Executive Action: Promote Naturalization
Over the years it has not necessarily been an easy process for lawful permanent residents to upgrade their status to naturalization. Up to date there are more than 8 million people in the U.S. who are eligible to become naturalized but have yet to make the step. On the 20th November 2014, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has moved a step forward to ease the burden of naturalization.
Some of this burden seems to be related to the payment of naturalization fees which up to now could not be done through a credit card. As from now this method can be used to make the two payments the biometrics fee of $85 and the naturalization fee of $595. The USCIS, which is responsible for accepting the fees, is expected to accept the money through the Department of Treasury’s website Pay.gov. This process should start to take effect as soon as possible but the end of 2015 is the deadline set for implementation of this payment method.
If you are not already aware of this, USCIS does provide a waiver if the income of a prospective citizen based on income and that is if the impending citizen’s income does not exceed more than 150% of the federally stated poverty line. Further partial waivers are a possibility on higher income earners but are still under negotiation with the USCIS as they are dependent on fees to perform their function.
In the near future, the USCIS will be waging a media campaign to encourage prospective citizens to apply for naturalization. The states that currently hold 75% of permanent residents who are residing lawfully are Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Texas and Washington. It is these states that the USCIS will be targeting over the next few months.
Naturalization is never an easy process as many people who have resided in the U.S. long enough to qualify may still have family ties back in their original country and may be tied between the two countries. Some countries allow for dual citizenship so nothing is lost by becoming a U.S. citizen while others may have to forego the citizenship of birth to gain U.S. citizenship. Whatever situation you are in you should consult with an experienced immigration lawyer who can assist you with making the right decision and help you with matching all the requirements needed to smoothly transit your pathway to U.S. citizenship. If you are concerned about the English and Civics test then some sound legal advice will tell you what to prepare for and what exceptions are made.
Executive Action will not change the substantive requirements of naturalization. Visit our Citizenship Page Knowledge Center to learn more. As always, we are here to help.