Applicants will deal with seemingly endless questions during the immigration process. However, there are many that come up all the time and can be considered and answered easily.
Here are the top ten frequently asked immigration questions
1. How long must I be a permanent resident to qualify for naturalization?
As a general rule you must be a permanent resident for five years to qualify for the naturalization process. However, you may be able to expedite this process if you are married to and have been living with the same US citizen for three years.
2. Can I apply early?
Yes, but at your own risk. If they deny your application, you’ll have to pay the fee again. Also, the three year marriage rule is usually non-negotiable, so it may be fruitless in that instance.
3. If I get a visa, am I automatically granted into the United States?
Unfortunately, no! The immigration officer at customs makes the final decision whether to let you in or not. If you fulfilled all the requirements and don’t cause a disturbance at the port of entry, though, you should be fine.
4. I came here illegally. What are my options?
Unless you’re qualifying for refugee or asylum status, you may be out of luck. If you get married you can apply to stay, but if the government thinks the marriage is a sham, you can both be in major trouble! If you have been in the country for less than 12 months, you can go to your home country and apply for citizenship in two years.
5. The filing fee is expensive, what can I do?
If you can prove you have an ability to pay, you can get a waiver of the filing fee. You must prove , with documentation, that you have no means to pay the fee.
6. Should I get a lawyer?
As a general rule, it’s a good idea. You can fill out paperwork by yourself, but an immigration lawyer will know various rules and processes you otherwise would not.
7. Do I have to be 18 to naturalize?
If you are under 18, you may still be able to naturalize. If at least one parent is a United States citizen and you are a permanent resident, then you should qualify for the process.
8. How hard is the naturalization test?
As long as you study hard you shouldn’t have a problem. If you fail the test the first time, don’t panic! You have a second shot at it, usually scheduled 60-90 days after the first test.
9. Do you really get grilled at a marriage interview?
It totally depends on the interviewer. These workers are usually very busy and need to get you in and out as soon as possible. This means they will be short and to the point. They are accustomed to picking out scams, though, so you may get grilled if your story seems fishy.
10. How many people come to the United States each year?
Estimates in 2006 put the number of immigrants coming into the country around 1.8 million. This included an estimated 500,000 illegals and over 300,000 temporary workers.