Fun Facts & Information on Naturalization

Here at Berardi Immigration Law, we are proud to help our clients make their American dreams a reality! What better way to celebrate the upcoming Fourth of July holiday than to take a look at some interesting facts on naturalization. Naturalization is the process through which a green card holder in the United States can become a U.S. citizen.  Fun facts on naturalization: During the last decade, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomed more than 7.4 million naturalized citizens.  In fiscal year 2018, over 757,000 people were naturalized. Since 2009, USCIS welcomed approximately 620,000 to 780,000 citizens each year during naturalization ceremonies across the United States and around the world. In fiscal year 2018, 73 percent of all naturalized citizens resided in 10 states (in descending order): California, Florida, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington. In fiscal year 2018, the leading metropolitan areas of residence for naturalization applicants were New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (15 percent), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA (7.8 percent), and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL (7.3 percent). In fiscal year 2018, the top countries of origin for naturalization were in the following descending order:  Mexico, India, Philippines, Cuba, and People’s Republic of […]
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USCIS Announces Strategy to Decrease Processing Times for Naturalization and Adjustment of Status Applications

On June 17, 2019, USCIS announced that it will be implementing a national strategy to decrease differences in processing times based on location for both naturalization applications and adjustment of status applications. Since 2015, USCIS has experienced an increase in processing times due to higher than expected volumes received during fiscal years 2016 and 2017 that did not decrease as originally expected. Fiscal year 2017 receipts were up 15.6% from fiscal year 2016, and fiscal year 2016 receipts were up 25.5% from fiscal year 2015. The increased filing volumes did not affect field offices equally, which resulted in some disparity among processing times. USCIS will now begin to shift caseloads between field offices to decrease processing times. As a result, applicants may be scheduled to appear for an interview at a field office outside of their normal jurisdiction. This change will not affect where applicants attend their biometrics appointments. If you are interested in learning more about adjustment of status or naturalization, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!
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Controlled Substances and Naturalization

Naturalization is the process by which individuals not born on United States soil become American citizens. The process requires a long application process in order to satisfy certain general requirements. One of these requirements is that the applicant prove, through his or her application, that he or she is a person of good moral character. The good moral character requirement is somewhat vague and ambiguous and is consequently dependent on the interpretation of the USCIS officer who reviews an application. Nonetheless, some activities will universally impact the determination of an applicant’s good moral character in a negative way. One of those activities is the violation of federal controlled substances laws. Recently, USCIS issued new policy guidance explaining how the infringement of federal controlled substance laws affects naturalization determinations. Generally, violations of federal controlled substance laws, including marijuana-related offenses, will prevent a naturalization applicant from establishing that he or she has good moral character. This is so even if the controlled substance was possessed, used or distributed in a state where that substance is legal, such as marijuana in the District of Columbia.  Though some states have elected to decriminalize marijuana in one form or another, marijuana remains an illegal, controlled […]
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Naturalization Concerns: Continuous Residence, Tax Returns and State Benefits

Naturalization can be a long and anxiety-producing process. In putting together your application and waiting for approval from the government, you may have many questions and concerns. For instance, what if you have been moving around a lot and not maintaining a continuous residence? Or, what if you have failed to file your tax returns? Or, what if you have been receiving state healthcare benefits? Ultimately, these three issues are worth thinking about, and we explain why below. The residence requirements for naturalization do not require that an applicant live in the same residence during the five-year period of residency required for naturalization. Consequently, moving around, from house to house, should not affect a naturalization application. That being said, an applicant should begin to operate as much as he or she can out of a single address. He or she should file tax returns out of that address, stay there as much as possible and have identification changed to list that address. Illustrating that the applicant has a continuing, permanent address will make him or her appear more stable and established as an applicant, which can only help an application with the government. It is possible for an applicant to […]
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Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship

There are two requirements for a Canadian looking to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship. Such an individual must voluntarily, and with the intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship, execute the following steps: (1) appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer, in Canada, at a U.S. Embassy or consulate; and (2) sign an oath of renunciation. This process requires the renouncing party to abandon all the rights and privileges associated with being a United States citizen. It is a very serious process requiring a very earnest decision that cannot be taken back. If approved by the consulate, renunciation is irrevocable. For those individuals who are inclined toward renunciation of U.S. citizenship, the process is fairly straightforward. There are four basic steps to follow. The first step is to complete and return forms DS-4079, DS-4080 and DS-4081 to the Department of State.  Secondly, the individual looking to renounce citizenship must contact a U.S. Consulate in Canada and request an appointment for an interview. The renouncing individual will need to bring copies of completed forms and scanned copies of documents to the appointment at the consulate, including a U.S. passport, evidence of U.S. citizenship, a valid Canadian passport, evidence of […]
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Featured Client of the Month: Peter Hapak

Peter Hapak is a long-standing client of Berardi Immigration Law. Peter’s relationship with Berardi Immigration Law began when he decided it was time to settle permanently in the United States due to many of the opportunities available here. He decided to apply to become a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States after spending years working in the U.S. on a work visa as a photographer. With the assistance of our firm, Peter’s petition for a green card was approved. This allowed Peter to further pursue his career in the United States with greater flexibility and ease.  After many years as a green card holder, Peter decided it was time for the next step: citizenship. After our team’s professional and successful handling of his green card application, Peter decided once again to work with the team at Berardi Immigration Law. We were able to successfully handle Peter’s nuanced case and navigate the various questions he had relating to the process, his application, and any concerns along the way.  Applying for any type of immigration benefit can feel stressful and leave applicants on edge. Peter’s favorite part about working with Berardi Immigration Law was the constant updates he received from our […]
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Civics Test Update: Don’t Let the Civics Test Stop You From Becoming a U.S. Citizen

If you are a foreign national seeking to become an American citizen, the naturalization process can be a mixture of stress and excitement. One of the last steps to complete before naturalizing to a citizen is the civics test. Passing the civics test is required to become a citizen. A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer will ask a set of up to 10 civics questions. You must answer at least six of these questions correctly. While this may sound difficult, the good news is that USCIS has published all 100 possible civics questions online for review.  One difficulty that you may face when preparing for this exam is the fact that answers to some of the questions will periodically change based on elections. Questions that vary include identifying U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, the President, the Vice President, the number of justices on the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, state Governors, the political party of the President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. USCIS publishes up-to-date material regarding these civics test updates that foreign nationals should use to prepare for the civics exam.  As a result of the 2018 election, the answers to some questions have or […]
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