Q: Immigration Question
Hello, I have a friend who came over as a one year old and she is now 22, legally married to an American citizen and is expecting their first child. She only has her foreign passport since she came over without consent as a baby. What are the steps she has to take to get her citizenship? She would like to move from IL to FL but is worried about possible deportation as she is unaware of what could happen to her, if anything, considering her citizenship. What are the steps to take to get her started on her citizenship?
A: Before seeking citizenship through naturalization, she would need to first apply for U.S. legal permanent resident status. Whether she entered on a visa and overstayed or entered without inspection will dictate which path the case takes. If she entered originally through an official port of entry and was inspected and admitted, her U.S. Citizen spouse could file a petition for relative for her and she could file contemporaneously and application to adjust status. However, her personal history should be reviewed before doing so to make sure no grounds of inadmissibility exist (e.g., criminal history, certain negative immigration history, etc.). If she was not inspected and admitted when she entered the U.S., a consular processing based case may be in order. She should likely schedule a consultation with a competent and experienced immigration attorney who can evaluate all of her facts in order to provide the best advice. Many attorneys offer online video consultations.
Your friend may be eligible for citizenship through marriage to a U.S. citizen. The process is called Adjustment of Status. Here are the steps she needs to take:
1. File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with USCIS. This form will establish her relationship to her husband and request that he be considered a sponsor for her.
2. File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS. This form will request that she be granted lawful permanent residency.
3. Attend an interview with a USCIS officer. At the interview, the officer will review her application and ask her questions about her marriage, her relationship to her husband, and her intentions for living in the United States.
4. If her application is approved, she will be granted lawful permanent residency and will be issued a green card.
Once she has a green card, she will be able to live and work in the United States permanently. She will also be able to apply for citizenship after five years of continuous residence.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
* The process of Adjustment of Status can take several months or even years.
* She may be required to attend an interview with a USCIS officer.
* The USCIS officer has the discretion to deny an Adjustment of Status application for any reason.
If she has any questions about the Adjustment of Status process, she should speak with an immigration attorney. An attorney can help her assess her situation and determine the best course of action.
As for her concern about deportation, she should be aware that she is not currently at risk of deportation. However, if she were to leave the United States without first obtaining a green card, she could be barred from re-entering the country.
If she is planning to move from Illinois to Florida, she should be aware that she will need to update her address with USCIS. She can do this by filing Form AR-11, Change of Address.
I hope this helps!
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