Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Child Citizenship Act’

5th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has recently updated some of the information with regard to that agency’s official fact sheet pertaining to I-864 affidavits of support. To quote directly from the official website of USCIS:

In determining inadmissibility, USCIS defines “public charge”as an individual who is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” See “Field Guidance on Deportability and Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” 64 FR 28689 (May 26, 1999). In determining whether an alien meets this definition for public charge inadmissibility, a number of factors are considered, including age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills. No single factor, other than the lack of an affidavit of support, if required, will determine whether an individual is a public charge.

Those reading this blog are encouraged to click on the hyperlinks above to read more and gain insight into the issues associated with the I-864 affidavit of support.

It should be noted that the issues associated with the I-864 affidavit of support are significant and should not be overlooked by those seeking immigration benefits. Furthermore, the issues associated with the I-864 affidavit of support pertain not only to USCIS in the United States, but also impact the Consular processing phase of U.S. Immigration process for those who are seeking United States immigrant visas, such as the IR-1 visa and the CR-1 visa, abroad. Meanwhile, seekers of visas such as the K-1 visa (for fiancees of US Citizens) must submit a similar document to a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad in the form of an I-134 affidavit of support. Bearing this in mind, the reader should take note of the fact that the issues surrounding the I-864 affidavit of support are likely to come to the forefront for K-1 visa holders when they eventually apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.

There was an interesting notation on the aforementioned website:

Note: In general, lawful permanent residents who currently possess a “green card” cannot be denied U.S. citizenship for lawfully receiving any public benefits for which they are eligible.

The reader is encouraged to bear in mind the fact that the above quotation is speaking in generalities, but the issue of naturalization in the context of the affidavit of support may be of interest to Americans thinking about bringing a loved one to the USA. The reason that Americans may find the issue of naturalization interesting when discussing family immigration stems from the fact that upon a foreign spouse’s naturalization to US Citizenship, the encumbrances placed upon the American Citizen within the provisions of the affidavit of support are extinguished as upon becoming a United States Citizen a previous foreign national becomes eligible in their own right for government benefits (where applicable). Therefore, the previous sponsor(s) are no long liable to the United States government should the newly-naturalized citizen take government benefits.

For related information please see: Certificate of Citizenship or Child Citizenship Act.

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15th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that new In Vitro Fertilization methods could see future children born with 3 parents. Although this may sound like something from science fiction, clearly this is a real issue which could have real world implications. In order to provide a degree of insight to the reader on this topic it may be best to quote directly from Wikipedia:

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the body, in vitro. IVF is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. The process involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing ova (eggs) from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a fluid medium. The fertilised egg (zygote) is then transferred to the patient’s uterus with the intent to establish a successful pregnancy. The first successful birth of a “test tube baby”, Louise Brown, occurred in 1978. Robert G. Edwards, the doctor who developed the treatment, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2010. Before that, there was a transient biochemical pregnancy reported by Australian Foxton School researchers in 1953 and an ectopic pregnancy reported by Steptoe and Edwards in 1976.

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above in order to gain perspective and insight into the way that IVF actually works.  According to recent reports, it would appear that new IVF methodologies may allow for a child to be born with three biological parents.  To quote directly from the official website of the BBC at BBC.co.uk:

Embryos containing DNA from a man and two women have been created by scientists at Newcastle University.

They say their research, published in the journal Nature, has the potential to help mothers with rare genetic disorders have healthy children…The work raised several ethical problems… including safety risks, children with DNA from two mothers, and making genetic changes to unborn children.

IVF and medical procedures of the same ilk may have been considered of little concern in the legal and immigration contexts during years past, but new developments, such as those noted above, could have tremendous implications for future seekers of a US Passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or similar identity documentation acquired both domestically or at US Embassies and US Consulates abroad. For further insight this blogger felt it prudent to quote directly from a blog post by PrideAngelAdmin on PrideAngel.com:

The first baby with three biological parents could be conceived next year after the Government announced a major review of Britain’s fertility laws.

The move would allow doctors to use a revolutionary IVF technique that prevents incurable, deadly genetic illnesses being passed down from mothers to their children.

Babies created with the therapy – called three-parent IVF – would inherit 98 per cent of their DNA from their ‘real’ parents. The rest would come from a female donor.

The scientists say the donor genes would not alter the children’s appearance or personality, but would stop them dying from painful diseases of the heart, liver and brain.

As can be seen from the above cited quotations, most of the dialogue that is occurring with respect to the issue of 3 parent IVF is emanating more from Great Britain than from the United States, but it should be noted that these issues could have an impact upon the way in which possible future American immigration benefits are bequeathed. Meanwhile, new IVF methodologies may require changes in the rules and protocols regarding issuance of Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA) since there never really seem to have been provisions in place for a child born with three biological parents. It remains to be seen how these new technologies and procedures will impact American jurisprudence regarding United States Immigration, Family Law, and the rules and regulations regarding US Citizenship.

In this blogger’s personal opinion, the implications of possible 3 parent IVF could be as important in an American Citizenship context as the promulgation and enactment of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. Who can say if it might not be possible in the future to see a child receive a Certificate of Citizenship based upon a parent-child biological relationship stemming from shared mitochondrial DNA? As humanity’s technological prowess becomes more defined legal issues may be increasingly raised in contexts that few in the past would have dreamed could even exist at all.

For the LGBT community, the citations noted above should be borne in mind especially by those who may wish to start a family in the future as it may one day be possible to see children born as a result of increasingly creative medical breakthroughs.

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6th January 2011

เมื่อเร็วๆนี้สิ่งที่เป็นที่น่าสนใจของบล็อกคือ ความพยายามของสมาคมทนายความคนเข้าเมืองอเมริกันในการที่จะให้กงสุลที่ความตื่นตัวที่จะออกใบรับรองการเกิดในต่างประเทศและเพิ่มความพยายามที่จะสร้างขั้นตอนเพื่อลดการปลอมแปลงเอกสารที่สำคัญนี้ อ้างโดยตรงจากเว็บไซต์กระทรวงแห่งสหรัฐอเมริกา:

กระทรวงแห่งรัฐมีความยินดีเป็นอย่างยิ่งที่จะแนะนำการออกแบบใหม่ของรายงานกงสุลในเรื่องการเกิดในต่างแดน(CRBA) CRBAนี้เป็นบันทึกที่รับรองอย่างเป็นทางการว่า เด็กที่เกิดในต่างแดนจากพ่อแม่ที่เป็นพลเมืองอเมริกานั้นได้สัญชาติอเริกันโดยการเกิด เอกสารที่มีการออกแบบใหม่นี้มีความปลอดภัยซึ่งสามารถที่จะขัดขวางการเปลี่ยนแปลงหรือปลอมแปลงได้

สถานทูตอเมริกาและสถานกงสุลทั่วโลกได้มีการพิมพ์ CRBAs ตั้งแต่การริเริ่มในปี1919 มีผลบังคับตั้งแต่วันที่ 3 มกราคม 2554 ซึ่งจะมีการพิมมพ์ที่หน่วยบริการพาสปอร์ตในพิร์ตเมาส์ นิวแฮมเชียร์ และนิวออร์ลีน หลุยเซียนา การเป็นศูนย์กลางของการผลิตและการกำจัดการแจกจ่ายแบบฟอร์มที่ว่างเปล่าทั่วโลกเป็นหลักประกันว่า ต้องมีการปรับปรุงคุณภาพของรูปแบบและลดการปลอมแปลง

การยื่นขอพาสปอร์ตสหรัฐอเมริกาและการออกแบบCRBA จะใช้ในแง่มุมของผู้ปกครองดูแลซึ่งตรงข้ามกับแม่และพ่อ การเปลี่ยนแปลงที่สำคัญต้องการที่จะอธิบายถึงเพศของเด็กที่ได้มาจากพ่อและแม่และความแตกต่างของครอบครัวแต่ละแบบ

มันยังคงเป็นการเปลี่ยนแปลงที่มีผลกระทบต่อพฤติการณ์การฉ้อฉลที่เกี่ยวข้องกับรายงานของกงสุลเกี่ยวกับการเกิดในต่างประเทศ อาจกล่าวได้ว่า รายงานของกงสุลเกี่ยวกับการเกิดในต่างประเทศนั้นเป็นการเปลี่ยนแปลงที่สำคัญในเรื่องของเอกสารในฐานะที่เป็นหลักฐานแสดงสัญชาติของคนอเมริกันที่เกิดนอกสหรัฐอเมริกา โดยส่วนมากพ่อแม่มักได้รับรายงานของกงสุลเกี่ยวกับการเกิดทันทีก่อนที่จะขอพาสปอร์ตสหรัฐอเมริกาในฐานะของเด็กที่เกิดในต่างประเทศ

ผู้เขียนบล็อกเห็นว่า สิ่งที่น่าสนใจคือ กระทรวงแห่งรัฐมีขั้นตอนที่สร้างเอกสารที่มีความเป็นกลางทางเพศมากขึ้น เช่นเดียวกับการเคลื่อนไหวในปี 2010 กระทรวงแห่งรัฐประกาศมาตรการที่จะนำไปใช้ในทางปฏิบัติเพื่อที่จะอนุญาตให้มีการแปลงเพศและเปลี่ยนเพศในพาสปอร์ตสหรัฐอเมริกา นับเป็นสิ่งที่ปรากฏได้ว่า ความพยายามต่อความเป็นกลางทางเพศในการที่จะปรับเลี่ยนข้อมูลรายงายของกงสุลเกี่ยวกับเด็กที่เกิดในต่างประเทศทำให้ตระหนักว่า บทบาททางเพศภายในครอบครัวและโดยโครงสร้างของครอบครัวอเมริกัน ครอบครัวอเมริกันนนั้นได้มีการฉีกกฎเดิมมากขึ้นเมื่อเปรียบเทียบกับในอดีต

ายใต้สถานการณ์ที่แน่นอน เด็กที่เกิดนอกสหรัฐอเมริกานั้นไม่สามารถที่จะได้รับสิทธิการเป็นพลเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาโดยอัตโนมัติ พ่อแม่ชาวอเมริกันนั้นสามารถที่จะทำให้เด็กกลายเป็นพลเมืองอเมริกันได้โดยการยื่นคำขอรับสิทธิประโยชน์คนเข้าเมืองตามพระราชบัญญัติสัญชาติเด็ก (CCA)ปี 2000 เด็กที่เกิดจากคนสัญชาติอเมริกันนั้นกลายเป็นพลเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาโดยกฎหมายซึ่งตา CCA จะได้รับใบรับรองสัญชาติซึ่งเหมือนกับใบรับรองการแปลงสัญชาติแม้ว่าในทางทฤษฎีผู้ถือจะไม่ได้สัญชาติอเมริกันโดยตามธรรมชาติ

For related information please see: Department of State.

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25th December 2010

This author recently came across an interesting piece of information on the official website of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Apparently, the United States legislature has enacted legislation that would simplify the adoption process for Americans adopting a child, or children, outside of the United States of America. To quote directly from a recent AILA posting:

On 11/30/10, President Obama signed into law the International Adoption Simplification Act (P.L. 111-287).

The law amends the INA to include in the definition of “child,” and thus in the exemption from required admissions vaccination documentation, certain children who have been adopted in a foreign country that is a signatory to the Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Convention) or who are emigrating from such a country for U.S. adoption.

It includes in such definition and exemption a child who is under the age of 18 at the time an immediate relative status petition is filed on his or her behalf, has been adopted abroad or is coming for U.S. adoption, and is the natural sibling of: (1) an adopted child from a Hague Convention signatory country; (2) a child adopted under the age of 16 who has lived with the adoptive parents for at least two years, or a child who has been abused; or (3) an orphan who was under the age of 16 at the time an immediate relative status petition was filed on his or her behalf.

The bill was passed in the Senate by unanimous consent on 7/21/10, and passed by the House of Representatives by a voice vote on 11/15/10.

It should be noted that not all countries are signatories to the Hague Convention noted above. However, for the USA, which has joined the Hague Convention, the simplification of the adoption process could result in families being reunited in the USA much more quickly compared to the process in the recent past.

In many ways, the foreign adoption process is somewhat similar to the process of obtaining American immigration benefits for a child purusuant to the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. The CCA’s provisions can grant United States Citizenship by operation of law to the natural born child or children of an American Citizen. That said, the process for obtaining such benefits is often very much the same as the process utilized by those Americans wishing to bring a step-child of foreign nationality to the USA. The major difference between these two processes occurs at the United States Port of Entry where children of American Citizens born abroad become US Citizens by operation of law upon admission to the USA on an Immigrant visa in the company of the American parent.

Fore related information please see: Child Citizenship Act.

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27th October 2010

It recently came to this author’s attention that the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has promulgated a new Naturalization Certificate. The new document has enhanced security features and is updated in order to comport with current law. To quote directly from a recent press release distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced it has begun issuing a redesigned, more secure Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550) as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration system. The agency anticipates that over 600,000 new citizens will receive the enhanced certificate over the next year.

It really can seem rather astounding that the United States grants citizenship to so many people each year as there are many countries throughout the world that do not take in immigrants at nearly the rate of the United States. Furthermore, of the countries that admit immigrants it would seem that the United States is more eager to grant citizenship to those who have obeyed the immigration laws and sought naturalization through the proper channels.

The aforementioned press release went on to note some frequently asked questions posed by those interested in the U.S. Naturalization process:

Q1. What is a Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550)?
A1. The Certificate of Naturalization serves as evidence of your citizenship. You receive it after taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Citizenship qualifies you to vote and travel with a U.S. passport, among other rights. In many instances, a Certificate of Naturalization is accepted as a valid form of identification.


Q2. Why did USCIS redesign the naturalization certificate?
A2. The previous Certificates of Naturalization featured hard-copy photos of the candidates. The redesigned certificate features the naturalization candidate’s digitized photo and signature embedded into the base document. Eliminating the requirement to affix the hard-copy photo and hand-stamp the USCIS director’s signature cuts cost in man-hours and improves security.


Q3. What’s different about the new certificates?
A3. The naturalization candidate’s digitized photo and signature are embedded in the security-enhanced certificate. Its background features a color-shifting ink pattern that is difficult to recreate. Additionally, USCIS will use a more secure printing process, making it more tamper-proof.


Q4. When will USCIS issue the security-enhanced naturalization certificates?
A4. USCIS will begin using redesigned certificates at all offices beginning today. USCIS offices in Atlanta, Denver and Baltimore will begin to utilize the automated production process this week, including digitizing photos and signatures on all certificates. USCIS will deploy the automated production system agency-wide by the end of the calendar year.


Q5. Following the agency-wide transition to the new document, will all new citizens receive redesigned naturalization certificates with digitized photos?
A5. While all new citizens will receive the redesigned, security-enhanced certificate, certain, limited categories of naturalization candidates, including overseas military and homebound candidates, will receive documents with hard-copy photos affixed to their certificates.


Q6. I’ve already obtained a Certificate of Naturalization. Will I have to apply for the redesigned security-enhanced version?
A6. No. All previously issued Certificates of Naturalization will remain valid.

Q7. How does the issuance of the redesigned naturalization certificate impact applicants?
A7. The issuance of the redesigned Certificate of Naturalization will not impact Application for Naturalization (N-400) processing times. USCIS Application Support Centers (ASCs) will still require applicants to submit their fingerprints and two hard-copy photos. The ASCs will also capture a digital photograph and digital signature for each N-400 applicant.


Q8. If ASCs will capture digital photos of N-400 applicants, why must applicants still provide hard-copy photos?
A8. The hard-copy photos will be required as a back-up in case of unforeseen issues, allowing them to continue their naturalization process without delay.


Q9. Will USCIS update any of its other certificates?
A9. Yes. USCIS intends to digitize its other citizenship-related certificates, but no completion dates have been set.


Q10. Will the wording of the naturalization certificate change?
A10. Yes. USCIS has revised the wording to better reflect the current provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In particular, obsolete language stating that the candidate resides in the United States and “intends to reside in the United States when so required by the Naturalization laws of the United States” has been removed. These changes affect the form of the certificate only and do not alter any legal requirements for naturalization or USCIS application processing.

This author found it interesting to note that the FAQ’s quoted above mentioned that other citizenship documentation may be updated soon. It remains to be seen whether or not the Certificate of Citizenship, which signifies US Citizenship, but for those who are Citizens not by naturalization, but through either some extraneous set of circumstances of by operation of law; will be enhanced to safeguard against fraud. Certificates of Citizenship are likely to be more common in the future particularly since the promulgation of the Child Citizenship Act, but it remains to be seen how the Certificate of Citizenship might be upgraded.

Naturalization to United States Citizenship is a serious undertaking and those interested in becoming United States Citizens should research the process thoroughly in an effort to understand the requirements and ramifications of United States Citizenship. Hopefully, this new Naturalization Certificate will result in increased security in the form of more tamper resistant documentation.

Fore related information please see: USCIS processing time, Child Citizenship Act, or Legal.

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23rd June 2010

On this blog we often discuss issues associated with US passports and US Immigration. Recently, this author discovered that the Department of State (DOS) is seeking comments regarding a proposed rule change which would alter the way in which DOS collects information prior to American passport issuance. The following excerpts are taken from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) website. To quote one page from the AILA website:

The Department of State is seeking Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for the information collection described below. The purpose of this notice is to allow 60 days for public comment in the Federal Register preceding submission to OMB. We are conducting this process in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995….

Abstract of proposed collection:

The information collected on the DS-3053 is used to facilitate the issuance of passports to U.S. citizens and nationals under the age of 16. The primary purpose of soliciting the information is to ensure that both parents and/or all guardians consent to the issuance of a passport to a minor under age 16, except where one parent has sole custody or there are exigent or special family circumstances.

Methodology:

Passport Services collects information from U.S. citizens and non- citizen nationals when they complete and submit the Statement of Consent or Special Circumstances: Issuance of a Passport to a Minor under Age 16. Passport applicants can either download the DS-3053 from the Internet or obtain one from an Acceptance Facility/Passport Agency. The form must be completed, signed, and submitted along with the applicant’s DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport…

Clearly the Department of State wishes to use the DS-3053 in order to collect what they deem to be the necessary information before issuing a passport to a minor child. The public policy reasons for this change of rules is somewhat obvious as the Department is likely concerned about improper issuance of a US passport to minor.

To quote another page on the AILA website:

60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Form DS-5504, Application for a U.S. Passport: Name Change, Data Correction, and Limited Passport Book Replacement, OMB Control Number 1405-0160…

The Department of State is seeking Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for the information collection described below. The purpose of this notice is to allow 60 days for public comment in the Federal Register preceding submission to OMB. We are conducting this process in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995…

We are soliciting public comments to permit the Department to:

Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is necessary for the proper performance of our functions…

The information collected on the DS-5504 is used to facilitate the re-issuance of passports to U.S. citizens and nationals when (a) the passport holder’s name has changed within the first year of the issuance of the passport; (b) the passport holder needs correction of descriptive information on the data page of the passport; or (c) the passport holder wishes to obtain a fully valid passport after obtaining a full-fee passport with a limited validity of two years or less. The primary purpose of soliciting the information is to establish citizenship, identity, and entitlement of the applicant to the U.S. passport or related service, and to properly administer and enforce the laws pertaining to the issuance thereof…

In this instance, it would seem that the Department of State is primarily concerned with collecting necessary data so as to issue US passports only to those individuals who are legally entitled to such travel documents. US Citizenship has many benefits that are not accorded to Non-US Citizens. Therefore, those issuing US passports must take appropriate measures to ensure that US passports are not issued to individuals who are not legally entitled to such status. With laws such as the Child Citizenship Act, these measures are likely to become more necessary as individuals are deriving their US Citizenship in different way compared to Americans in previous generations.

For those interested in obtaining a US Passport in Thailand or information about visa services please see: American Citizen Services or US Embassy Thailand.

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7th June 2010

In previous postings on this blog, we have discussed the naturalization process and the various ways in which individuals can become Citizens of the United States of America. Many believe, erroneously, that once a person is naturalized to US Citizenship, they cannot lose their citizenship. Unfortunately for some, this is not necessarily the case. US law provides for denaturalization under certain circumstances. Generally, denaturalization only occurs in siutuations where the applicant for naturalization was dishonest in their application for US Citizenship. The following is a quote from a recent presss release promulgated by the American Justice Department:

A former member of the Bosnian Serb Army has left the United States to return to Serbia after a federal judge ordered his denaturalization based on concealment during his application for U.S. citizenship that he served in the military during the Bosnian war, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Brian Albritton of the Middle District of Florida and Assistant Secretary John Morton of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


Jadranko Gostic, 47 , a former resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., departed the United States on June 1 , 2010. U.S. District Court Judge James Moody in Tampa, Fla., ordered his denaturalization on May 26, 2010. Gostic was indicted in December 2006 on one count of unlawful procurement of citizenship and one count of making false statements. In January 2010, a civil complaint was filed against Gostic alleging illegal procurement of U.S. citizenship and requesting his denaturalization. Court documents allege that Gostic served in the Zvornik Infantry Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army from April 1992 until December 1995. According to court documents, international tribunals have found that some units of the Zvornik Brigade engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity , and that they participated in the July 1995 action against the Srebrenica enclave during which some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were executed.


Gostic entered the United States in 1999, received lawful permanent residence status in 2002 and was naturalized in 2004. According to court documents, at each stage of the immigration and naturalization process Gostic concealed his service in the Zvornik Brigade, even when specifically asked about his prior military service.


Gostic agreed to admit to the allegations against him, to be denaturalized, to surrender his lawful permanent resident status and to depart the United States. Gostic fulfilled the requirements of this agreement and departed the United States. As a result of his cooperation, the criminal charges against Gostic will be dismissed.


This case was investigated by the ICE Tampa Special-Agent-in-Charge Office and was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney William Kenety in the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Hansen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.


The Criminal Division announced the formation of HRSP on March 30, 2010, as part of the U.S. government’s efforts to bring human rights violators to justice and deny those violators safe haven in the United States. The new section represents a merger of the Criminal Division’s Domestic Security Section (DSS) and the Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

As can be gathered from the above press release, Denaturalization proceedings are not taken lightly by the American government nor is it a matter that is taken lightly by the US Courts. That said, in certain situations, denaturalization is warranted if the naturalized American’s actions require the implementation of such a measure. This is one more prime example of why honesty is the best policy when it comes to US Immigration as dishonesty can “unravel” one’s lawful status in the United States, even if that status is US Citizenship.

For related information please see:  US Visa Thailand or Child Citizenship Act.

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6th April 2010

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is responsible for overseeing the United States naturalization process. Each year, many Immigrants in the United States take advantage of the ability to naturalize to US Citizenship. For some, the Naturalization test is a daunting prospect. In order to help inform the public, USCIS has provided a video on their website that can be of assistance to those looking into the naturalization process. To quote the USCIS website directly:

“The USCIS Naturalization Interview and Test was developed as an informational resource for individuals interested in learning more about the naturalization process. The 16-minute video provides an overview of the naturalization process including the eligibility requirements, the application process, preliminary steps, the naturalization interview, the English tests and the U.S. history and government test (civics). The video includes two simulated interviews between applicants and USCIS Officers. Individuals applying for naturalization may use this video as a reference tool to prepare for the naturalization interview. Teachers and volunteers can use this video to complement classroom instruction.”

Although naturalization is the most common method employed by foreign nationals seeking US citizenship. Few are aware that there is another method of obtaining Citizenship for the children of United States Citizens who did not receive Citizenship at birth. The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 provides a legal means for the minor children of United States Citizens to obtain American Citizenship.

Another interesting program for those interested in becoming United States Citizens is the expedited naturalization program for those foreign nationals enlisted in the United States military. The expedited naturalization process is a major benefit to foreign nationals and their families who choose to serve in A the United States trmed Forces.

Some are unaware that those who gained United States Lawful Permanent Residence based upon marriage are entitled to faster naturalization. For those who enter the United States and take up Permanent Residence based upon employment, the naturalization process generally takes about 5 years. However, for those married to a US Citizen the process takes 3 years from the time Permanent Residence is approved. This means that the naturalization “clock” starts running for K1 visa holders after the adjustment of status is approved. A CR1 visa holder who enters the country with conditional lawful permanent residence at entry begins accruing  presence that can be used toward naturalization at entry. This being said, a CR1 visa holder must still get a lift of conditions before they will be entitled to a 10 year “Green Card.”

For information about US Immigration from Thailand Please See: American Visa Thailand.


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10th March 2010

Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA) are similar to birth certificates in that they note that a child was born, but they differ in their reason for issuance. A Consular Report of Birth Abroad also notes that a child was born an American Citizen. There are two ways that a child can be born an American Citizen. One way is by birth in the United States. Although, the American Immigration and Nationality Act defines “United States” (for purposes of US Immigration) as all of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico birth in the non-US states or the District of Columbia may or may not cause the transmission of automatic Citizenship depending upon the situation. That being said, birth in the 50 US states definitely confers automatic Citizenship. However, there is another method of transmission of United States Citizenship and that is by blood. A United States Citizen may transmit their citizenship to their child outside of the US if  at least one of the child’s parent’s meets the legal requirements for Citizenship transmission. This can become complicated as automatic citizenship transmission can be dependent upon many factors.

In order to obtain a Consular Report of Birth Abroad an applicant usually makes an appointment with the American Citizen Services Section of the appropriate US Embassy or US Consulate. In Thailand, the CRBA interview would likely take place at either the US Embassy in Bangkok or the US Consulate General in Chiang Mai.

What concerns us in this post is the prospect of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad Denial. If, by law, an American Citizen cannot transmit their Citizenship to their child automatically because the US Citizen parent did not spend enough time physically present in the US at the time of the child’s birth, then a Consular Report of Birth Abroad may not be issued and the child may not be entitled to a US passport. It should be noted that in some cases a parent cannot prove up their actual presence in the United States, but later procures proof. In this case, it may be possible to re-apply for the CRBA and, assuming the new evidence is acceptable to the Consular Officer, thereby legally prove transmission of Citizenship. However, there are some cases where the transmission of Citizenship either cannot be proven or did not, in fact, occur. In situations such as these, Americans are basically left with one option: they may petition for an Immigrant visa for their child. An American Citizen may petition for Immigrant visa benefits for their child and upon approval of a visa application and petition, the child may enter the United States with their US Citizen parent. Under the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 if the child enters with their US Citizen parent in order to take up residence, then the “foreign” child becomes a US Citizen by operation of law upon lawful admission.

In this situation, the child may then obtain a Certificate of Citizenship (similar to a Naturalization Certificate) in order to prove their status.

For related information please see: US Visa Denial or CR1 Visa.

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1st March 2010

Those going through the US visa process may be aware of the I-864 affidavit of support. This document is used in order for the United States government to receive assurance that the prospective immigrant will not become a public charge in the United States. In family based immigrant visa cases involving visas such as the CR1 Visa or the IR1 visa the I-864 is used. The I-864 should not be confused with the I-134 affidavit of support which is often utilized by those seeking either a K1 visa or a K3 Visa. However, at the time of this writing, it is highly likely that use of the I-134 in K-3 cases will fall by the wayside as fewer K-3 visa applications will be forwarded on to US Embassies and Consulates abroad due to the administrative closure of new K-3 applications at the National Visa Center. That being said, non-immigrant dual intent travel documents such as the K1 fiance visa and the K3 marriage visa do not use the I-864, but use the I-134.

There are certain Immigrant visas which do not utilize the I-864 as the affidavit of support requirement is waived. These type of cases require the submission of the I-864w. To quote the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in their own instructions for the form itself:

“The Form I-864 is legally required for many family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants to show that they have adequate means of financial support and that they are not likely to become a public charge. Certain classes of immigrants are exempt from the I-864 requirement and therefore must file Form I-864W instead of Form I-864 or Form I-864EZ.”

Under the Child Citizenship Act of the year 2000, there are certain children who enter the United States and become United States Citizens by operation of law upon admission at a port of entry by the Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP). These children may then apply for a certificate of citizenship which is somewhat similar to a naturalization certificate except for the fact that the child is not naturalized, but a citizen statutorily. In cases where the child would become a citizen upon entry, the obligations incurred by an I-864 would automatically extinguish upon entry since the child would be a US Citizen. Therefore, the need to adjudicate means of support are made somewhat redundant. This may be the policy reason underlying the promulgation of the I-864w.

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