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Kentucky Immigration Law Blog

Dual nationality acceptable and sometimes complicated

Kentucky residents may be United States citizens while also being nationals of a foreign country at the same time. The U.S. accepts dual nationality although it can pose dichotomies at times that are hard to reconcile.

Dual nationality signifies that a person is a national or citizen of two nations simultaneously. This can occur by choice or by consequential operation of the differing laws of the two countries.

What is the naturalization test?

The U.S. naturalization test assesses your familiarity with the country's language and basic history. If you are an immigrant in Kentucky seeking legal citizenship of the United States, this test will most likely be part of your naturalization process. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are a few potential cases in which you do not have to take the test, such as certain medical conditions. Another case in which you could opt out of part or all of the test is if you are over a specified age and have been a resident of the United States for at least 20 years. You may have up to two opportunities to pass.

The portion of the test which covers the country's history and government is taken orally. An officer asks up to ten questions, and you must answer six questions correctly in order to pass. The content of the test may include general facts about the country's history and geography, as well as basic facets of the government's structure.

What is the affirmative asylum process?

As someone living in Kentucky who's seeking asylum in the United States, there are unfortunately a number of hoops you'll likely need to jump through to achieve that status. Applying for asylum can be a tricky thing to navigate. Here's what you may need to know about the affirmative asylum process.

As stated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services, this process of seeking asylum is for those who are going to America with the express intent of immediately applying for asylum, rather than fighting for it while in the process of deportation. Arriving within the U.S. is your first step, as you need to be at a port of entrance or within the country already in order to get the process started.

Factors which may affect citizenship

When you apply for citizenship in Kentucky, it is natural to have many questions about the process. You may be concerned, though, about factors which may cause you to be denied citizenship. At Vickerstaff Law Office, PSC, we know that it is important for people to understand these factors, as well as the process to become a citizen.

Although child support may seem unrelated to citizenship, it can actually be one of the factors which determines whether or not you become a citizen. FindLaw says that you typically need to demonstrate that you are paying your court-ordered child support. Neglecting to pay does not always mean you will be denied citizenship. You may still become a citizen if you have financial circumstances which make you late with these payments. However, failing to provide these payments may be a strike against you if you have intentionally left them unpaid.

Situations that may signify an abandonment of your legal status

You may have gone through a long, arduous process before securing permanent legal residence status in the United States. You definitely are not the first immigrant to have done so, and likely may know of others in your personal or professional life whose stories are similar to yours. Maintaining your status is undoubtedly a high priority if you plan on living somewhere in the nation for the rest of your life. U.S. immigration law often changes and if your knowledge isn't current, you may run into trouble.

Do you know there are several situations that would signify to immigration officials that you are abandoning your status? If you're unaware that such regulations exist, it might be best to research the topic, especially if you plan to temporarily leave the United States any time soon.

Asylum and the outlook for Kentucky refugees

The current issues that refugees face when arriving to the United States can seem endless, as many Americans do not consider the country responsible for taking in foreign families experiencing danger and distress in their own countries. Fortunately, Kentucky is one of the leading states accepting refugees in search of better lives. The process of asylum arrangements, however, can be extremely complex.

WKYT News reported that, in recent years, Kentucky has accepted countless refugees into the state. Whether from political unrest, economic oppression or both, these refugees have sought asylum across the state of Kentucky. In 2012, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Inc. helped settle 437 people, and that number has only climbed. The Ministries spend roughly $1,100 per person to get them settled, and the first step in helping refugees is to find homes for families and assist them with self-sufficiency. From there, refugees may find jobs, medical assistance and, of course, freedom.

What is the Convention Against Torture?

If you are currently living in Kentucky, but fled your country of origin because you were persecuted, you may not be aware of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has stated that the United States may not deport you to any country where you likely will be subjected to torture.

The Convention Against Torture is different from the laws of asylum and withholding of removal in the following ways:

  • The torture may be physical or mental; need not be based on your nationality, race, religion, political opinions or social group; and may be inflicted for a variety of reasons including to obtain a confession, to punish you for something you or someone else did or are suspected of doing, or to intimidate or coerce you or someone else.
  • Even if you have been convicted of aggravated felonies, the protection is available to you if you meet the standards.
  • The torture must be inflicted either by a public official or someone acting in an official capacity while you are or were in the custody and/or control of that person, or such a person must give or have given his or her consent to it.

Transition from fiancé visa to spousal green card

American citizens in Kentucky often seek to have their foreign fiancés come to the United States so they can marry and live their married lives together. 

As noted by MarketWatch, a popular form of visa entry into the United States is the K-1 Visa, also known as the fiancé visa. The Department of State reports that the top three countries of origin for fiancé visas that the U.S. issues are the Philippines with the most visas, followed by the Dominican Republic and Vietnam.

Am I eligible for Temporary Protected Status?

If you have been living in the United States for any length of time and are afraid to return to your own country, you may wonder what options are available to you. Depending on your country of origin and the date on which you arrived in this country, you may be eligible for temporary protected status, which is a humanitarian program allowing individuals to remain in the United States until circumstances in their own countries are safer.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security determines when the situation in a country is too volatile or difficult for a foreign national to safely return. Under specific conditions, those individuals may find safe haven, apply for work and live under certain protections during that time.

What should I know when applying for a student visa?

If you live in Kentucky and are currently applying for a student visa, there are important pieces of information that you must know in order to facilitate a smoother process. Applying for visas can be complex even under the best of circumstances, and failure to submit all documentation in an accurate and timely manner could jeopardize your chances.

That’s why NAFSA: Association of International Educators provides a few key points to help those applying for student visas. For instance, ensuring that you are able to fully understand the English language is crucial, as your interviewer will converse with you in English and not in your native language. You’ll need to explain your plans for schooling while in the United States, and your interviewer will most likely ask a broad range of questions to that end.