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Sunday, July 14, 2024 - 8:41 am

The New Fiance Visa Process

The new fiancé visa process replaced the old in October of 2013 when the DS-230, DS-156 and DS-156K were replaced by the DS-160.  The DS- 230, DS-156 and DS-156K were all filed by mail.  But the DS-160 is now required to be filed online once the petition to classify the alien fiancé is approved.  The Form I-129F, on which the classification is filed and most of the other visa requirements of the old fiancé visa process, remains the same.Fiance visa 5

Fiance visa allows for dual intent

The fiancé visa, also known as the K visa, permits a foreign citizen fiancé to travel to the United States to marry her US citizen spouse within 90 days of his entry into the country.  The visa petitioner must be a United States citizen.  A Green Card or non-immigrant visa holder cannot petition for his foreign citizen fiance under this visa program.

After marrying, the foreign fiancé can then choose to file for a Green Card if she and her husband want to permanently reside in the United States.  There are cases in which the foreign fiancé and her US citizen spouse marry in the United States, but choose to permanently reside in a foreign country, and may not need to file for a Green Card to reside in the country.Fiance visa 1

A Wedding is a Beautiful Thing

To start the visa process, the United States citizen files the Form I-129F with the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) to classify his alien relative fiancé.  The CIS will review the petition for evidence of contact and courtship between the parties, and if they exist, will approve the petition.  It will inform the Petitioner about the approval, and then forward the application to the National Visa Center (NVC) for visa processing.fiance visa 2

A Child of the Beneficiary can get the Visa as well

The NVC will advise the Petitioner that it will do the visa processing, and also about the next steps the Petitioner needs to take to complete the process.  In general, the beneficiary needs to pay the visa filing fee, prepare the supporting documentation for the visa interview and schedule the visa interview.  The supporting documents beneficiary needs to prepare and take to the visa interview are identity, nationality, status as a person, fitness for marriage, and health and criminal background fitness documents.  The Petitioner, on the other hand, needs to prepare documents that show that he can take care of his fiancé, and documents to prove his fitness and prepardness for the pending marriage and continuing courtship with the alien fiancé.

Fiance visa 3The next important phase of the process is the visa interview.  It is scheduled, in general, by the beneficiary or by the Petitioner for the beneficiary at the United States consulate of the beneficiary’s residence.  If the foreign fiancé is successful in the interview, the United States consul will grant her the visa.

Children of fiancés can accompany their parents as derivative beneficiaries.  They do not have to file a separate Form I-129F at the beginning of the process.  The Petitioner can just list them on his Form I-129F.  But upon the approval of the petition, they are required to file separate visa petitions with the NVC and the United States consulate.Fiance visa 4

Fiance Visas bridge Relationship Gaps

There are cases where the beneficiary moves to another country before or after the filed fiancé visa petition is approved.  In such a case, the Petitioner can request for transfer of the petition to the consular venue of beneficiary’s new residence for continued processing of the visa.

In general, the fiancé visa process takes about six to nine months from the petition filing date.  This time can, however, be longer if there are filing mistakes that need to be corrected or the various processing agencies make additional requests to which the parties do not quickly attend.

The writer of this blog is an attorney at Swaray Law Office in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.  Brooklyn Center is in the neighborhood of the cities of Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, Crystal, New Brighton and Blaine in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.  Should the reader need additional information on fiancé visas, contact Swaray Law Office at or 763-549-0670

Obama Deferred Action Plan (DAP) Saves five Million Undocumented Immigrants from Deportation

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced, under his executive action powers as president of the United States, that he has decided to extend immigration deportation relief to some undocumented immigrants currently present in the United States.  He made the announcement admist strong opposition to granting immigration relief without the participation of Congress and instilling of fears in the American public that he was appropriating powers that he does not have under the Constitution. The final November 20, 2014 executive order, however, was cautiously crafted, and contains no power misappropration.


The announcement of the deferred action affecting immigrants was far reaching, but a law by executive action of this type did not start with Obama.  Many past United States presidents have used the executive order privilege, for the most part, when faced with emergencies and law-making deadlocks.DAP 1

Obama’s November 20, 2014 DAP saves about five million immigrants from deportation, and provides the following relief:

A.  It Expands the benefits of the 2012 deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA)

The DACA relief lifespan is extended from two to three years; the continuous residence requirement is now changed from June 15, 2007 to November 1, 2010; the 30 year age cap is now removed; and the immigrant should have been physically present in the United States on the November 20, 2014 effective date.


B.  Undocumented parents of United States Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents cannot be deported for three years.

To be eligible, the immigrant should have continuously resided in the United States for a five year period; present in the country on November 20, 2014; and the United States Citizen or Permanent Resident child should have been born on or before November 20, 2014.  The parents’ backgrounds should be free of the types of crimes for which the Obama administration could deport immigrants.  The eligible immigrant can get work permit and cannot be deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for three years.  The relief is subject to renewal.

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C.  It increases the number of immigrants investor visas by about 33,000 to 53,000 per year

DACA Immigrant Investor visa

D.  It reforms the Secure Communities program

This program allows for the taking and transmitting of the fingerprint of anyone booked into a local jail to immigration officers who can then order the local jail to hold the person until the immigration officers can pick them up for removal purposes.


The new DAP now limits the hold only to immigrants convicted of a serious crime or with a third misdemeanor.

E.  It expands the unlawful presence provisional waiver benefit to Lawful Permanent Residents.

The law was enacted in March of 2013, and permits unlawful presence violators to file for a waiver of unlawful presence violation in the United Staes and remain in the country until their waiver applications are approved before they can leave the country to attend their visa interviews in an overseas US embassy.  Before the provisional waiver law, they had to apply outside the country, and before November 20, 2014, the benefit was limited only to spouses of United States Citizens.


F.  It expands the optional practical training based work permit lifespan for foreign students in the STEM fields of study from seventeen months to two and half years

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STEM comprises of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields of study.

What the DAP does not Provide

It is not a pathway to United States citizenship.  If, for example, it is not renewed at the end of the three yeas, the immigrant beneficiaries could be subject to removal, just as they were before the relief was granted to them.

When does the Law Come into Effect

The law new expansions to the DACA relief will take effect in about ninety days, and the three year relief from deportation of parents of United States Citizens and Permanent Residents will take effect in 180 days from the November 20, 2014 enactment date.

This blog is by an attorney at Swaray Law Office, LTD., in Brooklyn Center in Minnesota.  Brooklyn Center is contiguous to Minneapolis, Crystal and Brooklyn Park and other northern cities.  It is not a legal advice, and should you want legal advice on the Obama November 20, 2014 Deferred Action Plan (DAP), please contact the office via email at or (763) 549-0670.

USCIS Grants TPS to Ebola Striken Countries

Due to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has announced his decision to designate Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.  As a result, eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone who are currently residing in the United States may apply for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Federal Register notices provide details and procedures for applying for TPS and are available at

The TPS designations for the three countries are effective Nov. 21, 2014 and will be in effect for 18 months. The designations mean that eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in one of those three countries) will not be removed from the United States and are authorized to work and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The 180-day TPS registration period begins Nov. 21, 2014 and runs through May 20, 2015.

To be eligible for TPS, applicants must demonstrate that they satisfy all eligibility criteria, including that they have been “continuously residing” in the United States since Nov. 20, 2014 and “continuously physically present in” the United States since Nov. 21, 2014.  Applicants also undergo thorough security checks.  Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS. The eligibility requirements are fully described in the Federal Register notices and on the TPS Web page at

Liberians currently covered under the two-year extension of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) based on President Obama’s Sept. 26, 2014 memorandum may apply for TPS. If they do not apply for TPS within the initial 180-day registration period, they risk being ineligible for TPS because they will have missed the initial registration period. Liberians covered by DED who already possess or have applied for an EAD do not need to also apply for one related to this TPS designation. However, such individuals who are granted TPS may request a TPS-related EAD at a later date as long as the TPS designation for Liberia remains in effect.

Applicants may request that USCIS waive any or all fees based on demonstrated inability to pay by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a written request. Fee-waiver requests must be accompanied by supporting documentation. USCIS will reject any TPS application that does not include the required filing fee or a properly documented fee-waiver request.

All USCIS forms are free. Applicants can download these forms from the USCIS website at or request them by calling USCIS toll-free at 1-800-870-3676.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sending to
20 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20529 · 1-800-375-5283

Making your Adopted Child into a Permanent Resident in the United States

A permanent resident or a United States citizen can bring a child from a foreign country that he or she has adopted to the United States under a permanent resident status.  The adopted child must be a “child” as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  Under the INA, a child is generally a person that is not married and under the age of 21.  In the adoption context, in particular, he or she should be generally under 16 years old and unmarried.

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Adoption itself is the voluntary act of taking a child of another as one’s own through a prescribed legal process.

There are two general types of immigration related adoption in the United States.  They are what I call “regular” and orphan adoption.  “Regular” adoption is where a child is adopted before he or she is 16 and has been in the legal custody of and resided with one or both adoptive parents for at least two years.  Orphan adoption is where a United States citizen adopts a child whose parents have abandoned or separated from him or have died.  The adoption must be completed before the child is 16.

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This blog will focus on the orphan adoption type.  I will address the “regular” adoption type in a different blog.  The orphan can be adopted in the foreign country, or inthe United States, if he is already in the United States under another visa type.  If the adoption is done outside the United States, it should be under the laws of the foreign country in which the child resides. Whether the adoption is done in the United States or a foreign country, the process generally involves the filing of a petition supported by relevant evidence with an authorized institution or agency in which the adoptive parent requests a transfer of ownership of the child from the present parent to him or her.

In foreign countries, the adoption process varies from one country to another.  In some, the process is administrative, while it is purely judicial in others.  Whether it is administrative or judicial, it is very important that the adoption be carried out under a process for a smooth, fair, non-arbitrary and decisive ownership transfer of the child.

At the completion of the process, the authorized agency or institution grants the adoptive parent an adoption decree.

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Once the process is completed, the immigration of the child as a permanent resident in the United States can start.  But sometimes the immigration may precede the adoption process if the adoptive parent decides to first embark on an advanced immigration process, without a particular adoptive child or country of adoption in mind.  Under this procedure,  he eventually finds and brings the child to the United States, and adopts and applies for residency status for him.

Whether the orphan is adopted in or outside the United States, the adoptive parent can get permanent residency status for him by filing, together with supporting evidence, a Form I-600 application with the CIS.  The CIS will them assess the application based on the relevant law and grant him permanent residency status.

An Adoption practitioner should be conversant with laws that govern adoption, such as the Hague convention, the Universal Accreditation Act (UAA) and specific adoption laws of his country to effectively do adoption work.  These laws constantly change to improve the adption process. Just recently, in July of 2014, the UAA, for example, ruled that prospective adoptive parents pursuing intercountry adoptions, regardless of the child’s country of origin, must now generally work with an accredited or approved adoption service provider.  The exceptions to the rule are if, among others, the agency or person is providing only legal services to the prospective adoptive parent or child.

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This blog is written by an attorney with Swaray Law Office, located in Brooklyn Center in Minnesota in the United States.  Brooklyn Center is close to other northern Twin Cities suburbs, such as Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Robbinsdale and Plymouth.  The blog should not be taken as legal advice.  Those who need legal advice are encouraged to contact the law office at or 763-549-0670.

A Valid Wiretap Must Conform With the Law

Wiretapping is the act of listening in on another person’s electronic communication whether by phones, computers and other devices.  In the United States, governments have used it as a law enforcement and espionage tool.  The listening is usually covert, and unknown to the target, and with the purpose of getting information on his criminal, security threat and other suspicious activities.  The use is justified if It is within the limits provided by law, and part of the Government’s effort to protect and maintain the safety and security of its subjects from harm and danger from the suspects.


There are many provisions of the United States Constitution that authorize wiretaps.  The most obvious is the Fourth Amendment, which permits reasonable searches and seizures that are supported by warrants, probable cause or reasonable suspicion.  There are other laws — extensions of the Fourth Amendment and other provisions of the Constitution —  that also specifically support wiretapping.  The most notable is 18 U.S.C Section 2518.  This law lays out the procedure and scope for intercepting wire, oral or electronic communication. To wiretap a person’s phone or other device, the government agency must apply to a court for an order, and the application, in order to be granted, must show that the wiretap is necessary.  To be necessary, the application must contain a full and complete statement that the agency has tried normal, traditional investigative procedures that have failed before its decision to wiretap.  The agency could also just show that the traditional procedures are dangerous and unlikely to succeed if tried.  Examples of normal, traditional investigative procedures are standard visual or oral surveillance techniques, questioning and interrogating immunity protected suspects for information on others, the use of regular search warrants to gather necessary evidence, or use of undercover police or informants to infiltrate conspiracy groups, or use of pen registers and trap and track devices to collect information. Deficiencies, such as material misstatements and omission of relevant information from the application, and use of general boilerplate language common to a particular warrant application, just to justify that a surveillance is necessary could convince a judge to deny an application.

An order for the interception of a criminal suspect’s communication must also contain a minimization requirement to conform with Section 2518.  Minimization defines the scope of the surveillance interception order.  Under Section 2518, the interception cannot go beyond the period necessary to achieve the investigation goal, and in most cases, must not be longer than thirty days, which may be extended if requested in an application that conforms with the procedure for obtaining the original warrant order. If the application and the order do not conform with the Constitution and other relevant laws, any evidence obtained from the subsequent wiretap, could be suppressed.  Under Section 2518, in particular, the suppression proceeding is initiated by the affected person via a motion, which will be heard before the main trial of the criminal suspect.

This blog is written by Amadu Edward Swaray, an attorney at Swaray Law Office in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.  It is not intended to be a legal advice to the reader.  Should the reader need legal advice on electronic surveillance, he or she should please contact Swaray Law Office at 763-549-0670 or email us at

China EB-5 “Unavailable” for Remainder of FY2014 – What Does This Mean?

All information on this story taken from

by Bernard Wolfsdorf

On Saturday, August 23, 2014, Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Department of State Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division, announced that, effective immediately, the EB-5 preference category had become “unavailable” for Chinese applicants.  This announcement was made at the sold-out AILA EB-5 Conference in Chicago during the “China Issues Panel”. The conference recordings will be available on AILA Agora shortly.

This Practice Alert provides further information and discusses some of the practical implications of this recent announcement.

  • It is important to note that a China EB-5 cut-off date has not been established. Moreover, the Visa Bulletin for September 2015 (which states that China EB-5 is still “Current”) has not been amended. Therefore, this is not a visa retrogression.
  • “Unavailable” simply means that for the first time since the EB-5 program was created almost 25 years ago, the full quota will be used and the maximum number of EB-5 immigrant visas which could be made available for Chinese applicants had been reached, while still leaving sufficient numbers available for use by all other countries to ensure compliance within the annual Fiscal Year 2014 allocation.
  • A new allocation of about 10,000 visas will be available on October 1, 2014, the beginning of the Fiscal Year 2015, so there will be virtually no impact on most China EB-5 Category visa applicants who complete processing within the next 6-8 months.
  • EB-5 visa interviews will proceed as scheduled at the consulates in August and September 2014 since visas have already been allocated for these scheduled interviews and visa issuance will proceed in August and September for qualified applicants. (Technically, an exception is applicants with August or September “comeback” interviews (i.e., after failing to prove themselves documentarily qualified at an earlier interview). If approvable, they will have to wait until at least October 1 to obtain a visa.)
  • Immigrant visas will continue to be valid for 6 months from the date of issuance, and applicants should be sure to enter the US before the expiration date of the issued immigrant visas, as requests for issuance of replacement visas to accommodate travel to the U.S. outside of that 6-month period may not be possible.
  • USCIS does not request immigrant visa numbers from State for I-485 adjustment of status applications until the time of adjudication.  If visa numbers are unavailable at the time of review USCIS will hold the application in abeyance pending availability of visa numbers.
  • EB-5 adjustment of status processing by USCIS will proceed; however, issuance of immigrant visas to China EB-5 category applicants will be authorized effective October 1, 2014, when the new Fiscal Year 2015 allocation is available.
  • Applicants chargeable to China who are cross-chargeable to another “Foreign State” (e.g., Hong Kong, Macau, Canada, France, etc.) based on marriage or other claim[1] may request alternate chargeability for August or September visa issuance, but this is not assured as the annual allocation for all Foreign States is almost depleted.
  • Since the Visa Bulletin has not been amended (i.e., visa numbers are still listed as “available”), eligible China EB-5 category applicants may continue to file for adjustment of status in August and September 2014.
  • Since other employment and family visa numbers already have wait lines, why is this announcement significant? The reason is this is the first time the EB-5 category has reached the annual limit and the State Department appears to be providing a warning that the China EB-5 category will become oversubscribed and require the establishment of a cut-off date, possibly as early as May 2015, near the end of the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2015.
  • The announcement is important because it is clear evidence that the increasing EB-5 demand of 700% since 2007, mentioned by new USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez, will certainly result in the establishment of a China cut-off date in Fiscal Year 2015.
  • It is impossible to determine what the “date gap” will be when it is announced, most likely in May 2015. There are estimates the wait line will be approximately 2 years. Since most I-526 petitions are presently taking 15-16 months (Requests for Evidence are commonplace), the additional wait of about 6 months does not appear unduly worrisome, yet. The concern is that once a China EB-5 cut-off date is established, the Department of State may have to retrogress that cut-off date, depending on the number of petitions approved, and, the cut-off date may not move forward every month. With over 10,000 petitions currently pending with USCIS and about 3,000 filed in the last quarter ending June 30, 2014, this wait line is likely to increase.
  • Consequences may include possible age-out of derivatives, and complex issues regarding the timing of the job creation, the requirement for which is currently set artificially at 30 months from approval of the I-526 petition (at the I-526 stage), and 36 months from the time of acquisition of conditional permanent residence (at the I-829 stage).  There may be necessary material changes in business plans as a result of delays in issuance of immigrant visas to EB-5 applicants chargeable to China.
  • In summary, there is no significant concern for Chinese applicants who are already far enough along in the pipeline this year, but this State Department announcement, along with Mr. Oppenheim’s spoken comments at AILA’s EB-5 Conference in Chicago, appears to be an indication that once established, the cut-off date for the Fiscal Year 2015 may significantly impact EB-5 immigrant applicants chargeable to China from that point forward.


At the AILA EB-5 Conference in Chicago and in subsequent informal discussions, Mr. Oppenheim also noted that many references he encounters regarding the visa allocation system use incorrect technical terminology, so he provided the following guidance and examples regarding the difference between “oversubscription” and “retrogression,” not only with respect to EB-5, but also with respect to other categories as well:

Oversubscribed/Oversubscription:  The category had been “Current”, but the level of demand will require the establishment of an initial cut-off date.  This could be on a Worldwide, individual Country/Preference basis.

Retrogress/Retrogression:  There is currently an established cut-off date, but the level of demand will require the next month’s cut-off date to be even earlier than the current one.

Hypothetical Examples:

Oversubscribed/oversubscription:  A particular immigrant visa category was previously  “Current”, but at some point during Fiscal Year 2015 the level of demand will require the establishment of a cut-off date for month X, in an effort to hold number use within the allowable limit which can be made available.

Retrogress/Retrogression:  The current month’s Visa Bulletin shows a cut-off date of January 1, 2012, but  the level of demand within that date will exceed the number of visa slots available for use during the next month, requiring the establishment of a July 1, 2011 cut-off date for the next month.

This post originally appeared on Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group . Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Tahmina Watson Bernard Wolfsdorf is a recent past President of AILA and Managing Partner of the top-rated Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP with offices in Los Angeles and New York. With 21 lawyers and 60 professionals, the firm is known worldwide for its excellence in providing value and top-quality global immigration representation. Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP has been described by Chambers USA as “a force to be reckoned with.”

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.


Paternity: Forced to be a Father?

Do you know that you can be legally forced to continue to be the biological father of a child in Minnesota if the child was born while you were married to the mother but the mother slept with another man to give birth to the child? This has happened to many men in Minnesota. The State, the mother and the courts force them to be fathers of the children if they did not de-establish their paternity before the children were three years old.

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They also force the men to provide support for the child till he or she is old enough to be self-supporting.

The law that forces biological fatherhood upon them was built upon the proposition that societies must have families in which children have fathers that they look up to as parents and for support. This must be the case even though the fatherhood is not biological and was born of marital foul play. It must also be the case though the assumed father later finds that another man is the father of the child.

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The law fails to protect men that are victims of the marital infidelity, and compels them to support the by-product of the infidelity even if they don’t want to.

I believe that children must be emotionally and financially supported, and the government and society must do everything possible to ensure that the support is provided. So, I think it was in the best interest of children for the state legislature to have enacted a law to ensure that they are supported by men who by being married to their mothers, are presumed to be their fathers.

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But this effort went too far when it placed the support responsibility on the backs of men that did not give birth to the children. It also went too far by placing a limitation on when the men can de-establish their paternity of the children.

To avoid victimization, a man, in this situation, must make sure, through a paternity test, that he is the biological father of the child before the child is three years old, whenever he has reason to doubt whether or not he is the father. The Minnesota state legislature must also change the law so that the victimized fathers can bring actions to de-establish paternity at anytime.

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If you do not believe that you are the father of a child born while you are in a marital relationship, and failed to find out that you are not the father before the child is three, contact an attorney at Swaray Law Office (763-549-0670) or email us at for competent legal representation. We can help you out of the victimization!!!  We are situated in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

American Citizenship: The Golden Gate to a Rich North American Lifestyle

There are two general ways that a person can become an American citizen.  One of them is by birth in mainland United States or its territorial possessions or to a United States citizen that is living in a foreign country.  The United States citizen living in a foreign country should have resided in the United States for at least a year before moving to the foreign country.  After December 12, 1952, a person can also be a US citizen if he is under five years old, and nobody knows about her parents and background.  If it is, however, found that she was born outside the United States before she is 21 years old, her citizenship right may be revoked.

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A person born abroad does not need to undergo a naturalization process to acquire her citizenship right.  She automatically acquires the right at birth as if she was born in the United States.  To be able to prove that she is a United States citizen, however, she may want to apply for and acquire a United States passport or certificate of citizenship.

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Children adopted by United States citizens also acquire the citizenship automatically, and do not need to apply for the right.  To prove that they are United States citizens, they also need to apply for a certificate of citizenship or United States passport.  To qualify for the automatic citizenship, one of the adoptive parents must be a United States citizen, and the adopted child should be under 18 years old, fully adopted and admitted to the United States as a permanent resident and resident in the country in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent.

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Unlike adopted and biological children, step children do not qualify for automatic United States citizenship.

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A person can also be a United States citizen by naturalization.  Over the years, many people have become citizens though the process.  In 2013 alone, a total of 779,929 persons became United States by naturalization.  The new citizens were predominantly from  Mexico (12.9%); India (6.4%); Philippines (5.6%); Dominican Republic (5.1%); and China (3.9%).  Naturalization, when defined, is a process of becoming a citizen of a country, not by been born there, but  by meeting requirements as prescribed by the laws of the country.  In the United States, one can be a naturalized citizen if the person proves that she is at least 18 years old; has been a permanent resident in the country for at least three or five years; has good moral character; is physically present in the country and not absent for more than one year in all the years in which he could be a US citizen; and has passed the history, civics and English exam.

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In the naturalization process, the good moral character requirement cannot be waived.  But if the person has honorably served as a military officer in some military hostilities in which the United States was involved, the permanent resident requirement may be waived, and the person accorded automatic citizenship.  The English, civics and history exam may also be waived if the person shows that she is so disabled that she cannot take the exam.  Additionally, a person may be exempt from taking the exams if she proves that she is more than fifty years old, and has been a permanent resident in the United States for over twenty years, or she is fifty-five years old, and has been a permanent resident for at least fifteen years.


This article is written by an immigration attorney at Swaray Law Office situated in Brooklyn Center in Minnesota in the United States.  It is a summary of the American citizenship process.  It is not meant to be a legal advice to the reader.  If you want to know more about the American citizenship process, please kindly contact an immigration attorney at Swaray Law Office either via email at or by phone at 763-549-0670.

Successful Cases

$100,000 Collective Settlement from Personal Injury Cases

Mr. Amadu Edward Swaray has collectively settled several personal injury cases worth over $100,000. Some of the cases he has settled include car accidents where clients have incurred severe injuries costing them time away from work, physical and mental anguish, slip and fall accidents at places of employment, supermarkets and residential properties. Mr. Swaray fights diligently for his clients to ensure that they are fully compensated for their misfortune.


Major Victories with Challenging Citizenship Cases

Mr. Swaray has assisted several clients in attaining United States citizenship. However, some of the cases are tougher than the others. For example, we provided legal services to a client over 70 years old who had applied for citizenship. Mr. Swaray used the disability exception under citizenship immigration law to build a strong case for her and the client’s application was approved and she became a U.S. citizen.

Another notable case was one where the client was in removal proceedings after he initiated a citizenship application. He had a pending unscheduled court date but through effective and efficient defense, Mr. Swaray not only managed to have the removal proceedings dismissed, but also got approval for the client’s citizenship application.

A critical case where Mr. Swaray was also triumphant was where he convinced the Citizenship and Immigration Services to approve a citizenship application for a client who hails from a sensitive area of the world that is usually suspected by the United States for terroristic activities.

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Successful Permanent Residence Applications

Throughout his 14 years of experience, Mr. Swaray has seen his clients through some of the toughest odds to see them through the grueling Green Card application process. Many clients who have been successful in obtaining Green Cards have been without status and in deportation proceedings. These clients have all managed to successfully obtain permanent residence, gain lawful employment and contribute to society as legal residents of the United States with the skillful expertise of Mr. Swaray.

Successful Extension of Prima Facie Determination

Mr. Swaray managed to successfully apply for an Extension of Prima Facie Evidence on a client’s VAWA application. The client had not yet received a decision on their I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant Application and his Prima Facie Determination was about to expire. By presenting strong evidence, Mr. Swaray got the client an extension giving the client an opportunity to proceed to the next phase of his application.

Breach of Contract Case

Mr. Swaray worked with a client who was fighting a Breach of Contract case against Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA. The client filed a summons and complaint against Hennepin County alleging breach of contract in relation to a contract for leased premises. During the case, Hennepin County requested a Motion to Stay Discovery which was denied giving our client the opportunity to proceed to the next phase of the case.


Swaray’s Success with Family Law Cases

Mr. Swaray has had major success in several family law cases ranging from divorce settlements, spousal maintenance, child custody hearings, paternity suits and child support. Mr. Swaray saved a client over $100,000 in spousal maintenance; he saved another client over 60% in child support and has gained success in a countless number of divorce cases.


Notice to Appear and Proof of Removability

In the immigration law context, a Notice to Appear (NTA) is a form that an alien in the United States receives from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to appear in an immigration court to respond to allegations that she has violated immigration law.  ICE is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  The form will have the alien’s identity, the factual allegations supporting the violation and the charge(s).  At the bottom will be the date that the alien is to appear in court.  In general, it will state that the alien will appear in court at a date to be set.

Notice to appear sample

It sometimes takes several months for the alien to receive a specific court date after receiving the notice to appear.  But no matter how long, the alien, in most cases, will receive the specific court date.

The alien must do everything she can to appear in immigration court on her scheduled date.  The first appearance is called the Master Calendar hearing. If the alien fails to appear, she could be ordered removed in her absence, and the removal is final, except there is a good reason to change the order.

When an alien receives a notice to appear, it is very important that she seeks advice and representation from an experienced immigration attorney. The alien should do so especially if she wants to avert the removal, and even if removed, be able to return to the United States in the future.

Notice to appear (rock and bridge)

Before the Master Calendar hearing, the alien must make sure that she understands the reasons ICE claims that she is removable, and the meaning and consequences of the allegation and charges against her and how to answer them.

At the first hearing, the alien can ask the immigration judge for more time to think about the cause against her or start addressing them that very day.  For the hearing to be postponed, the alien has to give a good reason to the court.  Where the alien has chosen to address the cause in the first hearing, she can admit or deny the allegations and charges.  But in doing so, she should make sure that she fully understands what she is admitting or denying because a mistake could have costly consequences.

If the alien believes that one or more factual allegations and charges are inaccurate or baseless, and she denies them, she has, in effect, challenged the reasons that ICE claims that she is removable, and ICE will then have the burden or responsibility to prove that she is removable based on the factual allegations and charges.  Where this is the case, the court should adjourn the proceeding and schedule a date for the removability hearing.  In the hearing, ICE will present evidence to prove that the alien is removable. Though it is ICE’s burden to prove that the alien is removable, it is very advisable that the alien cross-examines the government’s evidence supporting her removability.  If the government fails to prove that the alien is removable, the factual allegations and charges and the removal proceedings are dismissed and terminated.

notice to appear (arrest)

If, on the other hand, the government proves that the alien is removable, the court will sustain the allegations and charges.  At this point, the proceedings will move to the relief stage.  This is where the alien accepts the government’s factual allegations and charges, but tells the court that that she has relief that will help her stay in the United States, and even get a Green Card.  If the alien says that she is eligible for one or more relief, the court will adjourn the proceedings to give her time to prepare the relief application.  If there is no relief for which the alien is eligible, and the alien does not qualify for voluntary departure, she will be ordered removed from the United States.

notice to appear (land of liberty)

At another scheduled Master Calendar hearing, the alien will file her relief application, and the case will be set for a hearing in which she will defend her eligibility for the relief.  When the relief is approved, she will be granted the immigration benefit for which she applied.  If the relief is denied, she may be ordered removed.

Swaray Law Office believes that no alien who wants to continue to reside, make a living and the United States her home should be removed.  If you or your relative is in a tough removal proceeding and looking for a competent attorney to fight for you, contact us for an aggressive and competent representation.