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Immigration Law

White Plains Immigration Lawyers

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has tightened its immigration laws and regulations. For non-citizens, maintaining yourlegal status is imperative. The team at Tilem & Associates, PC can help you with all aspects of immigration law, including visas, green cards, citizenship and naturalization and asylum. Furthermore, non-citizens face deportation for the most minor offenses.

If you are a non-citizen and you have been charged with a crime, in addition to any other penalty or sanction you are facing on the criminal charge, deportation is a very real possibility. If you are a non-citizen charged with a crime, you must be aware of the deportation possibility prior to entering into any plea bargain agreement. You must know whether the charge you are pleading guilty to will trigger deportation.

Citizenship & Naturalization

For those seeking to become citizens of the United States, the immigration lawyers at the White Plains firm of Tilem & Associates, PC can represent you through the entire naturalization process. Naturalization is the process of granting United States citizenship to foreign nationals who have fulfilled certain requirements set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Citizenship Eligibility

There are several ways to become eligible for United States citizenship. The process of applying for citizenship is called naturalization. The different requirements are set forth below. Please be sure to carefully read this information. Again, these laws and regulations change regularly. Feel free to call us to schedule a consultation at which time we can discuss the specific facts and circumstances of your case.

The Five-Year Path to Citizenship

The most common path to United States citizenship is to first be a permanent resident for five years. Under Section 316(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), you may be eligible for naturalization if you:

  • Are 18 years of age or older;

  • Have been a permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing your Application for Naturalization;

  • Have lived within the state, or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) district with jurisdiction over your place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date you filed your Application for Naturalization;

  • Have been present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date you filed your Application for Naturalization;

  • Have resided continuously within the U.S. from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization;

  • Are able to write, read, and speak English and have a knowledge and an understanding of United States government and history; and

  • Are a person of good moral character and take an oath of allegiance to the United States Constitution.

Citizenship Through Your Spouse

You may qualify for naturalization under Section 319(a) of the INA if you:

  • Are 18 years of age or older;

  • Have been a permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing your Application for Naturalization;

  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for at least 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing your Application for Naturalization;

  • Have been married to the same United States citizen for the 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing of your Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) and up until examination on the application;

  • Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over your place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date you filed your Application for Naturalization (Form N-400);

  • Have resided continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization until the time of naturalization;

  • Have been present in the U.S. for at least 18 months out of the 3 years immediately preceding the date you filed your Application for Naturalization;

  • Are able to write, read, and speak English and have a knowledge and an understanding of United States government and history; and

  • Are a person of good moral character and take an oath of allegiance to the United States Constitution.

Born on American Soil

Anyone born on American soil is automatically a United States citizen, unless they are the child of a foreign government official who is in the United States as a recognized diplomat. “American Soil” includes United States territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. (See Title 8 of the U.S. Code).

Born Abroad

The laws regarding citizenship for those born abroad are complex. The first consideration is when the child was born. This is important to determine which laws apply. The second question is whether one or both of the child’s parents were U.S. citizens at the time of the child’s birth. If both parents were citizens, chances are very good that the child is a U.S. citizen even though the child was born abroad.

The issue is more complex if only one parent is a United States citizen. Generally, if only one parent is a United States citizen, whether a child born abroad is a United States citizen depends on, among other things, whether that parent had a sufficient residence or physical presence in the United States prior to the child’s birth. This is a very complex area of law. You should consult an immigration law attorney.

Visas

Whether you’re coming the United States for a vacation, to attend school, for employment purposes or for a variety of other reasons, Tilem & Associates, PC can assist you in obtaining your Employment Visa, Visitor Visa, Family Visa, Marriage Visa, Fiancé Visa, Student and Exchange Visas, and Religious Worker Visas.

Green Card (Permanent Resident Card)

Green cards (permanent resident cards) are issued to lawful permanent residents of the United States. A lawful permanent resident may live and work in the United States. Lawful permanent residents are granted several benefits such as:

  1. the right to permanently live and work in the United States;

  2. the opportunity to apply for citizenship after a certain number of years as a permanent resident/green card holder;

  3. the right to travel outside the country for a certain amount of time without affecting their permanent resident status; and

  4. the right to petition for a green card for their spouse, any of their unmarried children or stepchildren under 21 years old or any of their adopted children under 18 years old.

There are several ways to obtain a green card, including family ties, employment, the Green Card Lottery, adoption, certain investments that benefit the United States economy, and continual residence in the United States since January 1, 1972. It’s important to analyze your particular circumstances to determine which application will be more likely to be approved. Call our White Plains immigration attorneys for a free consultation.

Asylum

Asylum is for those foreign nationals who are in the United States but are unwilling or unable to return to their own country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of religion, race, nationality, or membership in a particular political or social group. For more information about asylum, contact us toll free at (877) 377-8666. Please note that applications for asylum usually must be filed within one year of the applicant’s initial admission to the United States.

Criminal Charges & Deportation

Non-citizens, including lawful permanent residents (green card holders), face deportation if convicted of “aggravated felonies,” controlled substance offenses or crimes of “moral turpitude.” For non-citizens, the collateral consequences of a conviction for certain crimes are far more severe than the actual punishment.

It can mean the uprooting and deportation of one who has lived most of their life in the United States with little or no ties to their original country. If you are a non-citizen who has been charged with a crime, you need to hire an immigration attorney in White Plains who is experienced not only with immigration law, but also with criminal law.

For more information about any immigration issue, contact Tilem & Associates, PC at (877) 377-8666 today! We offer a free initial consultation to get you started.

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