Archives for February 2015

3 Things to Know About Asylum

Asylum can be claimed by an individual arriving in the United States who seeks refuge from their home country and fears for their life if they return home. Asylum isn’t an easy case to file or prove. The petitioner must present evidence to an immigration court of actual persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Here are three basic things to know about asylum if one is considering pursuing this option.

When to apply

Typically asylum can be applied for upon entry to the U.S. and for period of up to one year after arrival in the country. In certain cases involving changes in one’s home country, such as a political revolution or military coup against the government or extremist violence against religious or ethnic groups, individuals may file for asylum even if they have been in the U.S. longer than a year. In addition, one may be allowed to file after a year if extraordinary circumstances such as an illness or medical problem prevented an earlier filing. Even if a person entered the U.S. unlawfully, they may still file for asylum if the conditions are satisfied.

Passports and Visas Atlanta

Complete correct form

It is essential that the correct form be filled out. CIS Form I-589, which requires no filing fee, must be properly and completely filled out by the petitioner or her attorney and timely submitted to the correct government office. It can take up to 180 days for the application to be received and processed by Homeland Security, after which the applicant is scheduled for an interview with an asylum officer or immigration judge depending on the specific situation. An immigration judge will interview an individual who is already in removal proceedings. If one is not in removal proceedings, however, the interview should be granted with an  immigration officer.

What to do if denied

If an application for asylum is denied by the judge or immigration officer, then an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals may be filed within the appeal period. Reapplication may also be permitted if there are changes in one’s circumstances since the time of original filing.

Regardless of the situation, and whether or not this is the first attempt at filing for asylum, it is helpful to have experts on your side. Atlanta immigration attorneys Brownstein & Nguyen have decades of experience helping clients in the metro Atlanta area and nationwide with their immigration needs, including asylum petitions. Contact us today with any questions you might have regarding the process and your rights.

Citizenship and Naturalization for Children

The procedures to apply for US citizenship or naturalization of minor children have changes, after recent Obama administration updates to our immigration laws.  Visitors of the US who have indicated that they are US citizens but are not will be granted immunity from prosecution regarding this.  Another change in our laws affects children of undocumented immigrants, who can now apply for a type of “blue card.”  These newer laws will allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the US and work, but they must pay taxes and contribute to the Social Security system.  Their children can remain within the country, and therefore families will be able to remain together. Chicago Immigration Protest May 1, 2006 Flickr – Photo Sharing!

138556236_e95a080235_zNew Laws About Visas, Green Cards, US Citizenship and Naturalization

Visas are required for those US visitors who wish to remain in the country to live or work.  An application for a visa can be completed online or in a local government immigration office.  The purpose of one’s stay will determine which type of visa application to use.  Allowed reasons for living or working within the US include the following:

  • Family sponsored visas for immediate relatives of US citizens to come live with their family members in the United States.
  • Application for a student visa through the US Department of Homeland Security, if one plans to attend college here.
  • Temporary workers need an employer-sponsored visa.
  • Medical treatment within the US requires a special medical-purpose visa.
  • Tourists from certain countries require a tourist visa application to be completed.  Certain countries that are a part of a visa waiver program.

Naturalization procedures have also changed for children of immigrants and for children born to illegal aliens within the US.  Requirements have been revised allowing minor children an opportunity to apply for certain types of citizenship, including citizenship through a derivation process or acquisition process.

Naturalization for minor children under the age of eighteen can be granted if a parent is a US citizen.  The process of gaining US citizenship at the time of birth through a parent is called acquisition.  Naturalized rules for adults include passing a citizenship test and filing a standard application.

Contact the immigration law offices of Atlanta attorneys Brownstein & Nguyen for any further questions or details regarding the citizenship and naturalization of a minor.

Image via Flickr