Articles Posted in Citizenship and Naturalization

America is still the land known as "the melting pot" where people from anywhere in the world can find a way to thrive without completely abandoning their home culture or customs. Because Americans are so accommodating of other people's cultural backgrounds it can be relatively easy to find a place where you will fit right in and quickly feel at home.

In other countries around the world, oftentimes the recent immigrant would be expected to assimilate fully with their new home country and traditions and customs of the old home country might not be as tolerated as you will find is the case in America. In many of the large cities you will find neighborhoods that will instantly transport you to other lands. San Francisco, in California, for instance, is home to the largest China Town (a sprawling neighborhood of predominantly Chinese Americans) outside of Asia.

Not far from China Town in San Francisco is the neighborhood known as North Beach which is home to a vibrant Italian American community. The sidewalk cafes are reminiscent of those in Europe. Many times you will hear the shop owners and their customers conversing in Italian. San Francisco is a wonderful example of the melting pot experience but most larger cities have similar neighborhoods where immigrants have settled and created an atmosphere that reminds them of the country of their origin.

It is very common to hear from a freshly naturalized US citizen is that they want to sponsor their family members so they can join them in the United States and enjoy the benefits of living and working in the US. However, not every family member will be eligible to be petitioned for US permanent residency or the green card.

The law is specific on what constitutes a family member as it applies to US immigration. As a rule, extended family members are not part of the “family unit”. The notion that extended families, such as grandparents, nephews, nieces, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents-in-law, and other extended family members, are eligible for sponsorship is simply not correct. Instead, the law allows US citizens to petition for the following family members: “parents, spouses, fiancés, minor-unmarried children, married children or adult children, brothers and sisters, unmarried children and spouse.” Permanent residents, or green card holders, can also petition family members but they are limited to sponsoring spouses, and unmarried children only.

Can a family petition can be stopped or withdrawn? The answer is “Yes.” Whenever family dynamics are at play, the petitioner may have a change of heart and decide he does not want to follow through with his sponsorship. A petitioner can withdraw the petition even after it has been approved. A request to withdraw a petition once received by the USCIS is final. But once the beneficiary has actually received his permanent residency status, the petitioner can no longer withdraw his sponsorship.

Becoming a U.S. citizen is one of the proudest moments in an immigrant's life. Participating in a naturalization ceremony is a great accomplishment, because becoming a legal citizen is not an easy process. During the process errors are possible, and those errors delay the chances of becoming a citizen. Here are common mistakes immigrants make and how to stop them.

The naturalization process begins with filling out Form N-400. One mistake, like missing data, incomplete data or a skipped question will delay the whole process. What you should not do is rush through the application. Fill it out truthfully and accurately. Check and double check the application thoroughly. When filing, include all supporting documents with the N-400. Don't forget to add the exact application fee amount in the form of a check or money order.

While it’s imperative to study hard and pass the civics test and English competency test, listening to what the immigration officer says is just as important. The immigration officer will conduct your interview. At the end of the interview, the official will hand you a letter recommending the approval of your application or may hand out a letter asking for additional documentation. Many fail to provide these documents, and in doing so cause a denial of their application. Provide the additional documents requested as soon as possible along with the request letter.

For many people who have come to the United States, citizenship is the most prized possession that one might attain. It is treasured, a hard won emblem of pride and membership in our national community.

Immigrants come to the United States for a variety of reasons, all of which include wanting a better life. To make that dream a reality, many immigrants and their families work hard to learn English and to learn about the history, the values, and the culture of the American people. They aspire to become citizens of the United States of America.

Citizenship is important. It guarantees full participation in the community and the country-at-large. It defines the roles and responsibilities, the rights and the freedoms of the American people.

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