The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a proposal to raise the application fees for citizenship, lawful permanent residency (green card status) and many other services. The proposal is now in a public comment period until Dec. 16, after which the agency must consider the comments.
Many people who want to live and work in the U.S. permanently are perfectly happy with their status as a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). There may be good reasons for this but, before you decide, you should be aware that there are significant advantages to becoming a citizen.
If you're from American Samoa, you probably know that you're a national, but not a full citizen, of the United States. You are eligible for a U.S. passport and can live and work in the U.S., but you're missing out on a number of other privileges of U.S. citizenship, such as:
One of the privileges of being a U.S. citizen or green card holder (lawful permanent resident) is the ability to sponsor relatives to come live and work in the United States. As long as the relative isn't otherwise inadmissible, you can sponsor as many eligible relatives as you like. However, U.S. immigration law has a set list of preference categories, which affects which types of relatives will get a visa in a timely fashion.
When a married U.S. citizen has a child, that child is entitled to U.S. citizenship even if its parents are LGBTQ, a federal judge has just ruled. The State Department had refused citizenship to one such child because he was not the biological child of his U.S. citizen parent.
If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder), your spouse may be eligible to join you in the U.S. and become a lawful permanent resident right away. This applies to both new and longer-term spouses from abroad.
If you are preparing for the naturalization test, you should keep in mind that some of the answers changed after the last election. You will be asked to name certain officials and elected representatives. You don't want to make a mistake and name an official who is no longer in office.
Billy Idol recently became a citizen of the United States. The 63-year-old rock star, originally from England, was sworn in at a Los Angeles ceremony in November. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services tweeted, "it's a nice day for a naturalization ceremony."
For 10 years, the U.S. military recruited immigrants with critical language skills to serve in exchange for a chance to become U.S. citizens. In 2016, however, the Trump administration put that program on hold, concerned about inadequate vetting and security threats. The Pentagon increased the level of vetting and had been planning on relaunching the program this fall. Unfortunately, barriers remain.
It's an unfortunate reality that the wait to have a U.S. citizenship application processed can be long. In past years, applications were processed in about four to six months, according to one Bay Area citizenship class instructor. Since the Trump administration began, that wait has grown to between 10 months and a year -- and longer in other big cities with large immigrant populations.