USCIS Announces Plans to Improve the Naturalization Test

USCIS has announced that it will begin implementing an updated naturalization test beginning December 2020 or early 2021. In order to naturalize, candidates must demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of U.S. civics and the English language by passing a naturalization test.   In December 2018, USCIS formed a naturalization test revision working group with members from across the agency. The working group has been reviewing and updating the naturalization test questions, as well as assessing potential changes to the speaking portion of the test. USCIS is receiving the input of experts in the field to ensure that this process is fair and transparent.  USCIS has the power, granted by Congress, to develop, administer and occasionally revise the naturalization civics test to ensure accuracy and timeliness of content.  It has been 10 years since revisions were last made to the naturalization test. On May 3, 2019, USCIS signed the Revision of the Naturalization Civics Test Memorandum.  As explained in the memorandum, “the purpose of these revisions is to create a meaningful, comprehensive, uniform, and efficient test that will assess applicants’ knowledge and understanding of U.S. history, government, principles, and values.”  Presently, the civics portion of the naturalization test consists of 10 questions out […]
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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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Client of the Month: Mark Jones

Berardi Immigration Law is happy to have recently helped Mark Jones acquire U.S. citizenship! Mark is a long-standing client of Berardi Immigration Law (BIL); in fact, he was one of Rosanna’s first clients upon the founding of the firm in 2005! The firm has assisted Mark through the process of applying for his marriage-based green card all the way through citizenship. Mark originally chose to work with our firm thanks to BIL’s attention to detail and personal interest in his case. Mark and his spouse decided to continue working with BIL as a result of our firm’s unwavering support, as well as consistent results.  Mark and his spouse enjoyed their time working with BIL. Once they were married, they contacted our firm to begin the process of first obtaining a green card. When it was eventually time to apply for citizenship, they knew they wanted to work with our team again. They had complete confidence in the entire team’s knowledge and expertise, as well as our long-term commitment to Mark’s case. The team’s personal touch helped make what can be a stressful process manageable and streamlined. Mark felt fully prepared for his final interview and aced the exam. Attending Mark’s […]
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In an Effort to Promote Efficiency, USCIS Makes More Forms Available for Online Filing

In its continuing efforts to promote more efficiency in its processes, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that applicants now have the ability to file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship and Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 online.  L. Francis Cissna, director of USCIS, noted that traditional paper filing of petitions often creates a burden on those seeking an immigration benefit and those who are adjudicating petitions. He also noted that “this addition to our online capabilities is yet another positive advancement toward a more efficient and convenient filing experience for everyone involved.” In addition to Forms N-600 and N-600K, USCIS allows for electronic filing of Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card; Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a decision in Naturalization Proceedings; Form N-400, Application for Naturalization; and Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.  Applicants can file Form N-600 for themselves or their minor children if they were born abroad and are claiming U.S. citizenship at birth through their parents or automatically became a U.S. citizen after birth, but before they turned 18 years old. Applicants are eligible to file Form N-600K if they regularly […]
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USCIS Updates Policy Regarding ‘Living in Marital Union’ for Naturalization Applications

On Friday, October 12, 2018, USCIS issued an alert that it will be updating policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify the married and living in marital union requirements under section 319(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  In general, all naturalization applicants filing on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen must continue to be married from the time of filing the application until the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance. In addition, statutory provisions require the applicant spouse to have been married and “living in marital union” (living together) with his or her U.S. citizen spouse for at least three years immediately before he or she filed the naturalization application.  While the law requires the applicant spouse and the U.S. citizen spouse remain married until the time the applicant naturalizes, the new policy memo states that the living in marital union requirement is only required until the time of filing the application. The new guidance supersedes any prior guidance.  The highlights of the policy are as follows: The policy clarifies that the applicant spouse and his or her U.S. citizen spouse must have been living in marital union for at least three years immediately […]
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