Tag: US immigration

CONSEQUENCES OF FAILING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE OR CIVICS TEST DURING THE NATURALIZATION INTERVIEW

CONSEQUENCES OF FAILING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE OR CIVICS TEST DURING THE NATURALIZATION INTERVIEW

Becoming a U.S. citizen is a significant milestone for many immigrants, marking the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. However, the path to citizenship includes passing a U.S. citizenship test, which includes an English language and civics component. Understanding what happens if you do not pass this test is crucial for anyone on the journey towards naturalization.

Understanding the Test Format and Preparation Strategies

Before diving into the specifics of what happens if you fail the English language or civics test during the naturalization interview, it’s essential to understand the test format and how to prepare effectively. The civics test consists of up to 10 questions randomly selected from a pool of 100, covering topics such as U.S. history, government, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. To pass the civics portion, applicants must answer at least six questions correctly. While the English language test evaluates an applicant’s ability to speak, read, and write in English, including basic comprehension and communication skills.

Given the significance of these tests, thorough preparation is key to success. Fortunately, USCIS provides study materials, including a list of potential civics questions and answers, as well as resources for English language proficiency. Additionally, applicants can access online courses, study guides, and practice tests to familiarize themselves with the format and content of the exams. Engaging in regular study sessions, reviewing flashcards, and practicing speaking and writing in English can help build confidence and proficiency in preparation for the naturalization interview.

Navigating Exemptions and Accommodations

While many applicants must complete both the English language and civics tests as part of the naturalization process, certain individuals may be eligible for exemptions or accommodations based on age, residency status, or medical disabilities. For example, individuals aged 65 or older who have been lawful permanent residents (LPRs) of the U.S. for at least 20 years are exempt from the English language requirement and may take the civics test in their native language. Similarly, applicants with qualifying medical disabilities may be excused from both tests and granted accommodations, such as the use of an interpreter or modified testing conditions.

Understanding and asserting eligibility for exemptions or accommodations can significantly impact an applicant’s naturalization journey. It’s essential to consult with an experienced immigration attorney or accredited representative to explore available options and navigate the application process effectively.

Exploring Consequences of Test Failure

Despite thorough preparation, some applicants may encounter challenges during the naturalization interview, including difficulty passing the English language or civics test. In such cases, understanding the consequences of test failure and the steps to address it is crucial for maintaining progress towards citizenship.

If an applicant fails either the English language or civics test on their initial attempt, they are granted a second opportunity to retake the failed portion. However, failing the test on a second try may necessitate additional steps, such as requesting a hearing with USCIS to challenge the denial of their naturalization application. During the hearing, applicants have the opportunity to provide further evidence of their language skills or civics knowledge and demonstrate their eligibility for citizenship.

Navigating the naturalization process, including the English language and civics tests, can be complex and challenging. Seeking legal guidance and support from knowledgeable immigration professionals can provide invaluable assistance throughout the journey. An experienced immigration attorney or accredited representative can offer personalized advice, review eligibility criteria, and provide strategic guidance to help applicants prepare for the naturalization interview and address any obstacles that may arise.

From understanding exemptions and accommodations to navigating test preparation strategies and exploring options after test failure, legal professionals play a vital role in empowering applicants to achieve their citizenship goals. By leveraging their expertise and advocacy, aspiring citizens can navigate the naturalization process with confidence and clarity, ultimately realizing their dream of U.S. citizenship.

NAVIGATING ELIGIBLE EMPLOYMENT FOR H-2B VISAS: INDUSTRIES, REQUIREMENTS, AND APPLICATION PROCESS

NAVIGATING ELIGIBLE EMPLOYMENT FOR H-2B VISAS: INDUSTRIES, REQUIREMENTS, AND APPLICATION PROCESS

The H-2B visa program stands as a pivotal avenue for non-agricultural workers to temporarily fulfill employment needs in the United States, spanning a diverse array of industries. From the bustling hospitality sector to the dynamic construction industry, the H-2B visa caters to employers facing seasonal, one-time, intermittent, or peak load demands.

Employers seeking to utilize the H-2B visa program must adhere to stringent eligibility criteria. They must substantiate a dearth of qualified U.S. workers for the job, ensure that hiring foreign nationals won’t adversely affect domestic employees, possess a U.S.-based business with a valid Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), and demonstrate the temporary nature of the employment need. Conversely, prospective H-2B visa holders must secure employment offers from U.S. employers, exhibit an intent to return home post-visa expiration, possess the requisite skills for the job, and hail from eligible countries. Fulfilling these prerequisites aligns both employer and employee with the overarching objectives of the visa program.

The application journey for H-2B visas entails a multifaceted process, with primary responsibility resting on the employer. This encompasses filing ETA Form 9142B for temporary labor certification with the Department of Labor, submitting Form I-129 to the USCIS following certification, and adhering to prevailing wage determination guidelines. 

Your employer will have to file Form I-129 for you after ETA 9142B has been approved. Where your employer will file Form I-129 depends on the service center nearest to your employer’s primary address, which could be the Vermont, Nebraska, Texas, or California Service Center. If your employer needs you urgently, they must also file Form I-907, Application for Premium Processing, when filing Form I-129. 

The application must be submitted within 45 to 180 days before your employer needs you. Each employee requires a separate application, and they are not transferable. For example, if your employer intends to hire five foreign workers, they must petition USCIS individually for each employee. 

To file Form I-129, your employer must include evidence of having paid the filing fee along with specific documents, including the H Classification Supplement to Form I-129, proof that you meet the minimum job requirements, and proof of your need in the U.S if you are not from an eligible country. 

Once Form I-129 is approved, USCIS will issue your employer Form I-797, which outlines the timeframe for your employment. Your employer must adhere strictly to these dates; failure to do so may result in future applications being denied.

As industries require temporary workers at different times, the H-2B visa program is crucial for filling these gaps. It helps industries like hospitality and construction find workers for seasonal or intermittent jobs. By using the advice given here, both employers and people applying for the visa can better understand how to take part in this important part of the U.S. job market.

Have you worked in the US without permission?

Worked in the US without permission? Understand the implications and the importance of disclosure in immigration applications in this article.This won’t be a problem for a spouse of a US citizen UNLESS the person worked without permission and then did NOT disclose that fact when asked about it on an online immigration application, paper submitted application, or in person with an immigration official. A common situation is for a student on an F-visa to babysit while he is in school, and then not disclose that when asked about it on an online immigration application, paper submitted application, or in person with an immigration official. If you’re asked by a US immigration official about unauthorized work and you lie, you may turn a non-problem (the work) into a big problem (lying, fraud, misrepresentation).

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of people traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call (617-766-0214) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

 

Will my criminal history make me ineligible for immigration benefits?

Having a criminal record can affect your ability to receive immigration benefits, whether you’re seeking a temporary visa, green card, or an adjustment of status. But under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) convictions for certain crimes, or admissions to committing certain crimes, will automatically make you “inadmissible” to the United States. If you’ve been convicted of or admitted to any of these crimes, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will deny your immigration case, unless you will not succeed in your immigration case, unless USCIS grants you a waiver of admissibility. 

The Immigration and Nationality Act

Section 212 (A) of the Immigration Nationality Act sets forth the crimes that are grounds for inadmissibility, or in other words, ineligibility for a temporary or permanent visa to the US. Among other things, you will become inadmissible if you’re convicted of or admitted to having committed: 

  1. A crime of moral turpitude (e.g., murder, rape, child abuse, aggravated assault, theft, perjury, fraud, and many other crimes)
  2. A violation of any controlled substance law (drugs), whether in the U.S. or abroad.
  3. Multiple criminal convictions for which the total prison sentences were five years or more. 
  4. Illicit trafficking in any controlled substance (drugs). 
  5. Benefiting, financially or otherwise, from illicit drug trafficking, by a spouse, son, or daughter of the trafficker within the previous five years. 
  6. Prostitution and commercialized vice, including procuring prostitutes or receiving proceeds from prostitution. 
  7. Human trafficking or benefitting from human trafficking, whether inside or outside the United States.
  8. Money laundering.

This list provided here is not exhaustive, and each crime may have particular nuances or exceptions. Also, every criminal jurisdiction will define and use words for crimes in different ways. One important job of an immigration attorney is to “translate” your state or foreign conviction into the language of the INA in order to determine where it falls on the INA’s list of problematic crimes. 

Waiver for Inadmissible Crimes

In some cases, you may be able to gain entry into the United States despite your criminal history if the USCIS grants you a “forgiveness” waiver. Section 212(i) 212(h) of the INA describes the waivers for criminal history for someone applying for a visa or a green card. There are also special waivers available in Immigration Court, for example, under INA 237(a)(1)(H) for fraud/misrepresentations that do not result in criminal convictions and 240A for individuals who have been in the US at least 7 years (if a green card holder) or 10 years (if not a green card holder). Also, there is a general waiver under INA 212(d) for applicants for nonimmigrant (aka temporary) visas.

What to do if you have a criminal history

If you have a criminal history and you’re applying for immigration benefits in the United States, it’s crucial to seek the help of an experienced immigration lawyer. I’ve helped clients around the world with a range of complicated immigration issues, and I’d like to help you too.

Naturalization Ceremonies at National Parks

On August 25, 2016, the National Parks Service partnered with the USCIS to celebrate their 100th anniversary with a series of naturalization ceremonies in national parks throughout the country.
To view a complete list of naturalization ceremonies held in national parks on August 25, please visit USCIS website.

Free Guides and Resources!

Marriage-Based Green Card Guides

We work hard to make your immigration case easy for you. Use these easy guides to help you organize your documents.

You should consult with an attorney to figure out if you are eligible for a green card before you submit any applications or documents to the U.S. government.