Immigration Q & A
Author by Edward Boreth
I lost my naturalization certificate and my passport! Now I have no proof of US citizenship. What do I do?
You may apply to USCIS for a replacement naturalization certificate. The fee is $345 and the application may take several months to process. You should also report your lost passport to the US Department of State at 1-877-487-2778. The replacement of the lost passport is much faster. You will have to fill out Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport, and Form DS-64: Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport. These forms need to be submitted in person to any passport agency. You may be able to get a new passport in as little as one week by paying the expedite fee, although regular processing takes about 6 weeks.
I have had my green card for three years. My fiancée is in India and we would like to get married. How do I bring her to the US?
You can only petition for a fiancée if you become a US citizen. You will have to wait about 2 more years before you can file for US citizenship. Your other option is to marry your fiancée in India and petition for her as a spouse. Right now, she will have to wait abroad about three years before she can get her green card. However, once you become a US citizen, her wait will be cut short, and she will be eligible to come to the US immediately. If your fiancée has a visa, such as a tourist visa, to visit the US, you can get married in the US. But then you might run into a problem – your wife will still need to wait to a three-year waiting period before getting her greed card, but her tourist status will expire. Once she is out of status, she could become subject to deportation, and she will not be able to adjust her status (change to green card holder) inside the US for as long as you remain a permanent resident. You would need to become a US citizen for your wife to be able to adjust her status in the US.
I have been a green card holder or eight years. I was arrested for selling alcohol to a minor about three years ago. Can I still apply for US citizenship?
Probably, in most states, selling alcohol to a minor is not a crime of moral turpitude and will not be considered to affect your moral character for citizenship purposes. However, you will still need to send in the police report and court documents from that case. As with any arrest case, I highly recommend that you see an immigration attorney before you file any applications.
My wife has lived in the United States for 25 years, but her English is very poor. She is a permanent resident and is 56 years old. She would like to apply for citizenship, but I do not think that she will pass the English test, even though she has taken classes. Can she get her the citizenship?
First, in order for your mother to apply for citizenship, you need to determine that your wife has been a permanent
like her to come to the United States to live with me. What do I need to do to bring her here? Will it make a difference to my fiancee’s immigration status where the wedding takes place – India or US?
The first thing you need to do is consider becoming a U.S. Citizen. If you have been a permanent resident for at least five years, have good moral character and a basic knowledge of US history, you are eligible for US citizenship. The benefit is this: the waiting period for a spouse of a permanent resident to be granted an immigrant visa is currently approximately 3 years. During that time, your wife will have to wait in India. The spouse of a citizen is entitled to an immigrant visa immediately (subject, of course to document processing times). So once you become a citizen, you can get married in India and file the petition to bring your wife to the U.S. as a permanent resident. You can also request a fiancée visa for your fiancée, which would enable her to come to the U.S. (in a matter of months) and get married in the U.S. You can only petition for a fiancée if you are a U.S Citizen.
The advice in this column may not apply to your specific situation, even if it seems similar in nature. The only way to obtain legal advice is by speaking with a qualified attorney and reviewing your specific circumstances. If you have any questions, please call me at (954) 522-4115.
Edward Boreth is an immigration attorney who has practiced law for 16 years. He is a partner at Shapovalov & Boreth and a director of the Citizenship Clinic. He is also an avid cricket fan.