For immigrants trying to become United States citizens, the process and its myriad forms, regulations, and requirements can become an interminable maze that may drag on for months or years. To start with, there is a bureaucratic backlog of cases waiting for review by immigration officers. When a case does come up, there are many issues considered by the Department of Homeland Security in assessing a candidate’s immigration record, which may stall the process and become obstacles to citizenship. Many applicants have applied for citizenship only to have their applications denied due to reasons such as mistakes made on forms or failing to provide required documents and information. Fortunately, an experienced immigration lawyer can guide you at every step of the legal process, advocate for your rights, and prevent problems that create delays or denials of your citizenship application, and help speed it to a successful conclusion.
How an Immigration Lawyer Can Help Speed the Process
Every immigration case is different and has its unique circumstances and challenges. A skilled immigration lawyer knows how to analyze your individual situation, address potential roadblocks proactively and provide advice tailored to your specific needs. This can enhance the efficiency of the immigration process by addressing potential roadblocks proactively and streamlining the application process.
There are many some ways your immigration attorney can help speed the process toward citizenship. Your attorney can:
Help you consider options. Part of being successful in the immigration process is making sure that you have petitioned for the right kind of visa or status according to your specific situation. Whether you want a work permit, the ability to keep your loved one in the country, or permanent citizenship, an attorney can help you determine the advantages and disadvantages of each available option, advise you on the expected timeline of each and the likelihood that you will be successful, and guide you through the steps you need to take.
Some possible options include:
- Marriage-Based Visa (CR-1 and IR-1 Visa): This is for a foreign national married to a U.S. citizen.
- Nonimmigrant visa for spouse (K-3) – This is a nonimmigrant visa for a spouse of a U.S. citizen. Learn more.
- Fiancé(e) Visa (K-1 Visa): This visa allows a foreign national who is engaged to a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. for the purpose of getting married if they plan to marry within 90 days.
- Spousal Visa for Non-Immigrant Worker: This is for foreign nationals who are in the U.S. on a non-immigrant work visa (such as H-1B, L-1, or O-1) and married to a U.S. citizen.
- Asylum or Refugee Status: Immigrants facing persecution in their home country can apply for asylum or refugee status in the U.S. if they can prove persecution.
- Student Visas: F1 or M1 student visas are available for those who want to study in the United States.
- Green Card through Employment: This allows you to work in the United States.
The U.S. limits the number of visas it grants annually, depending on the nation of origin, so applicants from some countries may face longer wait times than others.
File correct paperwork: Immigration law in the United States contains a massive set of rules, regulations, and processes, and it is essential to fill out and submit required paperwork and documentation with accurate information within the required time frame. Immigration paperwork often requires some knowledge about the laws surrounding the paperwork that needs to be submitted, and having a lawyer to help with the petition process prevents mistakes that can prolong the process and/or hurt your application.
Each form must be filled out precisely as instructed, and be accompanied by all required supporting documents. Common mistakes that can lead to delays or even rejection of your application include:
- Using wrong or outdated forms
- Forms contain misspellings, incomplete information, or lack required signatures
- Missing or incorrect documentation or require additional information.
Handle all communications with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Communication with immigration authorities can be challenging for individuals unfamiliar with the system. Your immigration attorney can communicate with USCIS on your behalf, handling correspondence, inquiries, and requests for additional information promptly and professionally. An immigration attorney can also help with the appeals process or assist in applying for waivers if your application is denied. If you are required to go to a hearing with the immigration board, your attorney can attend and advocate for you.
Help your case stay up to date. In the event of changes in the law or other complications or unforeseen issues, an experienced immigration lawyer can offer proactive solutions. If your case is challenged or if there is any need for documentation correction or an appeal at any stage, your lawyer can get to work on it quickly to avoid huge delays or denials. In addition, your attorney can help you work toward your long-term goals, including permanent citizenship, by strengthening your case from the start.
Help you continue to stay compliant. The petition process is only one part of immigration law. Once you have been approved, you have to keep up with renewals, documentation, paperwork, taxes, and many other responsibilities in order to maintain legal status, and your immigration attorney can help with these.
An Immigration Attorney Can Help You Become a US Citizen
The most commonly used path to U.S. citizenship involves a person who has been a permanent resident for at least 5 years who applies to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. The process typically begins with the filing of an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400). There is a Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet that will help you determine if you are eligible to apply for naturalization based on your years as a permanent resident. There are other paths available to permanent residents who are the spouses of U.S. citizens, for whom the pre-application period is reduced to 3 years; for permanent residents in the military and certain qualifying members of their family, and for children of citizens or permanent residents.
To achieve citizenship, you must prove through testing and/or personal examination and interview that you have a basic understanding of civics and how the U.S. government works and that you can read, speak and write English to a reasonable degree. You must also be of good character and swear allegiance to the United States and its principals.
Your immigration attorney can help determine the appropriate process for you, fill out necessary forms, and counsel you along the way to success and citizenship.
Get Help from an Experienced Immigration Lawyer in Kentucky
If you or a loved one wants to speed along the process of obtaining a visa or citizenship, the experienced immigration lawyers at Carman Fullerton in Lexington, Kentucky, can make sure everything is done properly and efficiently. Attorneys Kirby Fullerton and Dan Carman have many years of experience representing clients involved in immigration cases. Our compassionate staff and attorneys speak Spanish and accommodate speakers of other languages as well.
Call us today to get started so we can help ensure that your application will be successful and processed in the shortest time possible.
GET STARTED NOW CALL 859-971-0060
Attorney Kirby J. Fullerton
Mr. Fullerton’s practice is focused on immigration law. He speaks Spanish, and represents clients in cases before the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He began his career practicing criminal defense, and understands how matters in criminal courts can affect a client’s immigration status. [Attorney Bio]