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Kentucky Immigration Law Blog

Are you eligible for naturalization?

As a resident of Louisville who is not yet a permanent citizen of the U.S., you may be wondering what your options for citizenship or naturalization might be. Today, we at Vickerstaff Law Office, PSC, will take a look at what qualifications must be met in order for you to be eligible for naturalization.

First is age. You must be over 18 years old in order to qualify for naturalization. Permanent residency - and corresponding proof - is also of key importance. You must either:

  • Have permanent residency and have served in the military of the U.S.
  • Be married to a citizen of the U.S. and have had permanent residency for 3 years minimum
  • Have permanent residency and have lived in the U.S. for 5 years minimum

What you should know about filing an H-1B petition

Whether you are an employer submitting H-1B petitions to employ immigrant workers or you are a non-citizen wanting to work in the United States, there are several things you should know about the petition process. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, more than 201,000 H-1B petitions were received within a five-day filing period this year. Due to the extensive number of petitions submitted, however, not all cases are selected for processing.

Instead, the USCIS selects a certain number of petitions through a lottery. Those cases that are selected will receive a receipt in the mail, which may take several weeks to arrive. Cases that are not selected will receive the petition back in the mail with a rejection notice. Once the case has been chosen, petitions that are marked for premium processing will take 15 calendar days to process. Depending on the circumstances of the situation, a request for evidence may be needed. Employers are then asked to submit further evidence showing that the employee is eligible for an H-1B visa.  

Things to know when renewing your DACA application

When Kentucky residents or others discuss immigration topics, it is often a cause for debate. Ever-changing U.S. immigration laws make it challenging to stay updated on pertinent information. If you or your loved one hopes to renew a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, you'll want to first research updated information, as this particular program has undergone changes under the current presidential administration.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department is still accepting DACA applications. There are various forms, fees and other legal issues involved in the process. As an immigrant, your ability to stay in the United States greatly hinges on your legal status. If your paperwork is not in good order or your status application has expired, you are at risk for deportation.

Can you become a citizen of the U.S. through parents?

Kentucky follows the national laws when it comes to matters of naturalization. Not every child may be eligible to become a naturalized citizen, which is why it's important to understand these laws and what they mean for you.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are two primary ways in which a person can obtain citizenship through their parents. The first is at birth, and the second is after birth but before you turn 18 years old. Under legal definitions, a child in this category is an unmarried person who is either the legitimated, genetic, or adopted child of a U.S. citizen.

What criteria need to be met if you are seeking asylum?

Every day, people come to the Kentucky and the United States to avoid persecution or fear of persecution. The protection they request is known as asylum. If you are persecuted in your home country or fear you will be persecuted for your political opinion, nationality, religion race or because you are a member of a social group, you may be eligible for asylum in the United States.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, you can request and apply for asylum once you are in the United States or at a port of entry to the country. Within one year of arriving in the county, you can still apply for asylum, regardless of your current immigration status. There are still some cases where you can apply after you have been here for a year, but you must meet certain criteria.

What are the biggest challenges facing immigrants?

While life in the U.S. offers many amazing opportunities to immigrants, the experience is not without its challenges. Overcoming these challenges take a dedicated effort, as well as access to the right information. To help immigrants and their families get acclimated to life in Kentucky, Global Citizen offers the following advice.

Finding fulfilling employment

The importance of maintaining your passport and visa

At Vickerstaff Law Office in Kentucky, we represent numerous international students who are legally in the United States by virtue of some type of a visa. We therefore know how important it becomes for them to keep their visa up-to-date, as well as the passport issued by their home country. Should one of these documents expire, the person could be in severe legal trouble.

Arizona State University explains that your passport and your visa work together, and you must have both documents in order to legally enter and stay in the United States.

Kentucky immigrants have a right to obtain medical care

If Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers place a Kentucky immigrant in detention, it doesn't mean he or she loses all access to the outside world. If you or your loved one is currently detained, you still have rights, one of which is to receive medical attention when you need it. There have been many stories in the news regarding inhumane condition in numerous detention facilities throughout the nation.

In fact, some incidents have resulted in fatalities when officials denied immigrants proper medical care. There are close to 50,000 immigrants in detention in the United States at this time. Immigration officials have quarantined more than 2,000 of them. The U.S. government reportedly approved the quarantines due to the immigrants involved supposedly contracting communicable diseases, such as mumps.

How long would it take to bring my spouse to America?

There are two categories you would probably fall into if you were eligible to bring your spouse to live in Kentucky permanently as United States resident. The first category is for US citizens, and the second is for green card holders. 

The procedures for applying for a visa are similar regardless of your permanent residency classification. However, there are some significant differences in the processing and post-application procedures. Some of these may affect how long it would take to get your spouse into the country.

What are the requirements for U.S. citizenship?

As you begin to look into the process of becoming a U.S. citizen in Kentucky, you will find that what is required of you are aspects that will help you to succeed and excel as a citizen of the United States of America. Before you begin the application process, you should be dedicated to accomplishing all of the requirements so you can complete your application with ease and confidence. 

When you are committed to achieving your goals and making the life-altering decision of becoming a citizen of the United States, you can work toward naturalization with pride and excitement for your future. According to usa.gov, some of the eligibility requirements you will need to have met to be prepared for citizenship include the following:

  • Participate in a personal interview where you will answer a series of questions about your interest and reason for wanting to be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be at least 18 years old. 
  • Be able to demonstrate that you are a good person with moral characteristics that are reflective of a U.S. citizen.
  • Have completed and submitted a U.S. Naturalization test.
  • Are able to communicate in basic English including reading, writing and speaking.