Recently I have received an influx of questions regarding acquiring U.S. Citizenship in the United States. These inquiries have come mostly from permanent residents who are living in the United States and who now wish to acquire U.S. citizenship to protect their immigration status and to assist their family members in acquiring legal status. In this article I will provide a general answer to some of the concerns that I have received regarding U.S. Citizenship.
1. If I list my family members on my citizenship application will they automatically become citizens or permanent residents?
Generally the answer is no. The citizenship application does require that you list your spouse and all of your children on your application. However, if you have not submitted an immigrant visa petition on behalf of your dependents the mere task of listing them on your citizenship application will not automatically grant them legal immigration status.
2. Can I reapply for U.S. Citizenship if my application was previously denied?
Generally if your application has been denied for an administrative error you can always reapply. However, it is important to know that you will be expected to resubmit your complete application along with your immigration fees. If your application was denied because you failed the civics test or the English exam you may reapply as soon as you believe that you have learnt enough English or studied for the civics test. If your application was denied because of your criminal convictions or any other reason it would be best to consult with an attorney to ensure that you are eligible to resubmit your application.
3. If I have been convicted of a crime but my record has been expunged, do I need to indicate that information on my citizenship application?
The answer is yes. You should always be honest with Immigration regarding all arrests and convictions (even if they have been expunged). Even if you have committed a minor crime, Immigration can deny your application if you failed to disclose information about the incident.
4. I am a permanent resident but I reside in Jamaica. Can I still apply for U.S. citizenship even if I do not live in the United States?
Disclaimer: This handout is a broad overview of the frequently asked questions associated with acquiring U.S citizenship. This article is provided as a public service and is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship. Any reliance on the information contained herein is taken at your own risk. The information provided in this article should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.
About the Writer:
Safiya Byars is a native of Jamaica and an attorney in Decatur, Georgia. Her firm is located at 160 Clairemont Avenue, Ste. 200, Decatur, Georgia 30030. Her firm handles all Immigration Matters, Deportation, Domestic Relations, Criminal Defense, Business Formation and Litigation, Landlord/Tenant and Estate Planning. To discuss your case, please contact Attorney Byars at 404-992-6506 or 678-954-5809 or via email. or visit her firm’s website.