US Citizenship and Immigration Service Now Accepts Credit Cards for Naturalization Applications

In reviewing new changes to policies put out by the United States Citizenship and Naturalization Service (USCIS), I came across a story that caught my interest. In the past, many of our clients sought to file an application for naturalization; however, the $680.00 filing fee meant that some had to save the money before submitting the forms. This often led to months delaying the process. One question that constantly came up was – “Can I pay my application fee with a credit card?” Unfortunately, I had to tell the client “no”.

Well, now the answer is “yes”!

As of November 16, 2015, the USCIS stated that if you are applying for U.S. citizenship, you can now use a credit card to pay the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization fee. Most applicants must pay a $680 fee, which includes the $595 naturalization application fee plus a biometrics fee of $85.

To pay with your credit card, you must file a Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transaction. At this time, you can use the Form G-1450 only to pay for the Form N-400 filing fee. Hopefully, the USCIS will start accepting credit cards for fees associated with other forms.

If you are a lawful permanent resident and thinking about becoming a US citizen, please call my office at 616-233-9300 to set up a consultation to talk about the process of naturalization.

Robert Mirque is a Grand Rapids, Michigan lawyer specializing in immigration law. For 23 years, he has been providing creative solutions to the immigration goals of businesses and individuals. I invite you to visit me on Google+ or check out my website at Mirque Law

 

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TPS Extended for Somalia – Grand Rapids Immigration Law Can Help File Extension

The United States Department of Homeland Security has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Somalia (and eligible individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia) for an additional 18 months, effective Sept. 18, 2015, through March 17, 2017.

It is important to note that current TPS Somalia beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period which runs from June 1, 2015, through July 31, 2015. The USCIS is encouraging beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible.

The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible TPS Somalia beneficiaries who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of March, 17, 2017.

If you are Somalia beneficary on TPS, please call the Grand Rapids immigration law firm, Mirque Law PLLC, and speak with attorney Robert F. Mirque, Jr. about extending both your TPS and employment authorization for 18 months. Remember, there is only a 60 day window of opportunity to re-register. Our number is 616-233-9300.

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USCIS Announces Changes to Application for Naturalization

On February 4, 2014, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced changes to the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization (citizenship). The form has doubled in length and is now 21 pages. The increase in length is due, in part, to additional questions related to determinations about good moral character and national security. 


Beginning on May 5, 2014, USCIS will only accept the new (09/13/2013) edition of the Form N-400. It is anticipated that these changes will make it more challenging for applicants and those who help applicants with naturalization. 

For a permanent resident thinking about becoming a citizen – now may be a good time to get started and avoid having to deal with the longer form. If you have any questions about the process of naturalization or need assistance in completing the application, please feel free to call and schedule an appointment by calling the office at 616-233-9300.
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DHS Announces Re-designation and 18-Month Extension of TPS for Syria

The Department of Homeland Security has re-designated Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and has extended the existing TPS designation for the country from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2015. This allows eligible nationals of Syria to register or re-register for TPS in accordance with federal regulations. All eligible individuals are encouraged to register or re-register as soon as possible.

 
If you are a Syrian national and are currently under TPS, you must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from June 17, 2013 through August 16, 2013.
 
If you are a Syrian national and have a pending TPS application, you do not need to file a re-registration application during this extension period. The USCIS will continue to process your application.
 
If you are a Syrian national and do not have TPS, you may apply for TPS during the 180-day registration period that runs from June 17, 2013 through December 16, 2013.
 
A Syrian national, or an individual having no nationality who last habitually resided in Syria, may be eligible for TPS under the re-designation if he or she has continuously resided in the United States since June 17, 2013 and has been continuously physically present in the United States since October 1, 2013. In addition to the continuous residence requirement, all applicants must meet the other TPS eligibility and filing requirements.
 
If you have questions about Temporary Protected Status and your eligibility or your registration, do not hesitate to contact Mirque Law for answers. Our office can be reached at 616-233-9300.
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USCIS HIRES ADDITIONAL WORKERS TO SPEED UP PROCESSING TIMES

In an effort to tackle an increasing backlog in citizenship applications, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently began a dramatic hiring increase of USCIS personnel. Data indicate that these measures have already significantly alleviated the backlog of citizenship applications that have overwhelmed the agency. In 2007, it was estimated that the USCIS, which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, took an average of 18 months to process applications. Current processing times, however, are much lower with an average time of nine to 10 months. Within the past 2 years, the USCIS hired over 2,000 new employees, and designated over half to evaluate and process citizenship applications. The USCIS completed an estimated 1.1 million citizenship applications in 2008, over 400,000 more applications than last year. While this marks a considerable improvement, immigration experts remark that the USCIS still has many improvements to make such as continuing to reduce the amount of time citizenship applications remain pending. Reportedly, over 100,000 applications have been pending for over two years.

If you have questions about an immigration matter, call the Law Office of Robert F. Mirque, Jr. at 616-233-9300.

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