In general, you can apply for US citizenship after 5 continuous years as a permanent resident (PR) or 3 years as a PR if you were married to a US citizen for the 3 years.
In addition to being a permanent resident for the prescribed periods, there are very specific residence requirements you must meet before getting citizenship. Generally, you must have been physically present in the US for half of the 5/3 years before applying for citizenship. You must also have resided for at least 3 months in the state where you are filing. Limited exceptions exist to the residence rules, and it is important that you have not done anything to break the period of residence. Please contact your attorney if you’d like specific advice about your situation.
In addition to the residence and physical presence requirements, an applicant for naturalization must show the following:
There are special rules for people serving in the US Armed Forces, who can get a waiver of the usual residence and physical presence requirements, and do not need to pay filing fees. In addition, a person may be able to apply for citizenship before becoming a PR if the application is filed while on active duty, or within 6 months of leaving service. A person who served in the armed forces during hostilities and was honorably discharged or still serves, can also apply for citizenship without being a PR.
Information on naturalization generally is here. Information on naturalization for military personnel is here.
For any questions, please contact us for your free consultation.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced yesterday that it would begin accepting H-1B petitions for Fiscal Year 2017 on April 1, 2016. The agency expects to receive enough petitions to meet the 65,000 quota in the first 5 days of April. As a result, it is critical that cap-subject H-1Bs are filed between Friday, April 1 and Thursday, April 7, 2016.
USCIS will not start Premium Processing for any case until it has finished the data entry for the cases accepted in the cap "lottery." The statement confirms that Premium Processing will start "no later than May 16, 2016."
For more information, please contact Elaine Martin, Immigration Attorney.
See also: USCIS News Release
USCIS H-1B Cap Season web page
This infographic is not about immigration law, visas, citizenship, etc. However, it is a topic that is close to my heart - recycling. I'm fairly obsessive about keeping my home and business as "green" as possible - storing copies of filings electronically, recycling everything that is recyclable, composting, and using eco-friendly products. How does your country rank on this list?
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a new version of Form I-864P. This form is used to help green card applicants determine whether they or the "sponsoring" relative meets the income requirements for the Affidavit of Support. The sponsor must meet certain income requirements: they must show that their household income is equal to or higher than 125% of the US poverty level for the household size.
The US poverty guidelines change annually, and are lower for Alaska and Hawaii than for the other 48 states. For example, the poverty guidelines for a household of 4 for the lower 48 is now $24,300. In Alaska, the figure is $30,380 and Hawaii is $27,950. Remembering that the US citizen sponsor needs to show 125% of the poverty guidelines on the Affidavit of Support, the income therefore needs to exceed $30375 (lower 48 states), $37,975 (Alaska) and $34,937 (Hawaii).
For more details about the Affidavit of Support, see here.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.