Once you have obtained Legal Permanent Residency and your “green card”, the typical next step is to eventually apply to become a U.S. Citizen. However, how long you must wait in order to apply for your U.S. Citizenship will depend on various factors. Typically, if you obtained your LPR status through your U.S. citizen spouse and you are still married to that spouse, you can apply for U.S. Citizenship after being an LPR for 3 years. If you obtained your LPR status by other means, the typical wait is 5 years.
However, it is imperative that you speak with a knowledgeable and qualified immigration attorney before you apply for your U.S. Citizenship, because there may be other factors that may hinder your eligibility and/or how long you must wait to apply for U.S. Citizenship.
In most cases, yes, you must conduct the entire interview in English. This includes the U.S. Civics Exam, the written and reading portions of the exam as well. However, if you have been a Legal Permanent Resident for more than 20 years and you are 50 years old or older, you may qualify to have the interview done in Spanish (or your native language) and you can also have the U.S. Civics Exam done in Spanish (or your native language). You also will not have to take the written or reading portions of the exam.
If you have been a Legal Permanent Resident for over 15 years and are 55 years old or older, you can also be exempted from taking the exam and conducting the interview in English. You can opt to have the interview and U.S. Civics Exam done in the language you feel most comfortable with.
If you have been a Legal Permanent Resident for at least 20 years and you are 65 years or older, USCIS has stated that it will give special consideration regarding the civics requirement.
Once a family member is apprehended by ICE, there may be little you can do, depending on when and where it occurred. What is most important is to prepare for this situation before it happens. Speak to a knowledgeable and experienced immigration attorney about your options before you are ever placed in a position of being apprehended by ICE. A qualified immigration attorney can assess your loved ones' immigration case and either assist them on a path towards obtaining legal status or assist them on being prepared on what to do in the event that they or another family member are apprehended by ICE.
If a loved one is already in ICE's custody, call an immigration attorney immediately to see if they can help you find out where he or she is being detained. If your loved ones contact you, be certain to ask them:
Your loved one should be able to find the A number on his or her wrist band. This information should also be available from a detention officer. Write this information down and tell your loved one to not sign any documentation.
Once you have received this information and have told your loved one to NOT sign any documentation, you need to contact an immigration attorney experienced in handling cases involving ICE and deportations immediately to address any defenses and advocate against deportation.
We understand that having a loved one detained can cause much stress and heartache to those that love them. Family members and friends will no doubt want to get their loved one out of detention immediately. However, depending on the individual and their immigration record, they may or may not be eligible for release.
It is very important that you get the detained loved one’s A number as soon as you can. Next you should contact an immigration attorney immediately to see what can be done. An experienced immigration attorney can help you find out where your detained family member is located. They can also analyze the case to see whether or not your family member qualifies to seek a bond hearing and help you through the process to arrive at a bond hearing.
There are different ways an individual can become a Legal Permanent Resident. Depending on your current status in or outside the U.S. and situation, you may be eligible for different visas. There are family-based visas, fiancée visas, and some work visas that allow you to later apply for LPR status. Only a qualified immigration attorney can assess your current situation and explain which visa is best for you.
Many individuals in the U.S. find themselves in a situation where they now qualify to apply for Legal Permanent Residency, but have heard they will have to go back to their home country to get their green card.
In some cases, yes unfortunately this is true. In some cases, after an individual has an approved family petition, in order to go on to apply for Legal Permanent Residency, they will have to return to their home country for the LPR interview.
However, in other cases, depending on different factors such as an existing previous petitions or the manner in which a person entered the U.S., an individual may qualify to obtain their Legal Permanent Residency without having to leave the country.
There is not one factor that will determine this. Therefore it is extremely important that before you start the immigration process, you speak with an experienced immigration attorney so they can assess your unique situation and let you know all your options.