain employment based immigrants .

When to file Form I-134?

When you are not required to file Form I-864 on his/her behalf and in cases where you are inadmissible on public charge grounds Form I-134 should be used. In the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security or for immigration judge cases, the discretion of the attorney general Section 213 of the act allows the alien to enter US though he/she is inadmissible on public charge grounds by posting of a bond or other undertaking method. Undertaking which is prescribed in section 213 of the act is Form I-134. It is to show that visa applicants will not become public charges while in the United States and have sponsorship. A separate affidavit for each applicant must be filed by the sponsor.Affidavit of support form must be signed in sponsor’s full name. Doesn’t mean Form I-134 is necessary to be signed before a notary.

Support documents required

To prove that the alien will not turn into a public charge while in US the sponsor should show enough income or financial resources as assurance else the alien could be denied visa to enter US.

One of the following submitted in duplicate would be accepted as evidence of resources and income:

1. Bank officers or financial institution’s statement where the sponsor has deposits with following account information of the account:

a) Account opening date

b) Over the past year total amount deposited and

c) Balance as of date.

2. Employer’s statement on a business stationary with following details:

a) Nature and date of employment

b) Salary paid and

c) Information if the position is permanent or temporary.

3. For the sponsor is self-employed:

a) Last income tax filed copy, or

b) Concern commercial rating report.

4. Details of serial numbers and denominations of bonds and names of record owners in form of a list.

Liability of sponsor and alien details

The agency which provides assistance can sue you to recover the cost under a provision in the section 213 of the act if the alien who was sponsored becomes a public charge. Also the income and assets of one who sponsors combined along with the alien’s income and assets determines if the sponsored person is eligible for food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

To the Social Security Administration documentation concerning the alien’s and sponsor’s income and resources should be made available while applying for SSI. To the state public assistance agency same details should be provided while alien applies for TANF or food stamps. Authority to obtain copies of such documentation from US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) or the US department of State are given to the US secretary of Health and Human Services and the US secretary of agriculture and also to further release it to a State public assistance agency.  Thus any misinformation could lead to future deduction of the due amounts to the sponsor and alien and both are liable up to any repayment of full amount due.

The Form I-134 must be filed according to the instructions for the type of application like the fiance(e) B-2 visa, which is submitted for which this Affidavit of support form is required and depends on whether the alien whom you sponsor is outside or inside US.  No filing fee for this form. The completeness of the form submitted would be checked failing which the application could be denied.

75 become US citizens on Flag Day

75 become US citizens on Flag Day

On Flag Day the event was at the museum which celebrates America and the sea. Seventy-five modern-day immigrants became United State citizens on Flag Day. They hail from 33 countries, from Bangladesh to Bulgaria.

Judge Janet Hall presided as the new citizens said the Oath of Allegiance on flag day at Mystic Seaport where a special session of the United States District Court of Connecticut was convened for the occasion. Apply for US citizenship!

New Americans got free admission to the museum not only for the day but for rest of the year!

Get your US passport ready to enjoy the ongoing football season abroad!

Image

As all of us are aware the UEFA 2012 from June 8-July 1, 2012 hosted by Poland and Ukraine is going on!

In celebration of this popular sport U. S. citizens visiting Poland and Ukraine will join thousands of others from around the world. Below are some useful information and resources for you to have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Before you go….

1.Make sure you have a valid U.S. Passport.  Get it renewed now by filing INS forms If it’s due to expire before or during your trip.Don’t forget to sign your passport and complete the emergency information page too.

2.Visit Country Specific Information on travel to the Ukraine and Poland.

3.Details regarding the upcoming games, including full details on entry/exit and customs requirements, and conditions specific to the Championships are provided by Websites of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and in Poland also. U.S. passport holders going to Poland and Ukraine for less than 90 days within a 180-day period for tourism do not need a visa  in most cases.

4.During EURO 2012 Poland will reintroduce border checks with neighboring EU states . Between June 4 and July 1 border guards may randomly check documents of travelers entering Poland from other Schengen countries.For example U.S. citizens may be subject to a random border check if entering Warsaw via a train from Berlin.

5.Ensuring you’re covered abroad could be one of the best investments you’ll ever make so check your overseas medical insurance coverage. Further information on medical insurance can be found on our website.

6.Prior to your departure from the United States notify your credit card company of your overseas travel. For more about using credit cards in Poland and Ukraine check out the helpful information on the U.S. Citizen Services page of the U.S. Embassy’s website.

7.Enroll with the U.S. Embassy’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  This will enable the Embassy to keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.  You can easily enroll online.  Additionally, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users can access STEP and much more by downloading the SMART Traveler app.

8.Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) travel website, http://www.cdc.gov/travel, for needed vaccines and other medications and information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.

Make sure you thoroughly enjoy the experience and football while you travel this football season!

Holidaying Abroad is Fun Provided You Carry along the US Passport!

Passports of United States are issued to both citizens and non-citizen nationals and the U.S. Department of State issues it exclusively in booklet form. For the Americans to travel anywhere in the world this booklet is valid although certain countries require a visa as well and conforming to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards Travel to the USA from another country also requires a passport. The passport an adult gets is valid for 10 years, but should be renewed before it expires, at least 8-9 months prior to that, since at least 6 months validity for entry is required in many countries.

Who requires a US passport?

To get a US passport can almost be like quick course in bureaucracy or a simple procedure. . For trips to Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico, according to a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), they accept a compliant document. A passport is required by all US citizens who are traveling outside the United States with no exceptions for children regardless of age. Infants and newborns also should have their own passport. For all Minors Ages 16 & 17 special requirements are there.For direct travel within the 50 States (including District of Columbia, Alaska and Hawaii) and U.S Territories passport is not required.

Requirements and Procedure for Applying

User need to apply in person if it’s the first time you’re applying, if you’re below 16 years of age or the passport issued previous was when you were under age 16. In case previous passport got lost or damaged or stolen or its more than 15 years since the previous passport was issued also you need to apply in person. In case of a name change also you need to apply in person. Also you need a proof for US citizenship when applying in person. One of the following as proof of citizenship is accepted 

-Certificate of Citizenship

-Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth

-Birth certificate issued and certified by the city, state or county of birth

– Previously issued, undamaged US passport

– Naturalization Certificate

– Valid Driver’s License

– Current Military ID (military and dependents)

You can submit an acceptable form of US Citizenship of Secondary Evidence if either one of the above don’t meet the requirements.

To start application procedure INS forms DS-11, the application for a U.S. Passport, need to be filled but signed in presence of passport agent ONLY. Along with the form, two identical US passport photographs need to be provided. The photos should show current appearance and taken within past six months and be 2 x 2 inches in size. Photos should be front view of full face with an off-white or plain white background. You should remember that from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head it should measure between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches. Normal street attire is the dress code and not any uniform. A hat or headgear that conceals the hair or hairline should not be worn.  If normally you wear a hearing device, wig or prescription glasses for the picture you should have worn it.

Processing procedure and time

When you are applying in person you can do it at any Passport Acceptance Facility mainly a Post Office or may be in one of the many state, Federal and probate courts or in one of county and municipal offices and pay the current fee. You can even apply in some public libraries for a US passport and pay the processing current fee. By paying an extra $60.00 fee you can expedite the process.You need to schedule an appointment in this case at any of the 13 regional passport agencies. After applying you can do an online check of the status. In case of renewals you can do it by mail paying $75 as renewal fee. 4 to 6 weeks of processing time is required. Once you receive the passport you’re all set and have it ready for your holiday out of the USA!

Form I-751 required to petition to remove conditions on Residence

For a conditional resident who has obtained such a status through marriage this Form I-751 is required to petition to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to remove the conditions on her/his residence.

Within the correct window of time it is very important to file the I-751 and to be sure not to file it before the 90-day window. They will send your application back if you file it too early. It is sensible to file fairly early in the window though you may file at any time during the 90 day window. Filing fee is $505, add $85 for biometric fee, so a total of $590.

Also you would need to submit evidence of your marital relationship from marriage up to the present date. To avoid repeating same evidence again, proof of documents like joint bank account for example, from the period you were lastly interviewed by USCIS till date could be submitted.

Who should file Form I-751?

This form should be used to petition to remove those conditions on residence if you were granted conditional resident status through marriage to a US citizen or green card holder. If children who are dependent on you entered US within 90 days after your entry and acquired conditional status concurrently with you, then for their conditional status to be removed you can include their names and A numbers in Part 5 of the Form I-751. The dependent children must file separately to have their conditional status removed if your dependent children acquired conditional resident status after 90 days from the date of your adjustment or the conditional resident parent is deceased.

Jointly the petition should be filed by you and the spouse through whom you got the conditional status if you are still married. A waiver from this joint filing you can apply if:

•           After you entered the marriage in good faith your spouse died subsequently

•           Though you entered marriage in good faith the marriage may have got terminated due to divorce or annulment

•           After entering marriage in good faith and having remained married but you may be subjected to extreme cruelty by your green card holder or US citizen spouse

•           If your status is terminated and you are removed would result in extreme hardship.

When should Form I-751 be filed?

1. Jointly filing: The joint filing should be done with your spouse 90 days immediately before the second anniversary of the date when conditional resident status was accorded to you. That date is also when your conditional residence expires.

2. Filing with waiver from joint filing: Anytime after you get the conditional status till when you are removed this type of filing can be done.

3. Not filing effect:  You will lose the permanent residence status the day conditional status expires if you don’t file Form I-751 petition and could be removed from US anytime. But for no mistake of yours you failed to file the petition late filing is allowed provided you submit a written explanation along and also request USCIS to excuse you for the late filing.

Only if the delay was because of extraordinary circumstance which was beyond the control of yours and also the length of time for the delay was reasonable the late filing may be excused.