There were more applications for U.S. naturalization filed in 2016 than in any other year of the past decade, but 2017 is on pace to surpass last year’s application count. Without question, the Trump Administration’s rigorous crackdowns on both legal and illegal immigration are contributing to this surge.
According to the National Partnership for New Americans, this year marked the first time in 20 years that naturalization applications increased after a presidential election. If current trends continue, U.S. immigration policies will only become stricter, which will further contribute to the increase in naturalization applications.
In most cases, a person must hold a green card, or be a lawful permanent resident, for five years in order to qualify for naturalization. But as I explained in a previous blog, there are several exceptions to this rule.
If you are interested in becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, contact my office to discuss your situation. I will evaluate your case, explain the eligibility requirements, and help you pursue your immigration goals. Call 973-453-2009 today to schedule a free consultation with a New Jersey immigration lawyer from the Law Office of Eric M. Mark.
U.S. Naturalization Applications on Pace to Surpass 1 Million in F.Y. 2017
According to The New York Times, more than 780,000 naturalization applications were filed in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2017—a notable jump from 725,925 in f.y. 2016. This has caused a significant increase in the average wait time, which has doubled from four months just a few years ago to the current wait time of 8.6 months.
Naturalization Protects Immigrants from Deportation
Although green card holders are allowed to live and work in the United States, they are not afforded the same protections from deportation as U.S. citizens. Lawful permanent residency can be revoked, and green card holders can face deportation if they are convicted of drug trafficking, an aggravated felony, or a crime of “moral turpitude.”
Immigrants who become naturalized citizens, however, will not be deported if they commit a crime. They also have access to federal jobs and benefits that are not available to green card holders.
Exceptions to the Five-Year Residence Requirement to Become a U.S. Citizen
As previously mentioned, there are several exceptions to the rule that a green card holder must reside in the United States for five years before becoming eligible for U.S. citizenship. These exceptions include marrying a U.S. citizen or completing three or more years of service in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
If you would like to apply for naturalization, contact my office to discuss your situation. I am a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and I stay up to date on all changes to U.S. immigration laws. Call 973-453-2009 today to discuss your case with a green card attorney in New Jersey.
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