Citizenship

Unless the context shows otherwise, all answers here were provided by Rajiv and were compiled and reported by our editorial team from comments and blog on immigration.com.

Unless the context shows otherwise, all answers here were provided by Rajiv and were compiled and reported by our editorial team from comments and blog on immigration.com.

Best Methods for Spouse of a Green Card Holder to Enter the USA

Detailed question:

I am a US GC holder and planning to get married to a bride in India. If I get married to a bride in India, can she get a tourist visa.? (Bride is a Software engineer working in India.)My idea is that after marriage, my wife enters the US under Tourist and stay for 6 months and then go to Canada and renter the US and stay in the US with me for next 6 months for a total of a 1 year.

Answer:

Watch Video on this FAQ: The best methods for spouse of a green card holder to enter the USA

Video Transcript

As there is a gap between when you apply and when they can actually get some kind of a legal status it can be several years, so it becomes problematic for spouses of green card holders to stay outside the USA for that long. One option would be, if you in the interim become eligible for citizenship you can then upgrade the pending case of the spouse of a US citizen from the spouse of a green card holder. The other option is to get into a situation like H-1 or L-1 where a pending green card application doesn't matter. Even O-1 or E-1, E-2, E-3 visas. A tourist visa, student visa or a J visa would be a difficult option while a green card is going on, but not impossible. It is quite difficult to get those visas because they require nonimmigrant intent. More...


Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

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GC Holder Sponsoring Parents

Detailed question:

1. I am Green card holder, can I sponsor my mom for dependent visa, she is in India?<br> 2. Is there any time limit for which extension to be provided?

Answer:

1. You have to be a US citizen to sponsor her Green card. For Green Card holders as I recall the only family other than the children and wife they can sponsor is unmarried adult children over 21 but unmarried you can apply for their Green Card. Once you become US citizen your possible beneficiaries can be larger including your parents. There is little-known provision that is sometimes used, use it if it's necessary when let say your parents they don't have anybody in India to take care of them. We have been able to extend their tourist visa in those cases, stay in tourist visa even though you are on Green card we can try to make an argument that there is nobody in India to take care of them. This provision is not very clear cut in cases of holders of Green Card but believe it or not if you are on non-immigrant visa like student or H-1 visa or O-1 or B-1 any of those visas or L-1, you actually have more rights to bring your parents here. The reason being that there are certain categories of visas where people are not directly dependent and you cannot sponsor them for derivative visas but government recognizes that we will give you an extension of tourist visas. So if you are here on H-1 and you wanted to bring your mother here because she is alone in India, you could actually do her because she can't get her H-4 being your mother, she can still get B-1 or B-2 which can be extended because she is recognized or covered under those situations. However, Green card holders they don't have same privilege but you can be able to get their extension sometimes. It's not the full proof method for me wait until you get naturalization. Once you are naturalized, your parents can be here within a year on a Green Card.

2. I have done it repeatedly, every six months we have to do it, there are some people who are in 3rd, 4th or 5th year we are doing repeatedly for them. But it's not or no means it should be taken as given or guaranteed rule. 


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Dos and Don'ts to Qualify for US Citizenship

Detailed question:

What are the dos and don'ts to qualify for US Citizenship?

Answer:

Pay your taxes, don't default on your taxes, try not to get too many traffic tickets. If you get few that's OK, but if you get too many that can be ground for troubles. Don't get into any criminal plot, as you can lose your Green Card if you have a felony conviction. There are other things that can hurt your Green Card like DUI more than one or two of them then you can get into trouble. So, as long as you are like regular people I don't think there is anything to worry about.

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Joining an employer after green card approval

Detailed question:

I am a Canadian citizen and was staying in Canada from Feb2008 to Nov 2011. From Canada, I filed for CP EB3 with employer A and GC was approved for the same employer in September 2011. I entered the US in the mid of Nov 2011. Didn't join employer immediately after coming to the US. I told my employer verbally and assure him that I will join him in 2-3 months and He agreed to it. In December 2011 went to India for two weeks(due to father's death anniversary). After coming back from India took a break (needed time to heal. Didn't try or looked to join any other employer).And finally from February 2012 started working for employer A who sponsored my GC. I joined a different employer in mid of 2013.<br> After entering US through CP EB3 in Nov 2011 and not working at all taking break and then joining GC sponsorship employer A. Will this gap (3 months) negatively affects citizenship application? Is it mandatory to join immediately? Can a new GC card holder legally stay without a job for a while immediately after GC is approved?

Answer:

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Joining an employer after green card approval

Video Transcript

You not only were first working for this employer then you went to Canada, you were never out of status, then you came and joined the same employer after three months and actually you continued working for them. I don't think it is a problem. I don't think it will be a problem for your naturalization either. More...


Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

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How long can a US Citizen stay outside the USA

Detailed question:

My son is a US citizen and he is 2 yrs old. we have OCI card (Overseas Citizen of India) for him and it is valid until March 2020. He has been staying in India for the past 1 yr with his grandparents. My question is How much duration can he live outside the US? Does US citizen have any limit for living outside the USA?

Answer:

Watch the Video on this FAQ: How long can a US Citizen stay outside the USA

Video Transcript

As long as you like. You could stay outside for thirty years and never come to the USA. You will still be a US citizen. Green card holders don't have that benefit, but US citizens do.

More...

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

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Traveling after applying for naturalization/citizenship pending

Detailed question:

1. My husband and I are planning to apply for citizenship and had Green Card for the 9 years. We are planning to travel to India for approx. 3 weeks in spring (March 2017)?<br> 2. Can I travel after filling application for citizenship?<br> 3. Should I plan that after biometrics or can be before that as well? <br> 4. The Green Card expires Nov. 2017?<br> 5. Also, is employment necessary or helpful when applying?<br> 6. Do we have to reside in USA 3 months at a stretch?

Answer:

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Traveling after applying for naturalization/citizenship pending


Video Transcript:

1. That's not a problem.

2. Sure.

3. As long as you appear for biometrics or request that biometrics has been scheduled, I don't see any problem. 

4. I don't think that matters either.

5. No, it is not needed, as long as your taxes are paid up I don't see any problem.

6. I don't think three weeks absence is going to cause a problem in the domicile requirement. But if you want to be overly cautious, you can come back and stay extra three weeks before you apply. 

More...

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

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Canadian Citizen (or any person) Getting Married to a US Green Card Holder

Detailed question:

I am a Green Card holder and intend to marry a Canadian citizen. I would like inputs on:<br> 1. After marriage, can the Canadian citizen stay in the USA based on Canadian citizenship credentials? Are there timelines associated with this (only stay for 6 months permitted, etc).<br> 2. Do I need to apply for a Family-based Green card for the prospective spouse?<br> 3. Can the Canadian citizen apply for USA jobs based on Canadian citizenship credentials (OR) would a NAFTA visa or something like that be needed? Also, I would like to know of any other specifics that I need to be aware of with reference to my case above.

Answer:

Watch Video: Canadian citizen (or any person) getting married to a US green card holder

Video Transcript:

1. The answer is No. Canadian citizens are not allowed to stay in the US indefinitely. They are allowed to come in without visas for most things except E-2. 

2. Yes of course.

3. The answer is No but NAFTA visa also known as a TN visa is very difficult if you already have a green card pending or your spouse is a US green card holder. I think what makes sense is probably a H-1 or L-1 type of visa which is not subject to the problems that are normally associated with the filing of a green card or they can wait outside for the green card to be processed. They may be allowed in as long as they are completely upfront about it. When you come to the border as a Canadian citizen and you are going to visit your spouse who is a green card holder you should tell them that's what you are going for. You should not say you are going just for a casual visit. 

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US Citizens - Documents needed for entry into the U.S.

Detailed question:

What documents, identification, and paperwork does a U.S. citizen need to travel internationally?

Answer:

If you are traveling in the Western Hemisphere (Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America):

Air Travel:  All U.S. citizens departing from or entering the United States from within the Western Hemisphere by air are required to present a valid passport or NEXUS card (if utilizing a NEXUS kiosk when departing from a designated Canadian airport). Merchant Mariner Document (for U.S. citizens on official maritime business.) U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders;   Note that children are also required to present their own passport when traveling by air.

Land or Sea Travel:  U.S. citizens entering the United States by land or sea are required to present a valid WHTI-compliant document, which include:

  • U.S. Passports
  • U.S. Passport Cards
  • Enhanced Driver's Licenses
  • Trusted Traveler Cards (Global Entry*, NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)
  • Military Identification Cards (for members of the U.S. armed forces on official orders)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Document (for U.S. citizens on official maritime business)

*The Global Entry (GE) card is only an ENTRY document and may not be used to enter Canada, Mexico or Adjacent Island.

Military personnel traveling under orders may present photo ID and orders.  Family members must present a passport (with the exception of children 15 and younger arriving by land or sea.)

Children:  U.S. citizen children ages 15 and under arriving by land or sea from a contiguous territory may present an original orcopy of his or her birth certificate (issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where he or she was born), a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Naturalization Certificate.  If the child is a newborn and the actual birth certificate has not arrived from the Vital Records Department, the center will accept a Hospital issued birth certificate.

Groups of Children:  U.S. citizen children between the ages of 16-18 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory and traveling with an adult supervised school group, religious group, social or cultural organization, or sports team, may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Naturalization Certificate.

For documentation requirements regarding cruises see  Frequently Asked Question "What Documents do I need for Cruises"

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I-130 Petition

Detailed question:

I am a US Citizen residing in the UAE with my Wife and two children. My Wife is a Syrian passport holder. We petitioned her case for residency in the US under I-130. We have received the first notice from the NVC which was on the 24th of June. The letter stated that all documentation necessary to complete the National Visa Center processing of your case has been received, and as soon as an interview date has been scheduled then we will be notified. How long does it take to receive the second notification with an Interview Date that we are closing on week eight? Is there a way that you can expedite an Interview Date? If the answer is Yes, Could we officially request your service? Case Number: ABD2014671004 Beneficiary's Name: KINANA WARD Preference Category: IR1 Priority Date: 25-NOV-13

Answer:

Hi Loay. Times are highly variable from a few weeks to a few months. Expedites are only granted for showing of some sort of urgent humanitarian situation in cases like yours. We would like to help, but I am not sure we can add much value at this stage. Contact us if there are any issues (other than timing). 

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US Citizen applying for Green Card for visiting family member (spouse/parents); Birth and Marriage Certificate Issues

Detailed question:

I am a US citizen and would like to sponsor green card for my parents once they arrive here. I have couple of questions related to that. 1) My mother’s birth certificate contains name before marriage, is this going to be an issue? Her passport contains her name after marriage. Her mother and father expired long time back, and she is the eldest daughter. 2) My parents does not have marriage certificate with them what are the options. They cannot go their original place to get the marriage certificate 3) My father does not have birth certificate but has College degree/certificates mentioning his date of birth. Will this suffice the requirement, if not what are the options he has? Again he is not in a position to go to his birth place nor is he in position to take help from his elders to give affidavit for him. His mother and father passed away long time back.

Answer:

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.

https://youtu.be/ZHaiZELtWCE?t=221

FAQ Transcript:

This is one thing very common in many cases. The issue of applying for a green card, when you are visiting on a tourist visa or even converting a tourist visa to H-1, L-1 and student visa is always a problem.

When you try to do that the government can bring the issue that when you entered USA on a tourist visa it was your intention to convert to a long term status which is illegal according to the government. There is actually a 30 - 60 day rule which says if you enter on a tourist visa and you changed to a longer term visa and status within 30 days of entry, will presume it that you had a preconceived intention to do so. That can be considered to be a fraud and if you’re not able to rebut that fraud presumption that can become a permanent bar from entering the USA.

So if you try to change statuses in 30 days of entry and if you do it within 60 days they can still question it but there is no automatic presumption. If you do after 60 days they may not question. But remember even if you try to change status after 60 days you can be questioned by USCIS, CBP or even consulates about your intention. So when your parents are visiting it is important that they don’t have an intention to apply for a green card when they enter on a tourist visa. If after staying here for 3-5 months it so happens that their intention changes I don’t see any problem with that. Remember you the child, you the son or the daughter what your intentions is I do not care but your parents should not have the intention to convert into green card. If they arrived with the preconceived intention to change to green card they can have a problem. So don’t let them have that intention. After a few months if they are living here and you are able to convince them to file their green card then I think that’s ok.

As for the question regarding birth certificate it should not be an issue because having the maiden name is common in USA as well as India. That should be ok even though her passport contains her married name and her birth certificate contains her maiden name. Under Indian laws - under Hindu Marriage Act you are not required to have any marriage certificates when you are going through a religious marriage. It only has to comply with the laws of that religion. Having a marriage certificate under religious laws is not required.

Regarding marriage certification you can get affidavits from two people who attended the marriage. 

As for the question about your father not having a birth certificate you do need to get a certificate of non availability from the place he was born. There is no particular format to the certificate of non availability. All it has to say is that they have looked at the records. When you have that you can get affidavits of two people who were alive when you father was born. So certificate of non availability combined with two affidavits will be required.

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Sister's Green Card

Detailed question:

I just got my citizenship and now wants to apply for my younger sister, who is alone in India. I lost my parents few years back so she is all alone but she is above 18. Is there any way I as a brother and only relationship here in United States apply for her Green card in such a manner that she can be here in United States as soon as possible.

Answer:

Siblings Green Card is like  planting mango trees, in India we used to have saying that mango trees takes so  long to bring fruit that one generation plants the tree and the second generation eats the mangoes. It's kind of that for sibling cases, it takes 13 years for the Green Card to come through and there is no way we can expedite that Green Card. However  leaving the option of Green Card filing  you could look at the things like  sponsoring her for her student visa if she wants to study or if she is an professional  or intent to be professional soon she can come on H-1 or L-1 visa, like other people  do. f you have money you can gift her half a million or million dollar depending upon what kind of money you have  that you can invest in her. So Investment visa could be an option but  there is no way you can expedite sibling green Card.

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Naturalization/Citizenship Delay

Detailed question:

My Citizenship Interview was held on July 8th 2013 (become PR 6/2007) and it is pending since then due to middle name issue. My Indian passport and documents in US does not have middle name, but my Birth certificate has listed my name along with middle name (there is no middle name section in the birth certificate, so they did not bother to mark it separately. <p> So it has been approx. 2 years and I reached out multiple times about the status and so far I got an answer “Will let you know once the decision is made”. Also I have been told that they need to do another round of security check with my name, including the middle name. <p> Now, my company wants me to send me to Germany for some years (approx. 2+ years). I am not sure how I can proceed further. My wife and Kids are US citizens and they will have to move with me to Germany for couple of years.

Answer:

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baprYGs8IzQ&t=556

FAQ Transcript

When you have this length of delay for two years the best thing to do is first approach your congressman’s office. Go to https://www.congress.gov/ enter your zip code and it tells you who your house of representative members are and who your senator is. Contact either one of them. Send a letter to the representative and tell them you live in their area and you are a constituent and you have a pending naturalization application that has been stuck for two years. If they are not able to resolve it get yourself a lawyer and file for a law suit. Normally I don’t recommend a law suit but when naturalization applications have been delayed so long a law suit is a good bet.

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Proving Relationship Through DNA

Detailed question:

I am a US citizen. I have applied green card for my parents. Because of certain defects in the papers, USCIS has asked us to go for DNA testing. My parents are in India, I am in US. Can DNA testing be done like this?

Answer:

This issue has been coming up more frequently in family-based immigration petitions than it ever did before. The way it currently works is, the RFE will tell you which web site you can go to to get a list of USCIS approved labs. You can call the lab. They will arrange to have the DNS sample collected in India from your parents and from you here in the USA. You send the lab a copy of the RFE. They will send the results directly to USCIS. 

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Dual Citizenship

Detailed question:

I have dual citizenship. Which passport should I use to travel to the United States?

Answer:

All U.S. citizens, even dual citizens/nationals, must enter and depart the United States using his/her U.S. passport.

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Citizenship Denial

Detailed question:

My husband and I got our green cards through my husband's Employer (EB3). We submitted I-140, I-485 for primary beneficiary (my husband), I-485 for derivative beneficiary (me) on December 27th 2004 (visa dates were current) Our entire application got rejected on Jan 04 2005.I attached the letters mailed to us. USCIS stated that my signature was missing Our lawyer responded to USCIS on Jan 05 2005 and refiled the rejected application on March 08 2005 (visa dates not available for EB3 in March) He requested USCIS to honor December 27 2004 stamp-date for Primary Beneficiary my husband as his application was complete. He also mentioned that he has is resubmitting my application with my revised signature Instead of just accepting my husband's application, USCIS also accepted my application on March 8th 2005 receipt date - March 10th 2005. During Visa Debacle in July 2007 , we received our green cards on September 2007. I am eligible for applying citizenship. I am in a dilemma whether to apply or not. One of the lawyer’s I contacted before said that USCIS sometimes wrongly accepts applications without visa dates and prematurely approves them too and mine might be one of those cases.During citizenship application, they will review the whole immigration history and there is a chance that your green card will be revoked. Is it safe not to apply for Citizenship and renew it when needed?

Answer:

This is likely to be a long discussion. My bottomline recommendation: let your husband obtain his naturalization first. Thereafter you apply for yours. If something goes wrong, his naturalization gets you another green card right away, without ever leaving the USA.

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Social Security Number And Card

Detailed question:

How do I get a number and card?

Answer:

A Social Security number is important because you need it to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services. Many other businesses, such as banks and credit companies, also ask for your number.If you are a noncitizen living in the United States, you also may need a Social Security number. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Noncitizens (Publication No. 05-10096). If you are temporarily in the United States to work, see Foreign Workers and Social Security Numbers (Publication No. 05-10107).

How do I get a number and card?

To apply for a Social Security number and card:

Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5); and

Show the original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency proving:

—U.S. citizenship or immigration status [including Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permission to work in the United States];

—Age; and

—Identity.

Then, take or mail your completed application and documents to your local Social Security office.

Citizenship or immigration status: 

The center accepts only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, a U.S.passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current U.S. immigration documents. Acceptable documents include your:

Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (green card, includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport);

I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, with your unexpired foreign passport; or

I-766, Employment Authorization Card (EAD, work permit).

International students must present further documentation. For more information, see International Students And Social Security Numbers (Publication No. 05-10181).

Age: You need to present your birth certificate. (If one exists, you must submit it.) If a birth certificate does not exist, Social Security may be able to accept your:

Religious record made before the age of 5 showing your date of birth;

U.S. hospital record of your birth; or

Passport.

Identity: Social Security can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Social Security will ask to see a U.S. driver's license, state-issued nondriver identification card or U.S. passport as proof of identity. If you do not have the specific documents asked for, Social Security will ask to see other documents including:

Employee ID card;

School ID card;

Health insurance card (not a Medicare card);

U.S. military ID card;

Adoption decree;

Life insurance policy; or

Marriage document (only in name change situations).

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. Social Security cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. Social Security may use one document for two purposes. For example, Social Security may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. Or, Social Security may use your U.S. birth certificate as proof of age and citizenship. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

Social Security will mail your number and card as soon as they have all of your information and have verified your documents with the issuing offices.

What does it cost?

There is no charge for a Social Security number and card. If someone contacts you and wants to charge you for getting a number or card, please remember that these Social Security services are free. You can report anyone attempting to charge you by calling our Office of the Inspector General hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

Are there different types of cards?

Social Security  issues three types of Social Security cards. All cards show your name and Social Security number.

The first type of card shows your name and Social Security number and lets you work without restriction. Social Security issue it to:

—U.S. citizens; and

—People lawfully admitted to the 

United States on a permanent basis.

The second type of card shows your name and number and notes, “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION.” Social Security issues this type of card to people lawfully admitted to the United States on a temporary basis who have DHS authorization to work.

The third type of card shows your name and number and notes, “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT.” Social Security issues it to people from other countries:

—Who are lawfully admitted to the United States without work authorization from DHS, but with a valid nonwork reason for needing a Social Security number; or

—Who need a number because of a federal law requiring a Social Security number to get a benefit or service.

How do I get my child a Social Security number?

It is a good idea to get the number when your child is born. You can apply for a Social Security number for your baby when you apply for your baby’s birth certificate. The state agency that issues birth certificates will share your child’s information with us. Social Security will mail the Social Security card to you. Or, you can wait and apply at any Social Security office. If you wait, you must provide evidence of your child’s age, identity and U.S. citizenship status. If you are filing an application on behalf of someone else, you must show us evidence of your relationship to, or responsibility for, the person for whom you are filing. You also must show us proof of your identity. Social Security must verify your child’s birth record, which can add up to 12 weeks to the time it takes to issue a card. To verify a birth record, Social Security will contact the office that issued it.

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for an interview, even if a parent or guardian will sign the application on the child’s behalf.

Adoption: Social Security can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child’s new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S Adoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children (Publication No. 05-10023).

What if my name changed?

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If you are working, also tell your employer. If you do not tell us when your name changes, it may:

Delay your tax refund; and

Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.

If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us a document that proves your legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove a legal name change include:

Marriage document;

Divorce decree;

Certificate of Naturalization showing a new name; or

Court order for a name change.

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify you in our records or if you changed your name more than two years ago (four years ago if you are younger than age 18), you must show us an identity document in your old name (as shown in our records). Social Security will accept an identity document in your old name that has expired.If you do not have an identity document in your old name, Social Security may accept an unexpired identity document in your new name, as long as Social Security can properly establish your identity in our records.

Citizenship: Also, if you are a U.S. citizen born outside the United States and our records do not show you are a citizen, you will need to provide proof of your U.S. citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents.

Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name.

How do I make sure my records are accurate?

Each year your employer sends a copy of your W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) to Social Security. Social Security compares your name and Social Security number on the W-2 with the information in our files. Social Security add the earnings shown on the W-2 to your Social Security record.It is critical that your name and Social Security number on your Social Security card agree with your employer’s payroll records and W-2 so that Social Security can credit your earnings to your record. It is up to you to make sure that both Social Security’s records and your employer’s 

records are correct. If your Social Security card is incorrect, contact any Social Security office to make changes. Check your W-2 form to make sure your employer’s record is correct and, if it is not, give your employer the accurate information.

You also can check your earnings record on your Social Security Statement. The Statement is available online to workers age 18 and older. 

To review your Statement, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and create an account.

What if my immigration status or citizenship changed?

If your immigration status changed or you became a U.S. citizen, you should tell Social Security so Social Security can update your records. To get your immigration status or citizenship corrected, you need to show documents that prove your new status or citizenship. Social Security can accept only certain documents as proof of citizenship for new and replacement cards. These include your U.S. passport, a Certificate of Naturalization or a Certificate of Citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents.

What if my card is lost or stolen?

You can replace your card or your child’s card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in noncitizen status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.To get a replacement card, you will need to:

Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5);

Present an unexpired original document with identifying information and preferably a recent photograph that proves your identity;

Show evidence of your U.S. citizenship if you were born outside the United States and did not show proof of citizenship when you got your card; and

Show evidence of your current lawful noncitizen status if you are not a U.S. citizen.

Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.

How can I protect my Social Security number?

You should treat your Social Security number as confidential information and avoid giving it out unnecessarily. You should keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers. Do not carry it with you unless you need to show it to an employer or service provider.Social Security do several things to protect your number from misuse. For example, Social Security requires and carefully inspect proof of identity from people who apply to replace lost or stolen Social Security cards, or for corrected cards. One reason Social Security do this is to prevent people from fraudulently obtaining Social Security numbers to establish false identities. Social Security maintains the privacy of Social Security records unless:

The law requires us to disclose information to another government agency; or

Your information is needed to conduct Social Security or other government health or welfare program business.

You should be very careful about sharing your number and card to protect against misuse of your number. Giving your number is voluntary even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask:

Why your number is needed;

How your number will be used;

What happens if you refuse; and

What law requires you to give your number.The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. The decision is yours.

Contacting Social Security

For more information and to find copies of our publications, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778). Social Security treat all calls confidentially. Social Security can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday. Social Security can provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day.Social Security also want to make sure you receive accurate and courteous service. That is why Social Security have a second SocialSecurity representative monitor some telephone calls.

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N-400 Application and Prosecutorial Discretion

Detailed question:

What happens when an applicant for naturalization is eligible, but also subject to removal because of a crime committed outside the statutory period? If it is determined that the application will be held in abeyance pending the outcome of removal proceedings, is there a process for evaluating prosecutorial discretion? Would an offer to withdraw the N-400 application be a favorable factor in the consideration for prosecutorial discretion?

Answer:

USCIS has said that its policy is to refer an applicant for naturalization who is removable to a prosecutorial discretion panel.  All factual and legal circumstances of the applicant’s case are considered.  Adjudication of the naturalization application is held a decision is made to issue or not to issue the Notice to Appear (NTA).  If the NTA is issued, the naturalization adjudication continues to be held until the removal proceedings have concluded.  Withdrawing an N-400 would remove the case from the panel’s consideration process.

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Naturalization Procedures at Atlanta Office

Detailed question:

Will the USCIS Atlanta Office go back to swearing in applicants on the same day as the interview?

Answer:

It is unlikely that the Atlanta District Office will resume swearing-in applicants on the same day as the N-400 interview, aside from customers who come from Alabama or at least four hours away, who CIS makes every effort to swear in the same day due to the distance traveled for the interview. It is unable to do so for applicants who live closer to the local office because the room where oath ceremonies are conducted isn’t large enough to accommodate the number of applicants being interviewed per day. Currently, USCIS is having two ceremonies a day (in the morning and again in the afternoon) and is holding additional ceremonies on Fridays and at the National Archives. This has helped but it’s not a perfect solution. USCIS also has to consider the quality review checks that must be done for each case before an applicant can be sworn in. It found that the quality review was too rushed when swearing in applicants the same day, so it continues to explore options for balancing the volume of cases, the desire of customers to be naturalized as soon as possible, and the agency’s internal needs.

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Naturalization Policy Regarding Adjustment of Status

Detailed question:

Has USCIS discussed the new Naturalization policy regarding the review of the underlying adjustment case? Should clients come prepared to discuss their marriages, for example?

Answer:

Review of the underlying adjustment of status is not a new policy. Officers have always had the authority to look back at the underlying adjustment, at any time, and doing so is not a new process.

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N-400 Interview

Detailed question:

What is the preferred procedure for an N-400 applicant to elect to be naturalized through a federal court ceremony rather than a CIS administrative ceremony? A verbal request during the naturalization interview? A writing submitted at interview?

Answer:

The preferred way is to advise the officer at the N-400 interview. This can be communicated to the CIS after the fact, but the preference and best way is to notify the officer at the time of the interview. In addition, if the applicant is requesting a name change, the oath ceremony/naturalization must be done by a federal court.

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Recanting of Misrepresentation in Naturalization Application

Detailed question:

With regard to any removal risk, how would USCIS view a voluntary recanting of an intentional misrepresentation in a naturalization application? For example, what if the beneficiary brings the issue to USCIS’s attention and formally withdraws the misrepresentation, thereby subjecting him/herself to denaturalization?

Answer:

USCIS would submit the case to Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) counsel for determination.

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Misrepresentation in Naturalization Application

Detailed question:

If there is a knowing misrepresentation in a naturalization application, as opposed to a simple failure to disclose, would this lead to removal proceedings in addition to denaturalization?

Answer:

It might.  If Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) counsel proceeds with denaturalization and is successful, removal proceedings may be instituted.

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Denaturalization

Detailed question:

How does USICS handle a situation when, during a marriage-based adjustment application, it transpires that there might have been an eligibility issue with the Naturalization application of the U.S. Citizen (USC) spouse petitioner? For example, it is discovered that divorce proceedings had been initiated after the naturalization application was filed,but prior to the interview and the divorce was finalized soon after the oath, and eligibility being based on three years of residence in marital union with USC. What factual issues arise and what is the standard for proceeding with an action for denaturalization?

Answer:

If USCIS determines that an applicant for naturalization was not eligible to naturalize, the evidence is obtained and submitted to Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) counsel for determination of denaturalization.

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Naturalization after Extended Absence

Detailed question:

What is the USCIS approach to an application for Naturalization that shows that the applicant has continually resided in the U.S. for several years in addition to the statutory period, but might have had a prior extended absence after becoming an LPR?

Answer:

These applications are decided on a case-by-case basis.

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Green Card and last name

Detailed question:

I am a US citizen turning 21 next month. Can I sponsor my dad to get a green card even if I am not holding his last name?

Answer:

Yes you can. Having the same last name is not required.

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Citizenship through US citizen spouse

Detailed question:

I have my green card since June 30, 2001 and stayed in the US till December 2003 before leaving for India to attend to my father diagnosed with cancer. I have since been residing in India, visiting the US every 6 months or so to maintain GC. My wife got her citizenship in 2006 since she stayed back here in the US. I would now like to consider applying for citizenship - what is the minimum duration I need to be physically present in the US before applying?

Answer:

1.5 years out of the last three and you must move back to USA before applying.

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Citizenship for spouse

Detailed question:

How do I get a citizenship for my husband?

Answer:

Read the instructions on Form N-400.

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Citizenship eligibility question

Detailed question:

I have a GC since Nov 2004 and stayed in US for 3 years before moving to India on a temporary assignment. I have been in India for the past 2.5 years and have got a re-entry permit. When I return to US in April of next year, since it has been more than 5 years since I got GC and I had been physically present in US for over 2.5 years, will I be eligible for applying for citizenship?

Answer:

Since you have been out of USA for more than one year, you will be eligible for naturalization only after 4 years and 1 day after you come back to live in USA.

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US Citizen sponsoring wife

Detailed question:

I am a US Citizen and I want to apply for my wife. Been married for 9 years. She comes and visits me on her visa waiver from NZ. What papers do I need to apply for her and how long would it take? Would it be quick and easy to apply for her while she is here on her visa waiver?

Answer:

I generally discourage people from applying for a green card while they are here on a visa waiver type visa/entry. Call USCIS customer service for a list of the forms you will need. Generally speaking, these are relatively easy cases and should not require a lawyer.

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Citizenship eligibility

Detailed question:

My green card was approved in Sep 2005 but I did not get the Card until Feb 2006. Does USCIS consider the approval date or actual date when card was issued for establishing the five year eligibility period for accepting the N400 application? Also I have a 13 year old son who was born in India, do I need to submit N600 form for his citizenship?

Answer:

It is the date of approval that counts. For your son, read the instructions on the Form N600. That should tell you what you need to do.

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N400 Interview and selective services

Detailed question:

How important is your enrollment in selective services when you appear in a citizenship interview. Will the interview officer ask you about why u did not register in selective service.

Answer:

I believe this can be a problem. You should speak with a lawyer. You will need to establish that the failure to register was inadvertent, not intentional.

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Citizenship and criminal record

Detailed question:

In 2001 I was charged with shoplifting (retail fraud 3rd degree in michigan. I was convicted and paid fine and 7 days community service. In 2005 i got my green card. The case was expunged in 2008. Ever since 2001 i do not have any other criminal record in the last 9 years. Would this be a problem during the citizenship cause the application says good moral character in the last 5 years. My case is 9 years old and so i satisfy the 5 year rule for good moral character but not sure.

Answer:

Generally speaking, USCIS looks at the last five years preceding the application, but they CAN go back as long as they wish for adjudicating good moral character. My guess is, you should be fine.

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Reentry permits and citizenship application

Detailed question:

My husband is a LPR (since 1993) interested in applying for naturalization. He was granted a reentry permit and used it to enter the country nearly 2 years ago. How long does he have to wait to apply for naturalization?

Answer:

If he was out of USA for more than one year at any one time, the reentry permit will allow him to file after 4 years and 1 day from re-establishing domicile in USA.

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Shoplifting and naturalization

Detailed question:

I am permanent resident of USA for 5 years,and I was shoplift in JCPenny and caught by securities in 2008,they took me to their office,took my picture, and got copy of my driver license,and asked me to sign 2 form of documents,one was saying I can't enter store for a year,second one was a civil demand($500 fines),they did't called police,do I have criminal record? FBI will check it out? I already sent in the citizenship application,and have wait for 3 months after the fingerprint taken,still didn't receive interview notice. Will they reject my application?

Answer:

From what you have described it does not appear you have a criminal conviction. Nevertheless, in my view, you should get yourself a local lawyer to assist you with the naturalization process.

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Travel while citizenship/naturalization pending

Detailed question:

I am currently a GC holder and have resided in the US for 30 month out of 5 years. I will be eligible to file my Citizenship (N400) paperwork next month. Once I have filed my application for Citizenship, can I leave the US and travel to Canada to visit my daughter? I was planning to be out of the US in Canada for 3 months. Will it be ok or me to leave the US once I have filed my application or Citizenship? or should wait to file upon return back from Canada?. Do I need to live continuously in the US while my application for Citizenship is in process?

Answer:

Temporary absence of three months while your citizenship application is pending should not pose a problem as long as you remain a permanent resident of USA.

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Citizenship Form

Detailed question:

Iam a US citizen I want to fill for citizen for my mom I dont know which form I should fill out to send to immigration.

Answer:

I am assuming she has been a green card holder for 5 years the form is N-400.

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Travel and citation dates on N-400

Detailed question:

I've taken about 60 trips outside of the US since I received my green card in 1988 - while I have exit and entry dates for most of them, for some of them I no longer have the exit dates, only the US entry stamps, and it is possible that I don't have all US entry stamps... same goes for dates of various traffic citations over the decades, minor things like parking, speeding, unsafe stopping, seatbelts - how do you suggest I enter this information on the N-400 form?

Answer:

The burden of proof is placed on you. USCIS can deny an application where proof is insufficient. For entry/exit, I would recommend an affidavit from you giving the best possible approximation. The tickets - go back into your driving record at the DMV and see what you can pull from there.

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US Citizenship, misdemeanor case

Detailed question:

First of all I would like to thank Rajiv for this website. I am a new user but I've read some answers and felt so easy already. I had a misdemeanor charge back in 2007, shoplifting (less than 500). I did community service 24 hours and was on probation, got early termination of probation in 2008. All records got cleared in the state of Colorado. I am thinking to apply for US citizenship but very nervious about it. Please advise. I have two daughters. My husband could apply first with kids and I could try after them. Please help me. Need your advice.

Answer:

Thanks for your kind comments about our web site. You can apply, but USCIS can certainly make an issue about the misdemeanor. You may want to retain a local lawyer.

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My naturalization interview experience

Detailed question:

I had my interview today.The officer asked me simple direct questions like my DOB,when I came to USA ,when I moved to this state..then on the trips section he said "what was your purpose of your visits, becuase I see trips for like 3 months "i said " i visited my husband and relatives"and thats it on this section,given that i made 6 trips out,the longest is for 5.5months after civics,he said I passed,but no decision was made because they need to review my physical residency. Is my case very bad? I am worried!total days spent out were 554(1.5yr)in my 5yr residency!how bad is that? do they take long time to respond?

Answer:

I see no problem with the visits - they were all less than 6 months. I think it should be ok. It is difficult to estimate how long it will take.

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How does Immigration office verify the dates of entries/exits

Detailed question:

Could you tell me how does the Naturalization Office verify dates of US entries/exits? My wife and I have been lawful US Green Card Holders since 1990 and we're interest in applying for naturalization now. We've been traveling in and out the US for the past 19 years and I didn't save all the plane stubs. I believe we only have some of the US entries (not exit) stamps on our passports. Also we've renewed our passports once, so our passports only show the entries stamps for the past 3 years or so.

Answer:

As far as I know they rely upon your passport and their own entry-exit records through Form I-94 system. This situation is common and can be corrected by supplying affidavits from applicants along with any other evidence you may have.

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Green Card

Detailed question:

I married a US citizen on may of 2009 and we were going to have a baby but we lost it a month ago. I entered the US illegally when I was 3 years old I am now 21 yrs old. A few years ago my moms employer filled an I-140 for her and all her children including myself were on the application. I want to know if that would benefit me in anyway?

Answer:

May be Section 245(i) can help. Call and check with your mom's lawyer. Also explore the fact that you are married to a US citizen.

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B1 Visa

Detailed question:

I am a citizen of U.S. and had send the support documents. When my mother in law went for an interview they denied the visa because she stayed legally with the extension of three months in 1999 . After that she came to visit us in 2004 she went back by six months. At that time she got 10 years visa in 1998 multiple. My question is can they deny the visa without seeing the support documents.

Answer:

They can do a lot of things, and often do, even things that are unreasonable. If you feel the decision is in error, contact the consulate through your Congressman.

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Eligible husband?

Detailed question:

I am a U.S citizen,I got married in U.S.A., my oldest son was born there,and I have 2 more sons that were born abroad and are citizens too, my husband had a green card, but he had drug trafficking problems almost 15 years ago, something like conspiracy, thats why we are living outside the U.S., if we want to go back, can something be done about this so the whole family can live there again? Can he get like a pardon and get a green card again, or there is no way this can be done?

Answer:

Because you are a US Citizen, there could be waivers available for offenses committed by spouse. You may want to check first with the US consulate in the country where you are living.

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Marriage to US Citizen

Detailed question:

I am on H2b visa and married to an American. Should I go ahead and start filing my paper work or should I wait on till my contract is up with the company I am currently working for?

Answer:

I see no reason to wait.

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H-1 without specific job/GC continuation without H-1

Detailed question:

Answer:


1. I don't have a work order or client letter to support my H1B extension which is expiring on 2nd June. Is it legally not allowed to file for H1B extension without this or to avoid RFE one need to support extension with this.

Ans. USCIS has criminalized civil conduct. To my amazement, I saw a criminal indictment count against an employer (Vision Systems - recently in the news) alleging that to obtain H-1 without a specific job in hand is a crime. I think this is ludicrous overreaching and misuse of law. Nevertheless, it is not a good idea to file an H-1 unless there is a specific job in hand.

2. My labor and I-140 is approved but if H1B extension is denied then I have to go back to Inida. Can GC processing be continued? If yes, In order to maintain my GC processing how quickly do I need to come back to US? What other options do I have in this scenario?

Ans. The green card can go on in your absence, but I am concerned that USCIS may consider that since there is no permanent job available, the green card should be canceled. To the best of my knowledge, they have never done it so far and may not do it, but the risk remains. Not much I can say other than if you dont have a choice then you have to leave and we will deal with other issues when (or if) they arise.

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Changing Careers after the GC

Detailed question:

Q1. Can a legal permanent resident(LPR) change career after say one year from his AOS approval to an entirely different field from the one for which his labor and his AOS was approved? Will this raise any red flags at the time of citizenship? Q2. In other words, after receiving green card on the basis of say job in computer industry, when can one change his/her profession to an entirely different field (let say opening up a restaurant or go into real estate on full time basis) without jeopardizing the citizenship? Would waiting for one year(or some other amount of time?) after AOS approval be good enough to satisfy the "intent to work for in the field noted in labor application on a permanent basis"? Q3. Is the person after receiving green card on the basis of employment in certain field stuck in that field for ever? Q4. What are you thoughts in general about this scenario and how should one go about it?

Answer:

 A1. I see no problem with this nor do I see any red flags.

A2. Sure. Why not. Permanent does not mean forever.

A3. Not at all.

A4. Nothing else I can think of.

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How soon can I leave the employer after I get my GC

Detailed question:

Q1. How soon can I leave my petitioning employer once I get my green card approval? Q2. I did not willingly left the GC sponsor employer but actually after three months I got my GC, i got laid off from the project and due to the bad economy , my employer was not able to get me other project so he gave me letter saying that he wont be able to pay me salary since he doesnt have any project for me.And, after getting that letter I resigned from GC sponsor employer. Q3. I am employed at the XYZ University (XYZU). I applied for 485 myself (without attorney). My 485 was approved last month and I got my passport stamped in July. My contract with XYZU is coming to an end. My job is renewed every year based on the availability of funding. I have been with XYZU for the last 5 years. There is a possibility that they (XYZU) may not extend the contract because the research grant I got is coming to an end in september. Will my termination from the job at XYZU affect my Green Card in the future, and is it better to be terminated from service (based on unavailability of funding) by the WVU or is it better to offer my resignation?

Answer:

A1. There is no brief answer to this question. Let me explain. The basic premise (or theory) behind permanent residence through offer of employment is that an employee is accepting a job on a "permanent" bases. What does "permanent" mean? Does it mean for ever. Obviously not. That would be unreasonable. But "permanent" also does not mean that you pack your bags the moment you receive your green card. So what is the answer? No one really knows. Each case has to be determined upon its own merits. Normally, I would say working for one year or more with the same employer after getting your GC is PROBABLY enough indication of permanency. Less than 4-5 months is perhaps evidence to the contrary

But REMEMBER, this is just my own guess. Technically speaking, the moment you decide that you will leave after a certain period of time, "permanent" intent is gone. Catch-22 eh? Well that is the way it is.

There may be considerable relaxation in this interpretation because in the year 2001 Congress enacted a law that permits employees to leave an employer even while their I-485 is pending. We do not have the regulations or any detailed guidance on these issues.


A2. There are no clear rules as we have stated above. But, In my opinion, there is no risk in this scenario. You acted in good faith to continue the job, but your employer could not continue to employ you.


A3. I think it is better to be terminated. There are no clear rules as we have stated above. But, In my opinion, there is no risk in this scenario. You acted in good faith to continue the job, but your employer could not continue to employ you.

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