Tell a friend about this page

Learn More About:

Add this page to your favorites.

Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2021 
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378
Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen
  Immigration News & Updates              
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know Whether I Need To Register For Selective Service? 
Questions About Immigration? We have the answers!
We Are Here To Help, Call us now for a FREE consultation (954) 382-5378
Question: I came to America with my parents in 2005 when I was 3 yrs old. When Obama passed the DACA law in 2012 I was only 10 so I couldn’t apply for the program. Then pres trump cancelled the law so I could not apply any more. I heard you say that pres biden restarted the law again, so I want to apply. I know I have to prove that I have been in America for all this time but I was not working until recently and I couldn’t get a social security or driver license all this time. So what can I use to prove that I have been here since 2005?
Biden Administration Plans To Reinstate 
Pre-Trump Version Of The Citizenship Test 

                  LAW CENTERS

Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
 POSTING DATE: February 15, 2021
Answer: Great question, the best evidence used to prove that you qualify is to show that you entered the U.S. in 2005 with a copy of your I-94 card that was issued to your parents when they brought you to the U.S. in 2005 or the entry stamp in your passport. Vaccination or pediatric medical records can show your presence in the U.S. prior to starting school, then your kindergarten and school records (transcripts) will provide proof of your presence in the U.S. up until high school graduation. After that any college records or employment evidence can be used. Just make sure that you fully document as much of your time in the U.S. as possible. Let me know if you me to handle obtaining your DACA status and work permit for you.
Add this page to your favorites.
Tax Season Is Upon Us – Here’s A Few Tips on Qualifying 
For Naturalization Even When You Owe IRS Taxes 
American Immigration 
Law Center
2645 Executive Park Drive 
Suite 137
Weston, Florida 33331
Many U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) who owe taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mistakenly believe that they are not eligible to obtain U.S. Citizenship, when in fact, most Residents who owe taxes actually remain eligible to apply for naturalization, as long as they meet certain criteria. The key to successful naturalization for those who owe IRS taxes is in following several basic steps. 

For background, one of the most important requirements to qualify for U.S. citizenship is to show that you have had "good moral character" in the immediate five years preceding the naturalization application filing (past three years for early naturalization based upon marriage to a U.S. Citizen). 
According to Buzzfeednews, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to discard the widely criticized Trump era version of the U.S. Citizenship Civics test instituted late last year, in favor of reinstating the old previous version. 

For background, the original U.S. Citizenship Civics test, in use since 2008 had 100 questions. 
Citizenship applicants were asked up to 10 questions during their naturalization interview and had to answer 6 correctly to order to pass the exam. Officers only needed to ask as many questions as it took for the applicant to pass, frequently only six.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Tips On Applying For Your U.S. Passport After Getting Naturalized

Once you get naturalized, you can immediately apply for your first U.S. Passport. First, download form DS-11, complete it and then gather the required documentation. 

Here is what you will need to apply for your new U.S. Passport:

-Completed Passport application forms (DS-11)
-Proof of U.S. citizenship (naturalization certificate/Certificate of Citizenship)
-Proof of your identity: Driver's license, Government ID: city, state, or federal, Military ID: military 
U.S. law requires men to register for military conscription in case of war, under a program called the Selective Service System. This applies to men who live in the U.S. or who get a green card at any time between the ages of 18 and 25, requiring them to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, to be called up in a military draft if ever needed. 

There are, however, certain exemptions, including those for men between 18 and 25 who were only here in a nonimmigrant visa status, like tourists, students, etc. Strangely enough, undocumented or “illegal aliens” are also now required to register, even though many do not.
In the Fall of 2020, the Trump Administration announced that it had revised the naturalization exam to increase to test to 128 questions, rather than the original 100 and that applicants would be asked 20 questions rather than 10 and be required to answer 12 correctly, instead of 6. Interviewing officers would also be required to ask all 20 questions, instead of stopping once the applicant answered enough correctly to pass the exam. Critics say the Trump version not only added more than two dozen questions, but was politically influenced and included wording changes that intentionally made it more complex and confusing to applicants. The new test is required for all Residents who apply for naturalization on or after December 1, 2020.

However, residents who filed naturalization application on or after December 1st will likely never be required to take the test once Biden’s DHS changes back to the 2008 version, in an announcement expected shortly. Stay tuned…. 

Trump Citizenship Test
Issues which have the most impact on “good moral character”, include an individual’s criminal background, payment of child support and payment of taxes. Many criminal convictions occurring during the “good moral character” period often result in ineligibility. As a general rule, its best to wait until at least five years (or three years in the case of early naturalization) have passed since the date of the conviction or competition of probation (whichever is later). For child support, providing documentary proof of continuing payments for child support arrearages, along with proof of current child support payments will often result in Naturalization approval.

When it comes to the issue of IRS taxes, many individuals owe back taxes either because they could not afford to pay for previous year’s taxes or because of a mistake on their past taxes. Worse yet, the fear of owing back taxes often causes taxpayers to avoid filing a required tax return, which then puts them further and further behind. The best approach is to file all required taxes for previous years and enter into an agreement with the IRS for payment of back taxes owed. Here is what you need to do:

Step#1 File Your Taxes:

If you have failed to file any tax returns for past years in which you were required to file, the first step is to file all delinquent tax returns now. This is required before applying for a payment agreement with the IRS. You should likely get the advice and assistance of an accountant during this process, which costs much less than many imagine. The IRS will then send you a bill stating the taxes owed.

Step#2 Set Up a Payment Plan With the IRS:

The only way to naturalize when you owe back taxes is to enter into a payment plan with the IRS, also called an Installment Agreement. To do that, you should call the IRS and explain that you owe taxes and want to set up a payment plan and need a formal Installment Agreement that states the entire amount owed and for which years. Agents are often very understanding and willing to work with you and set the monthly payments as low as possible. Be sure to explain any extenuating circumstances, which negatively affect your income and ability to pay, for instance any large financial expenditures for medical or other expenses. 

Step#3 Set up Automatic Payments:

Request that the IRS agent to set up automatic debits from your bank account. This is the absolute best way to ensure that your monthly IRS installment payments are made on time and the best documentary evidence to prove to the USCIS that you have been making systematic, timely payments on your taxes. The agent will usually ask you what day of the month you want the debit payment made.

Step#4 Make Your Payments:

Make sure that you have enough funds in your bank account each month for your scheduled payments. Save copies of your bank statements each month and mark IRS payments in yellow highlight.

Step#5 Prepare To File for Naturalization!

Once you have your Installment plan and have made a few months (3-6 months) of regular payments, you should be ready to file for naturalization. Once the time comes, you will want to contact the IRS and request:

1) Tax and Wage Transcripts: for the past five years (three years for early naturalization) showing your official taxes filed with the IRS;
2) Payment Transcript: to show all your Installment Agreement payments to date in order to provide documentary proof to the USCIS.

Step#6 File for Naturalization!

Prepare your Naturalization application and file all required documentation, along with a copy of your:

1) Tax and Wage Transcripts: for the past five years (three years for early naturalization)
2) Payment Transcripts showing all your Installment Agreement payments to date 
3) Installment Agreement and 
4) Bank Statements with highlights showing all payments made. 

Once your Naturalization interview is scheduled, you will also want to request an updated payment transcript from the IRS to show all your payments from the date of filing your application until the interview, and bring that along with updated bank statements with highlights showing all payments made while your Naturalization case was processing. Special note, in cases where a Resident failed to file tax returns in previous years, it is always best to prepare a written, signed statement explaining the circumstances of the failure to file, including any financial or family issues which prevented the timely filing and a statement of regret or remorse for the failure. 

We successfully assisted Residents who owe back taxes in obtaining Naturalization! Give us a call and schedule a free consultation. Be sure to bring all the IRS tax letters your received and your past five years tax returns so we can go over your case carefully to determine the best approach to achieving your Naturalization.
Many Immigration Applications Filed Under Trump Policies
 In Late 2020 Still Waiting For Receipts To Be Issued!
Even though Trump is gone, the negative effects of his administration’s inefficient policies and overall incompetence lingers on and on. One example is the simple receipting of residency applications filed with the National Benefits Center. 

Beginning mid year 2020, the time between the filing of an application and the issuance of receipts began to increase from about 14 days to perhaps 21 days. By the Fall the lag time went up to four weeks and by year end up to 2 months. 
To date, many applications filed in the final months of 2020 remain unreceipted. Delays due to Covid-19 may account for some delays, but this does not explain a 3 to 4 month delay in receipts issuance. It seems more likely that the Trump USCIS stockpiled incoming cases and simply failed to issue receipts! Residency cases filed recently in January and February are being receipted fairly quickly for the most part. We are monitoring the situation and will keep you updated as the situation changes.
Question: I have my citizenship exam next week and have a question for you. I don’t have a car so my uncle will be driving me. The immigration notice says only the applicant can come, but my uncle is old and I don’t want him to wait in the hot car while I am inside immigration. Is it possible that they will let him come in with me?
Answer: Unfortunately, with the new social distancing rules due to Covid-19, only the applicant, petitioners, legal representatives and those assisting the disabled are allowed to enter the building. Your uncle can drop you off and come back and get you, or wait in the covered parking garage which is not so hot, but he will not be allowed to accompany you into the building.
Question: My mom brought me here when I was a teenager and we overstayed. After graduating from high school me and my high school sweetheart got married and I just got my citizenship last month and was planning to file for my mom. The problem is that my grandma in Jamaica just passed away last weekend and the funeral is next week. My mom wants to go home to attend and be with family and friends but I want to check with you first to make sure that is alright. After she gets back here next month I can file for her, I just want to make sure that is ok. Thank you.
Answer: Unfortunately, if your mother leaves the U.S. after having been here out of status for many years, she will be barred from re-entering the U.S. for a period of time. An overstay of 180 days up to 364 days before leaving the U.S. is an automatic bar from reentering the U.S. of three years and overstaying by 365 days or more, then leaving results in an automatic bar of ten years. I know it hard to believe that your mom cannot attend your grandmother’s funeral, but the consequences are so tough that if she leaves, she would not be able to return to the U.S,. for 10 years under current law, even if you sponsor her. The best option is for me to file for her residency and request a travel permit, then once issued, she can go home for a belated visit.
-Two current color passport pictures
-Your social security number
-Applicable fees: The regular passport fee is $110 (plus $35 fee) if you are 16 and older, and the U.S. passport is good for ten years. The fee is $80 (plus $35 fee) if you are under 16, and the new passport is good for five years.

Find the passport office location nearest you (it might just be the post office). Hand in your completed forms, passport photos, and money for the passport. 

You can check your application status several weeks after you submit your application, you can check your application's status online 
The issue of Selective Service Registration generally comes up for male Immigrants who apply for Naturalization and are required to list their Selective Service Registration information. Failing to register for Selective Service can result in Naturalization denial for failure to show good moral character. For some, it is not too late to register: Men preparing to apply for Naturalization (U.S. Citizenship) who failed to register for the Selective Service in the past, but who are not yet age 25, can still register online.

However, those who have passed age 25, are not eligible to register and must face the potentially negative immigration consequences of passing the required registration date. For those, the easiest thing to do may be to wait until you are age 31 to apply for Naturalization so that five years of good moral character have passed (or 29 years of age to show three years of “good moral character” for those who are married to and living with a U.S. citizen for at least three years).

Immigrants who failed to register, but do not want to wait for the “good moral character” period to expire, need to provide the USCIS officer with documentation to demonstrate for instance that the Resident did not know he was supposed to register and did not “willfully” fail to do so. To do this, an Immigrant can submit the following along with his naturalization application:

1) Status Information Letter from the Selective Service System (obtained from the Selective Service System website or by calling 847-688-6888.)  

2) Sworn Declaration, and sworn declarations from people who know the Immigrant, attesting to their knowledge of the reasons why he failed to learn about and did not know about the requirement to register or believed he was automatically registered.

USCIS officers have discretion whether or not to approve such cases, so it’s best to provide as much evidence as possible to ensure the most positive result.