Green Cards & Citizenship

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Applying for a green card with or without a spouse

A conditional green card is issued for two years if a foreigner immigrated to the United States based on marriage with a citizen of America. After two years, you need to apply to the Immigration Service to remove the conditionality from the green card and get a permanent one.

Why wait two years? 

The Immigration Service has introduced such a period to reduce the number of fictitious marriages, concluded only for the sake of a green card.

If the couple has not divorced in these two years and the marriage is really, the spouses together apply for a permanent green card for one of them. As a rule, there are no problems with obtaining it. But they can arise if a spouse with a temporary green card has to apply for the removal of the condition without the participation of his soul mate.

How to get a green card without the constant participation of a spouse:

· If a US citizen spouse has died, a death certificate is required, as well as proof that the marriage was not fictitious. These can be joint accounts, testimonies of relatives, and even photographs, posts on social networks.

·The couple managed to divorce in two years. In this case, a spouse with a conditional green card can still get a permanent one. This requires divorce documents and proof that the marriage was not fictitious, that the relationship did not work out.

· Domestic violence. Women often find themselves in this situation, but there are cases when a spouse becomes a victim of domestic violence. Abuse can be both completely physical (beatings) and psychological  (threats, blackmail, intimidation, confiscation of a passport and other documents, locking up a house, excessive jealousy, etc.). Physical violence is easier to prove – it can be evidence from police officers, doctors. The facts of psychological abuse are more difficult to prove, especially when it happens without witnesses. In this case, you need the help of not only a lawyer but also a psychologist. If the victim proves the facts of domestic violence, the condition will be removed from the green card even without the consent or participation of her spouse.

· Particularly difficult circumstances. If, for some reason, the immigration service does not want to remove the condition from the green card and its holder must be deported from the United States, it must be proved that this will negatively affect the life. For example, a woman must leave the United States, and children (if any) will stay in the United States in a complicated financial situation.

How to get US citizenship

Naturalization is a legal procedure that allows green card holders to become US citizens.

For successful naturalization, 7 conditions must be met:

1. Only persons over 18 years old can apply for naturalization. For juveniles, naturalization is also possible – through the naturalization of their parents.

2. The applicant must be in America legally.

3. The applicant has lived in America for at least 2.5 years within the last 5 years. Or at least 1.5 years within the last 3 years (it depends on the status).

4. The applicant must speak English.

5. Knowledge of the history of the USA and the state structure of America is also required.

6. The applicant has no criminal record.

7. He must adhere to the principles specified in the American Constitution.

Stages of naturalization in America:

• To begin with, an application is submitted to the immigration service on Form N-400. It is accompanied by a photograph, a copy of the green card, and a receipt for the payment of the fee.

• Then, the criminal history of the applicant is checked.

• After that, they are invited to the immigration office for an interview.

• If all goes well, a ceremony is held during which the applicant takes an oath of allegiance to the United States.

Three more ways to become a US citizen:

1. Marriage to an American citizen.

2. Service in the US military

3. A child can become an American citizen by birth, and it is never too late to claim the right to do so.