When a Permanent Resident Who Wants to File for Citizenship Really Must Contact an Attorney

Kevin Lawrence Dixler

Written by

Immigration Attorney - Chicago, IL

Contributor Level 20

Posted over 5 years ago. 2 helpful votes



Have you ever been arrested or charged for a crime?

If you forget to include an arrest or something that appears on an arrest record, then the USCIS may consider this a lie, which is a reason to deny the application. It is important to understand the question or you will waste the $675 filing fee and can even be referred to an immigration court for a deportation hearing.


How did I Get My Green Card, Anyway?

If you don't know, then there should be concern. If you know it was by lying, then you may be interrogated during a naturalization exam. There are some applicants who the USCIS now knows presented false documents. The Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) or Legalization programs have created a few significantly messy situations. If you are one of those applicants, and you fear you did not qualify for a green card, then contact an attorney. You may be told that your green card was or will be revoked at your naturalization interview.


I married because I wanted my green card and found someone to help me, okay?

No, not okay! Immigration marriage fraud is a Federal criminal offense punishable in Federal Court. It also creates a permanent bar to immigration in many situations. Of course, if an investigations or tip suggests marriage fraud, the USCIS may investigate. Unfortunately, they may confront you with the evidence at the naturalization examination. You can be referred to Immigration Court for deportation hearings as a result.


I left the U.S. for more than a year and recently decided to come back

An significantly long departure outside the U.S. for over 180 days creates challenges to the right to naturalize to Citizenship. A trip over one year suggests that an applicant abandoned their permanent resident status. Any prolonged stay outside the U.S. over the last five years can disqualify an applicant for naturalization by Citizenship. It may cause other immigration complications.


I don't speak or understand English well. No Habla Ingles, Spechen zi deutch, etc.

A naturalization candidate needs to understand and answer all of the questions asked by the naturalization examiner with few exceptions. A naturalization applicant must also pass a ten question exam and correctly read and write an English Sentence for the most part. If you have trouble with English, either study longer and get confident or enroll in English Classes.


Other Thoughts

The Naturalization Application fee has now reached $675. Many attorneys charge considerably less for an appointment or teleconference. Many potential clients want to know why they should or should not file. The best way to create a responsible attorney-client relationship is to get the attorney to explain why you may have challenges. This can take time. The time it takes to provide legal advice is the service that an attorney should earn a fee for.

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