Alexus Paul Sham - Immigration Law Made Simple
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Naturalization/Citizenship: To Apply or To Not Apply That is the Question

The general requirements for applying for citizenship are when a green card holder has been a permanent resident for five years or in cases where the application is based on marriage to a US citizen, the application can be filed three years from the issuance of the green card as long as the couple is still living together.

There is a growing trend, however, for people who apply for naturalization/citizenship to not only have the application denied, but the green card holder is also in jeopardy of having permanent status revoked and being placed in removal/deportation proceedings. There are several fact patterns that could cause this result. 

One pattern is that the permanent resident is convicted of a felony or some other serious crime. Any type of criminal record can cause issues for green card holders, especially crimes involving moral turpitude that is crimes which is generally requires an intent to cause great bodily harm, defraud. or permanently deprive an owner of property. Examples include theft, domestic violence, and crimes involving firearms. Always consult an immigration attorney before accepting a plea.

Another instance is if the green card holder is not living in the United States and/or is not filing tax returns in the United States. Permanent residence requires that you live in the United States and file tax returns in the United States. If you will be away from the United States for a year or more it is important to apply for a Re-entry permit. Any absence from the US for over 6 months creates a presumption of abandonment of the green card. 

In marriage cases, if the green card holder files for divorce prior to the application for citizenship this creates a difficult situation. In some states, the grounds for divorce require that the situation exist for a year prior to the filing. So, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney from the Law Offices of Alexus Sham before making the decision to file for naturalization.

2 Comments to Naturalization/Citizenship: To Apply or To Not Apply That is the Question:

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