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Immigration for spouses and children of U.S. citizens

Some Illinois residents may be concerned about how they can bring their close family members to join them in the United States. In the family-based immigration process, there are several types of family relations that take priority, especially spouses, fiancé(e)s, and adopted children. When a U.S. citizen wants to bring their spouse to live as a permanent resident, he or she must file a visa petition for the spouse. In some cases, the spouse is already living in the U.S. When the petition is approved, the spouse can then petition to adjust status to that of a green card holder.

If the spouse is living abroad, he or she can go to the closest consulate to finalize the processing of the immigrant visa. If the U.S. citizen and the spouse were married for less than two years, the permanent residency granted will be considered conditional. The spouses must show their marriage is real and not conducted solely for immigration purposes. They must file a petition to remove the conditional status before the two-year period is over.

Immigration issues and young children

We have covered a variety of topics related to family immigration on this blog, but some people have an especially hard time with respect to immigration matters. For example, those who have young kids may be under an incredible amount of stress, and they may also struggle with helping their children work through these concerning issues. For example, some children are too young to understand what is going on, and communication can be very hard. Not to mention, kids often have difficult issues of their own to work through (such as problems at school) which can make this situation even more troubling.

For starters, it is important to look at this issue from your child's point of view. Try to understand what they are going through and provide them with some reassurance. You may not be able to answer all of their questions, but it is very helpful for you to do your best to give them answers as well as reassurance. Whether you run the risk of deportation or you are worried about your entire family being sent out of the country, we know how tough this situation can be.

Victory for immigrants after Trump plan denied

With the barrage of new immigration laws that are coming into play and have been throughout Trump's administration, many immigrants are feeling the pressure and fear of having their families dismantled. For immigrants in Illinois and elsewhere around the nation, policies in their favor have been far and few between despite the relentless efforts of immigration groups pushing for protection, liberty and tolerance. 

Recently, a court judge denied a plan from the Trump administration that would have made it so migrant families, regardless of the ages of family members, would be detained at the border without any consideration. Experts and immigration activists have expressed disdain over the decision of the Trump administration to detain young children in conditions that can have detrimental effects on their growth, development and safety. 

What is a fiance visa?

Preparing for marriage may be one of the happiest moments of your life. What if, however, your spouse-to-be is not a U.S. citizen and is legally residing in another country? You could wait until you are married and then apply for a spouse visa to bring the new member of your family into the country, or you could have your fiance apply for a K-1 visa that will allow them entrance into the country prior to the marriage ceremony. 

Keep in mind that if you do apply for a fiance visa, you are not required to stay in the country. You may decide to move out of the country once the marriage is finalized. However, you do have the option of using your fiance visa to apply for a green card, or permanent residence in the country. 

US announces new immigration policy for foreign-born children

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says children of U.S. service members and other government employees born abroad will no longer have automatic citizenship status. The agency says the new policy will go into effect Oct. 29.

The policy applies to children who are born in U.S. military hospitals located outside the country, and to children of government employees and military members who are serving abroad.

What do you need to do to prepare for a visitor via interview?

When you come from a nation other than the United States and wish to visit Illinois or another part of the country on a temporary basis, you will typically first need to secure a visitor visa. To obtain one of these nonimmigrant visas, you will first need to navigate the application process, and this generally entails filling out an online application and then participating in a subsequent interview.

According to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, just about everyone over 13 years of age and under 80 who wishes to secure a visitor visa must go through the visa interview process. To schedule one, you will typically need to contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in the nation where you live, and you will also need to pay the nonrefundable visa application fee before moving forward with the interview.

How do you qualify for naturalization?

If you are from a foreign country and wish to become a citizen of the United States, you should be aware of all your options. Naturalization is one of those options, and is granted to foreign citizens who have met the requirements created in the Immigration and Nationality Act. If you do indeed meet the requirements, you are able to apply for citizenship by taking a naturalization test. 

One way to meet the requirements set by Congress to apply for naturalization is to have lived in the country for a minimum of five years and meet all of the other requirements as stated. These include the following:

How difficult is the naturalization test?

As a legal immigrant living in Illinois, you may be thinking about becoming a U.S. citizen, but hesitate to take the naturalization test, fearing that it will be too difficult for you to successfully pass. You will be happy to know that if you already speak and read passable English, you should have very little difficulty passing this test the first time you take it.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains that the naturalization test consists of two parts, an English test and an American civics test. Your first step will be to contact the USCIS, fill out the interview application, and schedule your initial interview. At that interview the USCIS agent will ask you questions about your background and your application to become a U.S. citizen. You should know, however, that the purpose of this interview is not to be nosy, but rather to give the agent the opportunity to talk with you — in English — and discover how well you understand and can speak the English language. Once you complete your initial interview, you then will schedule your English and civics tests.

Families, businesses across Chicago fear immigration raids

For many families and business owners across Chicago and surrounding parts of Illinois, the threat of immigration raids is a seemingly constant one. Many immigrant families and business owners would be wise to prepare themselves for such raids, given the current presidential administration’s plans to move ahead with deportation roundups. According to CBS Chicago, immigration activists have ramped up their efforts to connect with immigrant communities in recent days so they can inform as many immigrants as possible about their legal rights.

Immigrants with criminal backgrounds will likely be among the administration’s first targets, and immigrant activists are warning them against doing anything that could potentially hurt their situations, such as signing any documents they do not fully understand. Activists and immigration attorneys are also cautioning against opening doors to anyone who claims to work for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement without first verifying not only who they are, but that they have a warrant with them.

Denials of U.S. immigrant visas on the rise

As someone hoping to immigrate to Illinois or another part of the United States, or conversely, as someone looking to help a family member immigrate to the United States, you may face an uphill battle. At Francis Law Center, we recognize that a recent, largely unpublicized rule change may make it harder than ever for immigrants to pursue their paths to citizenship, and we have helped many people navigating similar issues pursue solutions that meet their needs.

According to Reuters, a rule change took effect in late 2018 that is making it even harder for people to immigrate to the United States, and people looking to immigrate from Mexico may find that they are increasingly likely to have their visa requests denied. The new rule change allows the government to deny visas if the U.S. State Department believes that applicants may ultimately end up becoming “public charges,” meaning they may need to utilize government services in order to get by and support themselves while here.

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