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Kentucky Immigration Law Blog

I am a permanent resident of the U.S. Do I need a reentry permit for travel?

If you are an immigrant living in Kentucky and are working toward legal citizenship, you may fall under the category of a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. Many would-be citizens have this status so they can live and work in the States as they wait for citizenship. If you plan to return to your homeland for an extended period of time, having a reentry permit ensures you can return to the U.S. without losing your status as a permanent resident.

According to the federal Citizen and Immigration Services, if you are a permanent resident and set up house outside the U.S., your resident status may be considered abandoned. If you are gone for a year or more, your permanent resident card becomes invalid. By obtaining a reentry permit before you leave, you are confirming your plans to return and that your absence should not be considered abandonment.

Is the U.S. removing immigrant human rights violators?

Yes. The United States does have procedures in place whose purpose is to prevent entry by those who have committed atrocities against other humans or engaged in other human rights violations. It also has processes for removal should authorities learn that a person living in the United States was previously a violator. However, it can take many years for the process to play out and for the subject to avail him or herself of due process rights prior to removal. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently reported on one such instance where a person who had lived legally in the United States was investigated and ultimately deported in early January, 2018 based on government findings of a serious nature.

2006 discovery of false statements

What is the diversity program and can I use it to get a visa?

Since it is a random drawing, whether you, residing in Kentucky, can secure a visa through this program will depend on more than just your diversity. The application process requires some planning and document gathering, as well as adhering to a deadline for the year in question.

However, here is some information that you may find useful.

Am I eligible to become a citizen through naturalization?

You may be able to become a United States citizen via the naturalization process in Kentucky if you meet certain criteria. First, before becoming a citizen, you must have been a green card holder for a certain amount of years. In other words, you have to have secured legal permanent residency, first and foremost.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, one path to naturalization is when you have five years of such permanent residence here in the United States. If you have, then you will want to check some additional requirements to see if they apply.

What happens if I overstay my visa?

If you entered the United States through one of the dozens of temporary visa programs, you likely had a particular reason for coming to this country. Such visas cover professions such as athletes, religious workers, students, skilled laborers and those with extraordinary talent in a variety of industries. Because of the limited number of visas offered each year, you can consider yourself fortunate to have obtained your permit to come to Kentucky and work.

The terms of your visa also included an expiration date, and immigration law demands that you leave the country on or before that date. Missing the deadline results in severe penalties. If you know you will not be leaving the United States before your visa expires, it is important that you take the appropriate steps to avoid these penalties.

I am an asylee -- am I eligible for a green card?

Those who live in Kentucky as an asylee, or a person who has been granted asylum in the United States, can eventually apply for permanent residency in the form of a green card after a year of living in the country. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you must properly fill out and file the I-485 form to get the process started. This is the application to change your status and it can only be filed at a time in which you are physically in the country. That is not the only requirement you will need to meet, though. For starters, you must have been physically present for an entire year -- one or more -- in the time since you were granted asylum.

To obtain a green card, you must be able to show that your asylum has not been terminated and that you have not resettled on foreign soil. You must also still meet the requirements of being defined a refugee, or be the child or spouse of a person who has maintained that status.

What are some tips for passing the citizenship interview?

Becoming a U.S. citizen is an important and serious process. If you live in Kentucky, you have to follow the same federal laws for securing citizenship as others in other states. This includes passing the citizenship test. Part of the test is the interview, which can be very intimidating. That is why preparation is important.

Dummies notes that you should be relaxed as possible when going into the citizenship test interview. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services does not expect you to speak perfectly or be an English expert. They simply are looking for someone who is passionate about becoming a citizen and willing to work hard to gain that right. 

Immigrating to the U.S. with your family

Immigration can be stressful for a wide range of reasons and this can be especially true for those who have a spouse and/or children. Moving to another country for work or some other purpose can be a huge change which brings uncertainty and this is especially true for those who leave behind families. Vickerstaff Law Office recognizes that each family immigration case is unique and that immigrants and their loved ones may be facing a plethora of difficulties. In Louisville, and cities all over Kentucky, it is pivotal for people in this position to take a careful look at their rights and figure out the most sensible plan of action.

Did you move to the U.S. in order to pursue a lucrative job that you were offered, but are unsure of how to bring your loved ones to the country? If so, you should look into different options that may be on the table. For example, children, parents, spouses, and even siblings of U.S. citizens and permanent residents may be able to obtain a green card. Many families have been able to reunite and reduce immigration-related anxiety by successfully applying for green cards. However, it is vital to have a clear understanding of the different requirements and work through the process appropriately.

The removal process in the immigration court system

Immigrants in Kentucky who do not have proper documentation may be wondering what the removal process is like, should the unthinkable happen. According to FindLaw, the process may begin with a Notice to Appear. This document is served to the immigrant, as well as being filed with the immigration court. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is the federal agency that issues the notification.

The NTA includes details about any alleged illegal activities of the immigrant, such as the following:

  • Failure to acquire proper documentation
  • Marriage fraud
  • Certain criminal offenses
  • Violation of conditions of entry
  • Falsification of documents
  • Creation of a national security risk

Do you have questions about beginning the naturalization process?

Living in the United States may have been a long-time goal for you. Though you may have achieved that goal some time ago and became a permanent resident, you could have found yourself wanting to take another step and become a United States citizen. Many people have this goal, but because the naturalization process can seem daunting, numerous individuals may also delay pursuing this achievement.

If you feel uncertain about beginning the naturalization process, you are not alone. Luckily, you can find out more information on the process itself and obtain legal assistance throughout the process if you desire. The following basic information regarding naturalization may help you feel more at ease when considering beginning this lengthy process.