All posts by LAW OFFICES OF CHENG, CHO & YEE

What to Look for When Hiring an Immigration Lawyer

what to look for when hiring an immigration lawyer

When looking for the right immigration lawyer, it’s important to locate an attorney with plenty of experience and proven success in immigration law. It’s challenging to go through the immigration process, but a reliable lawyer can help navigate it and work to secure the best possible outcome in a case.

What Is an Immigration Lawyer?

An immigration lawyer is someone who is licensed and qualified to provide representation in immigration cases. A qualifying attorney will have passed the bar exam and received admittance to at least one U.S. jurisdiction’s bar association.

Federal law governs immigration law, which means that any immigration attorney with a license to practice in a U.S. jurisdiction is able to provide representation to the country’s immigrants. In turn, this means that immigrants can hire an attorney from any location in the U.S., regardless of where they live. 

However, there are many immigration lawyers with different focuses. To get the best results in an immigration case and secure the best representation, it’s important to find an attorney with experience in the specific issue involved in the case. For instance, if an immigrant wishes to sponsor a family member for immigration, it’s best to work with a family immigration attorney who has plenty of experience in this area. Meanwhile, attorneys with experience in employment visas will be able to handle work visa-related matters.

What Can an Immigration Lawyer Do?

There are many tasks that immigration attorneys can help with in an immigration case. The following are some of the key aspects of a case that attorneys can address:

Understanding the Case

A qualified lawyer can help immigrants understand the specific benefits they seek. For example, some benefits may include liabilities that aren’t immediately clear, in which case immigrants may want to seek another benefit that poses less of a risk to them.

Identifying Hidden Risks

Attorneys can also look closely at a case to identify and address any potential issues and risk that might otherwise remain overlooked. For instance, some immigrants may be subject to a “public charge” in their case.

Additionally, that lawyer can help develop and implement certain strategies to mitigate those risks.

Providing Legal Advice

A dependable lawyer can also provide advice to help with making decisions throughout the legal process. As an example, if an immigrant plans to sponsor a fiance, an attorney can help determine if it’s best to get married outside of the U.S. and wait for the spouse to receive a visa or get married in the U.S. and require the spouse to obtain permanent residence in the U.S. on a fiance visa.

Preparation of Documents

When seeking permanent residence or U.S. citizenship, it’s important to have all documentation in order to ensure the process goes smoothly. An attorney can help obtain and organize all necessary documents to streamline the process and increase the chances of gaining agency approval.

Responding to Requests for Evidence

The government may request additional documentation and details that immigrants may receive following the filing of their application. Immigrants will need to respond to these requests and submit all requested information on time to avoid having their application denied. An attorney will be able to help prepare and respond to these Requests for Evidence in a timely and appropriate manner.

Visa Interview Preparation

The visa interview is a critical step for immigrants who wish to secure certain benefits. A lawyer will be able to help prepare for this interview by providing advice regarding the appropriate answers to provide. As a result, immigrants will go into their interview with a better idea of what to expect when it comes to the questions they’ll need to answer.

What Is the Cost of an Immigration Lawyer?

Immigration lawyers may charge their clients in a few different ways depending on their fees.

These potential costs include:

Flat Fees

Some immigration attorneys may charge a flat rate for certain services. Attorneys often charge this fee when seeking clear benefits that leave minimal room for uncertainty, making it easy to determine how much time they’ll spend on them.

Hourly Rates

The majority of immigration attorneys charge hourly rates of $100 or more for their services. Lawyers typically charge an hourly rate when representing clients throughout court proceedings, including removal proceedings. The reason for this charge is that the amount of time the attorney will spend representing their client is normally less predictable when proceedings are involved.

Consultation Fees

Some attorneys may also charge for a consultation. In certain cases, attorneys may offer phone or in-person consultations, with phone consultations being free. Meanwhile, others may charge for any consultation, regardless of the medium used to conduct it.

Individuals should keep in mind that all fees are normally non-refundble. Unlike other types of cases, fees will remain the same regardless of whether the government chooses to accept or deny an application.

If individuals are considering not hiring an attorney to provide representation, the costs could be even higher as the chances of gaining approval may decrease dramatically. Ultimately, hiring a reputable lawyer can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful case.

When to Hire an Immigration Attorney

It’s often difficult to obtain benefits for immigrants. There are many aspects to consider, including documentation and interview preparation, among others. As a result, the process can become complicated and overwhelming, particularly for individuals who aren’t used to this process.

A qualified attorney can help significantly increase the chances of obtaining the desired benefit, with services that help with obtaining documentation, preparing for interviews, and navigating proceedings, along with many other critical tasks. 

If individuals are wondering when it’s best to hire a Chicago immigration lawyer, there are certain circumstances that can help determine whether legal representation is necessary. These include the following:

  • Immigrants don’t speak or read English fluently
  • Individuals may not currently be eligible for the benefit they want to receive
  • The legal research individuals need to conduct is complicated and involves sufficient knowledge around immigration law
  • Immigrants have a criminal record and a history of issues with American immigration authorities, inclduing removal proceedings and visa overstays

Regardless of whether an individual needs an attorney, it’s often best to speak with one in a consultation to confirm whether it’s best to hire a lawyer. A qualified attorney can help determine what options are available and gauge the complexity of a case, which can point individuals in the right direction.

Tips You Should Follow When Selecting an Immigration Lawyer

When choosing an immigration lawyer to represent a case, whether to seek a family visa, business non-immigrant visa, or another type of benefit, there are some tips to keep in mind that can help with making the right decision.

If individuals are wondering what to look for when hiring an immigration lawyer, the following are some critical elements.

Check for Availability

When speaking with a lawyer, it’s important to determine how long it takes for the attorney to communicate after initially reaching out to them. If an attorney isn’t quick to get in touch, it could indicate a lack of availability, which could prevent the attorney from giving individual cases the attention they need.

Understand the Fees

When consulting with an immigration lawyer, the attorney should provide a clear estimate for how much they’ll charge for their services, whether charging a fixed fee or an hourly rate. This will help gauge whether an attorney is affordable before hiring them.

Make Sure the Attorney Has an Online Presence

Individuals should be able to easily find information about an immigration attorney online, either through their website or other platforms that lend credibility to them. A good attorney will always have a well-designed and detailed website that includes client testimonials and information about the kinds of cases they handle. A lack of an online presence can be a red flag indicating that the attorney is unreliable or inexperienced.

Select an Attorney with Experience in a Relevant Practice Area

General practitioners often handle many types of cases in a variety of areas, including immigration law along with personal injury and other practice areas. However, this could make them unable to give immigration cases the attention they need. An attorney with more experience in immigration law specifically will be more likely to stay up to date with the latest laws and requirements, which can help them more successfully secure benefits for their clients.

Avoid Attorneys That Make Promises and Guarantees

Reputable attorneys will never make any guarantees or promises that they may not be able to keep. If an attorney assures their clients that their cases are easy to handle and makes any kind of guarantee regarding results, this could indicate that they lack the experience needed to effectively handle these cases. A good lawyer will understand that each case comes with different factors that can greatly influence the outcome and make it unpredictable.

Find an Attorney That Maintains Good Communication

A good attorney will also maintain communication with their clients throughout each case. This is particularly crucial as many immigration cases can take as long as years to resolve, making communication throughout the entire process critical. Clients should always have a good understanding of what’s involved in their case and what their attorney is doing to help reach a favorable outcome. If an attorney is uncommunicative, this could indicate a lack of reliability. 

Choose an Attorney That’s the Right Fit

An immigration lawyer should generally be a good fit. During an initial consultation, individuals can learn more about the attorney’s personality and determine whether they’re the right fit for them. If immigrants establish a friendly relationship with their attorney from the start, this could be a sign that they’ll benefit from this relationship in the long term throughout their case.

Know What to Look for in the Right Immigration Attorney

Understanding what to look for when hiring an immigration lawyer will help individuals make the right selection. Generally, an attorney with ample experience, expertise in immigration law, a compatible personality, and affordable costs can help immigrants navigate their cases to secure a successful outcome. 

How Family-Based Immigration Works

how family-based immigration works

It’s possible for some individuals to sponsor family members who wish to immigrate to the U.S. and become either temporary or permanent residents or obtain citizenship for themselves. For successful family-based immigration to take place, applicants and their families must understand how this process works.

Becoming a U.S. Citizen

If individuals wish to become U.S. citizens, it’s important to understand the four US immigrant status types and how they influence the immigration process. 

Non-Immigrants

These are individuals who enter the U.S. legally on a temporary basis. These may include students on F-1 visas, business visitors or tourists on B1 or B2 visas, fiancées on K-1 visas, or those with temporary protected status. 

Typically, these individuals don’t intend to become immigrants or citizens. However, if these visa recipients violate the terms of their visa in any way, they may become undocumented. 

Undocumented

Undocumented people are those who have entered the country illegally or otherwise without permission. They are unable to live in the U.S. and they are also unable to gain employment in the country. Additionally, they don’t have access to a driver’s license, health care, or other public benefits.

Individuals who have this status may be deported or face deportation proceedings if the government discovers that they are undocumented.

People may become undocumented in a couple of different ways. The first is to overstay a legal temporary visa, and the other is to enter the country through an invalid port of entry.

Permanent or Conditional Residents

Immigrants entering the U.S. can also gain either conditional or lawful permanent resident status. 

Conditional residents are individuals who have been married for less than two years prior to receiving a green card. Recipients and their spouses must jointly file to remove the condition in two years upon receiving a green card. Otherwise, the recipient will face deportation and their green card will be terminated.

Meanwhile, lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are individuals who have green cards. These immigrants have the ability to permanently live and work in the U.S. The green card that these individuals receive serves as proof of their residency. Individuals can become LPRs if an employer or family member sponsors them, or they may become green card holders if they achieve asylee or refugee status or go through other types of humanitarian programs. If some individuals are unable to have a spouse or another person file for them, they may be able to file for themselves.

To change a person’s status from a conditional resident to an LPR, immigrants must submit Form I-751, a Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence. In addition, applicants need to include all required evidence and fees within 90 days before the expiration of their conditional residence status. If individuals don’t file before the two-year anniversary of their marriage ends, both their conditional status and card will expire, which may result in deportation.

Both conditional residents and LPRs have the ability to live and work in the country unless they are convicted of a serious crime or violate the terms of their immigration in another way. They can also petition for their child or spouse to attain legal status.

Once an LPR has maintained this status for five years, it’s possible to apply for U.S. citizenship. On the other hand, individuals issued green cards based on their marriage to an American citizen will be able to apply after three years have passed.

U.S. Citizens

A U.S. citizen is someone who was either born in the country or became naturalized following three or five years as conditional residents or LPRs, respectively. U.S. citizens never face deportation unless it’s discovered that they fraudulently obtained their citizenship. Citizens also have the ability to live and work in the U.S., and they can receive certain public benefits for which they qualify. In addition, they can petition for the legal status of their family members, including spouses, parents, children, and siblings.

These are the general statuses that one must learn about to find out how an immigrant becomes a US citizen.

What Is Family-Based Immigration?

Family immigration is the main basis for people o legally immigrate to the U.S. Today, both LPRs and U.S. citizens can sponsor spouses, children, and other family members for visas that allow for permanent residence, which are known as green cards. Immigration has been family-based since the 17th century when the first colonies migrated to the U.S., but the introduction of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1965 officially enabled families to function as the primary means for people to immigrate to the U.S. Family visas currently comprise around 65% of annual legal immigration.

Who Is Eligible for a Family Visa?

When immigrating to the U.S. as part of a family, there are two types of individuals who may qualify for family visas: immediate relatives and those in family preference categories.

Immediate relatives include individuals who are spouses of American citizens, unmarried children of citizens under the age of 21, orphans whom citizens adopted abroad, orphans who will soon be adopted by citizens, or parents of American citizens who are 21 years old or older.

Meanwhile, family preference categories include:

  • Unmarried children of American citizens, their children, and their spouses.
  • Spouses, children under 21, and unmarried children of LPRs who are over 21 years old.
  • Married children of American citizens, along with their spouses and minor children.
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens over the age of 21 and their minor children or spouses. 

How Many Family-Based Immigration Visas Can Extended Family Members Receive?

Typically, an immigrant will sponsor three or four relatives, including children and spouses. However, there is a maximum of 480,000 visas available for extended family members every year. As of 1990, Congress made it impossible for this number to increase. Although there isn’t any limit in place for the number of visas that immigrants can receive for immediate relatives, the 480,000 cap determines how many visas are left for extended family members each year.

In 2015, both children and spouses who qualify as immediate relatives accounted for nearly 69% of family immigrants. They also made up 44% of the total number of immigrants in the U.S.

To help accommodate extended family members, immigration law mandates a minimum of 260,000 family visas issued to those who fall under family preference categories. While minor children and spouses account for about 40% of family preference visas, only roughly six percent include siblings of U.S. citizens.

Immigration law has also set a seven-percent cap—i.e. a per-country limit—every year for family visas for every country. 

Family Visa Requirements

To successfully complete the family immigration process, applicants need a sponsor in the U.S., an application for immigration, a medical examination, background checks and screenings, an interview, and a fee.

The individual responsible for sponsoring the immigrant needs to be over the age of 21 and they must live in the U.S. Sponsors also need to file a petition for their family member with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition proves that the relationship between the sponsor and sponsee is legitimate and that they both meet the income requirements in place. Additionally, sponsors need to sign an affidavit of support that indicates that the sponsor will meet all of the applicant’s financial requirements.

Following this process, the prospective immigrant will undergo security and background checks, which include screenings for criminal history, a history of illnesses, or a history of threats to national security. USCIS also looks closely at each applicant to make sure they won’t be likely to require public assistance.

Once USCIS approves the sponsor’s petition, the agency transfers the case to the National Visa Center (NVC), which then instructs applicants to fill out specific forms and submit certain documents and fees. Upon receiving all documentation, an officer at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in the applicant’s home country will conduct an interview with the applicant to further determine eligibility. The applicant will also need to go through a medical examination under the supervision of an authorized physician. They must then receive any necessary vaccinations.

After all of the necessary steps are completed, applicants may qualify to receive their family visas.

What Benefits Do Family Visa Recipients Experience?

When immigrating to the U.S., immigrants benefit from having families and communities to support them. With the help of family members, individuals can more successfully and efficiently integrate into American communities, enabling them to successfully gain employment and open their own businesses. They’ll also be able to gain a better understanding of American laws and the culture in this country.

How Long Do Applicants Need to Wait Before Receiving a Family Visa?

Depending on the nature of each application, it can take as long as decades to receive a family visa. Generally, immediate relatives of American citizens and LPRs can receive their green cards once they’ve met all requirements, but the wait for extended family members is typically much longer.

The high demand for family visas and the limitations on these visas have both led to a significant backlog in family preference categories, which is why the wait is so long for extended family members.

Beginning the Family Immigration Process

With a good understanding of how family-based immigration works and the steps needed to proceed, individuals can be on their way to receiving family visas and becoming LPRs or citizens themselves. However, they may need some assistance with expediting the process, in which case family immigration attorneys in Chicago are able to help. If individuals have questions or want to know more about the steps they need to complete, a qualified attorney may help guide them through the process and let them know of the options available to them.

Once applicants and sponsors begin the process of applying for a family visa, they can help ensure that applicants successfully immigrate to the U.S.

My I-485 Was Denied. What Are My Options?

i 485 denied what are my options

If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies an I-485, there are options available to applicants, including a motion to reconsider or reopen, appealing the decision, and re-filing. 

Another option is for applicants to find out if they have received a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court to begin removal proceedings, in which case individuals may request the judge to decide against removal based on the immigrant’s I-485.

Depending on each person’s situation, the following are details about the I-485 and the different options that applicants may be able to try in the event of an I-485 denial.

What Is Form I-485?

If immigrants wish to become lawful permanent residents and receive a green card or petition for a relative to become a lawful permanent resident, immigrants can complete and file Form I-485, which is the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Through this form, immigrants have the ability to apply to become lawful permanent residents (i.e. green card holders) via job offers, asylee status, or refugee status. They may also petition as U.S. citizens for either a preference or an immediate relative to achieve lawful permanent resident status.

Evidence Needed to Successfully File I-485

To qualify for adjustment of status, I-485 applicants will need certain evidence to support their application. This includes proof of the individual’s identity, entry into the U.S., employment history, immigration status, and the results of an official medical examination. 

Proof of identity will include a government-issued photo identity document, which could include a passport or driver’s license. Additional forms include Form G-325A, Biographic Information Sheet, Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, and a copy of the applicant’s Form I-360/I-140/I-526 visa petition.

Dependants also need to provide proof of their relationships with the principal applicant. This evidence may include adoption, birth, or marriage certificates, school records, military records, religious documents, or medical records.

The Adjudication Process

After filing I-485 and submitting all necessary evidence, the I-485 adjudication process will begin under USCIS. This will entail confirming whether a visa number is available for final case action, determining eligibility to adjust status as opposed to going through the consular process, and confirming a valid job offer.

Applicants must also be devoid of any inadmissibility issues, such as problems regarding criminal history, national security threats, fraud, or medical issues.

If USCIS finds individuals to be inadmissible, applicants will need to apply for and receive waivers of inadmissibility. 

At this point, USCIS may choose to approve or deny the I-485. If USCIS approves the application and the Department of State (DOS) allocates an immigrant visa, individuals will receive a Form I-551, which is a Permanent Resident Card. At this point, the date of approval for Form I-485 will become the date of adjustment, which helps determine how long it will take for the lawful permanent resident to qualify for U.S. citizenship.

On the other hand, if USCIS denies I-485, applicants may have the chance to reverse the decision.

An I-485 Was Denied: What Options Are Available?

If an I-485 is denied once filing it with USCIS, applicants have a few different options available to them to get USCIS or other officials to reconsider this decision. These options may include:

A Motion to Reconsider or Reopen

One option that individuals have is to file a Motion to Reconsider or a Motion to Reopen, which are somewhat similar but have some unique qualities to them. 

Applicants may choose to file a Motion to Reconsider if they and their attorneys believe there are valid grounds for claiming that the USCIS officer denied Form I-485 in error. If applicants and their legal teams can prove that USCIS committed a legal or factual error when denying the application, USCIS may reverse the decision and issue applicants green cards.

Meanwhile, other applicants may want to file a Motion to Reopen upon the discovery of new evidence that was unavailable to them early that warrant a reopening of their case. However, this motion doesn’t allow individuals to simply submit evidence that they initially forgot to include in the initial application. This must be new evidence that the individual was unaware of prior to the initial application, and applicants will need to convince USICS that they were unable to submit this evidence originally. This could help indicate that changing circumstances warrant the submission of this new evidence and inspire USCIS to reconsider the I-485.

Appeal to AAO

If a Motion to Reconsider or Reopen isn’t available, I-485 applicants may be able to appeal their denial to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). This involves transferring the case from the designated USCIS officer responsible for the denial to a different related office for reconsideration. This option is only in applicants’ best interest if they believe that USCIS made an error, as they won’t be able to submit any new evidence uncovered, unlike the case with a Motion to Reopen.

If individuals decide to appeal to AAO, the first step to take is to file a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion with USCIS. Applicants will need to submit this form within 30 days of becoming aware of the denial, or 33 days if they received a mail notice. The applicant’s individual situation will also dictate where to send this form, which they can find out through the USCIS website. Applicants will also need to pay a $675 filing fee to accompany their form.

When appealing to AAO, another officer will look at the existing form and the same evidence initially sent to the previous officer. Because of this process and the inability to introduce new evidence, officers rarely decide to reverse the first officer’s decision. 

Because the chance of securing a different outcome through the appeal is so unlikely in most cases, attorneys typically avoid this option and opt for re-filing. By re-filing, applicants and their lawyers can get a fresh start that enables them to build an even stronger application that increases their ability to secure approval.

Re-Filing

Applicants who currently have a form of legal status that will enable them to remain in the U.S. following the I-485 denial may be able to re-file the form. Re-filing gives individuals the chance to start the process from the very beginning, which can give them the ability to build a stronger foundation before re-submitting.

When re-filing, applicants may need to re-file I-129F or I-130 if USCIS either denied or revoked them. Otherwise, applicants can go ahead and simply complete a new I-485 and include any accompanying evidence and filing fees.

Applicants and their attorneys may decide to re-file if USCIS denied the initial application due to a lack of evidence that the applicant can now submit. For instance, USCIS officers may have denied the first form because of a lack of evidence proving a relationship between a preference relative and the principal applicant. If new evidence becomes available, applicants may enter this into the application process and re-file. This new evidence may convince the reviewing officer that the relationship is valid, leading them to approve the I-485.

Request Reconsideration from a Judge

In rare instances, applicants and their attorneys may choose to request reconsideration of their I-485 from a judge. This step is typically a last resort, as it puts applicants at risk of deportation. Individuals who are without lawful permanent residence or another status that enables them to remain in the country typically receive a Notice to Appear before a judge to begin the deportation process in removal proceedings.

Upon receiving a Notice to Appear, the start of this process entails a Master Calendar Hearing, which involves individuals explaining to the judge that they wish to adjust their status to prevent deportation.

After the Master Calendar Hearing, the judge in this case will establish a clear deadline for individuals to submit documentation and evidence. The judge will also issue a date for the individual’s merits hearing that enables them to present their case in court. 

When requesting consideration, applicants will need to submit the same documents they initially submitted when applying with the first I-485. Applicants will also have the chance to introduce any new or additional evidence they wish to include. 

When the merits hearing takes place, individuals will have the chance to bring witnesses who may testify on their behalf, which could help prove relationships and other details. 

Following this process, the judge will decide whether to approve or deny the I-485. If the judge approves the application, individuals may then receive their green cards.

When to Speak with an Immigration Lawyer

When applying for an immigrant visa or green card either in the U.S. or abroad, applicants don’t require an immigration lawyer. If applicants have a relatively simple case and are entirely eligible for approval, without any criminal record or other issues that may put their application at risk, they may be able to complete the immigration process without the need for an attorney.

However, there are several situations when working with an attorney may be in a person’s best interest. Qualified immigration attorneys in Chicago and elsewhere may be able to help increase the chances of approval for an application, and they can also help navigate the process when it gets complicated. 

In the case of I-485 denial, having an attorney may be invaluable. A reliable immigration attorney may be able to explore the different options available to applicants if USCIS denies their I-485. It can be difficult for individuals to rebuild their case and secure an approval, especially if they aren’t sure what to include in their new applications or which option will work best for them. Some applicants may benefit from filing a Motion to Reconsider or Reopen, while others may want to appeal to AAO, re-file, or even request reconsideration from a judge.

Ultimately, an experienced immigration lawyer can help determine the best steps to take and the right options for applicants in the event of an I-485 denial. Choosing the right option can help prevent deportation and give applicants another chance to earn lawful permanent residence and U.S. citizenship status.

How an Immigrant Becomes a U.S. Citizen

How an Immigrant Becomes a U.S. Citizen

Immigrants must go through several steps to gain U.S. citizenship, with the entire process taking up to a year or longer to complete. The following are details about each stage.

1. Determining Eligibility

Before becoming American citizens, immigrants must obtain permanent resident status and a green card. Once the immigrant has lived in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) for five consecutive years, they can begin applying for citizenship.

To become eligible for citizenship, immigrants must meet requirements, including:

  • Being at least 18 years of age
  • Able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • Being of good moral character
  • Having an understanding of the basics of U.S. history and government
  • Showing an understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the principles behind it
  • Taking an oath of allegiance to the U.S.

2. Applying for Naturalization

Once an immigrant becomes eligible, he or she can apply for naturalization that grants them citizenship. This will entail sending an application form to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), along with an application fee.

3. Undergoing Biometrics Screening

When applying for citizenship, applicants will need to have their photographs and fingerprints taken before the Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) complete background checks and cross-checks. 

4. Speaking With USCIS Officers in an Interview

After biometric data is captured, USCIS officers will interview citizenship applicants to learn about their character, background, knowledge, and understanding of the U.S. government and Constitution, and the applicant’s willingness to take an oath of allegiance.

5. Completing and Pass Civics and English Tests

Over the course of the interview, USCIS officers will gauge the applicant’s ability to speak, read, and write English, along with the applicant’s knowledge and comprehension of American government and history. 

However, some applicants may not need to take these tests due to their age, disabilities, or the length of their permanent residency.

6. Taking the Oath of Allegiance

After the exams and the interview are completed, applicants will need to take an oath of allegiance to the U.S. They will do so by attending a public ceremony. After taking this oath, the individual is now a U.S. citizen.

For more information about this process and help navigating it, it may be in citizenship applicants’ best interests to speak with an immigration lawyer in Chicago

Completing this entire process will help qualifying immigrants to become U.S. citizens.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help Stop Deportation

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help Stop Deportation

When hiring an immigration lawyer before a removal hearing, the attorney may be able to help stop deportation by determining if circumstances may not warrant deportation.

Ways an Attorney May Defend Against Deportation

Under certain circumstances, individuals in and around Chicago who are facing deportation may be able to avoid it. The reasons for arguing against deportation may be unclear to those who are unfamiliar with U.S. immigration laws, making it ideal to work with an experienced Chicago deportation attorney who understands how the law works.

The following are some ways an attorney may be able to fight against deportation.

Arguing That the Charge Is False

An attorney may attempt to argue that a charge against the defendant is false. For instance, an immigrant’s criminal conviction may not warrant removal according to U.S. immigration laws.

Proving Citizenship

Attorneys may also be able to prove that the immigrant is a U.S. citizen because of a parent or grandparent who is an American citizen.

Arguing for Asylum

Lawyers may be able to argue that defendants qualify for asylum due to their fear of and reason to believe they would face persecution upon returning to their home country.

Requesting a Green Card

If the immigrant is the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, or a “preference relative” with an available visa number and priority date, the attorney may be able to request the granting of a green card from the judge.

Requesting Cancellation of Removal

If requesting a green card isn’t possible, the attorney may help the defendant present an application for cancellation of removal. This would open up green card availability to immigrants who have spent several years in the U.S. and have good moral character and have a qualifying U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative.

Asking for Prosecutorial Discretion

Because of the immigrant’s familial and other ties, along with their good character, attorneys may be able to ask the Department of Homeland Security to exercise prosecutorial discretion. Even if the defendant is unable to obtain a green card, the attorney could still argue for closing the case because the defendant poses no real threat.

The right lawyer may help by using any of these defenses, and could also make the best recommendations even if none of these apply. Attorneys will help immigrants understand their rights and work to develop the strongest argument in their favor.