Immigration F.A.Q.

Answers from an Orange County Immigration Attorney

If you are considering becoming a citizen or visiting the United States, you likely have questions. The immigration process and even the process of legally visiting the United States can be exceedingly difficult without a representative to walk you through. An incorrect application or other extenuating circumstances can mean a denial of your petition. For help with a variety of immigration-related issues, please don't hesitate to speak with an Orange County immigration attorney from The Law Office of Carolina C. Gomez. Our experience could prove to benefit you. Below, the firm has provided answers to some of the most common questions about immigration. For answers to more questions or questions specific to your case, call today 714-955-4065.

How do I sign up for the naturalization test?

To apply for citizenship by way of naturalization, you must complete and submit the N-400 form. This is a ten-page document that you must correctly fill out and mail to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox Facility, located at PO Box 21251, Phoenix, AZ 85036. To find instructions, the form itself and the application requirements information, click here.

Can I become a citizen through a family member?

Yes, you can petition for a green card (permanent residency) by way of a family based petition. You can also petition for a K-3 or K-4 non-immigrant visa (spouses and children under 21 years old) or a Fiancé Visa. You can do this by filling out the necessary forms and sending them to the USCIS office. There are different forms for depending on family relationship. For example, spouses must fill out the I-130 "Petition for Alien Relative".

What are the qualifications for citizenship by way of parents?

If, at the time of a child's birth, it was not in the United States but at least one parent lived in the U.S. prior to the child's birth, then the parents may be able to petition for their child's citizenship. Complications may arise if the parents were not married at the time. To learn more about citizenship by way of parents, visit USCIS, or contact us now.

Where can I find resources to study for the naturalization test?

There are two main components to the naturalization test: English and Civics. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services provides study materials for both. There are over 100 practice questions with answers as well as flash cards to help non-citizens prepare to become U.S. citizens. You can find the civics study resources here and the English study resources here.

I lost my green card. What can I do to replace it?

Whether you have lost your green card or need to renew it, there is an application for you. To replace a green card that has been destroyed or misplaced, file online or by paper. The form you will be filling out is called the I-90. This petition is not guaranteed to be approved, but you can appeal if your petition for green card replacement is denied. It is a misdemeanor for an alien not to be carrying their green card on their person, so be sure to file for a replacement petition as soon as possible after it is lost or destroyed.

What is the difference between getting a green card and going through the naturalization process?

Possessing a green card means that you are a legal permanent resident. It does not, however, mean that you are a citizen of the United States. Naturalization is the process by which non-U.S. citizens can become citizens.

I'm a non-citizen planning on staying in the U.S. for more than 90 days. What do I need to do?

You will need to apply for a visa. As a temporary visitor, this will allow you to stay in the United States for longer than 90 days. If you do not anticipate staying for longer than 90 days, you may not need to apply for a visa. The U.S. also makes it possible for residents of certain countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa. To learn more about visa requirements, contact our firm.

What can happen if I stay longer than intended but don't request to extend my stay?

Any and all non-citizens who wish to extend the length of their stay in the United States must file a request form (Form I-539). This form is called the Application to Extend or Change Non-Immigrant Status and it is filed with USCIS. If you fail to file this form, and you stay longer than you have been allotted, then you can be formally deported from the U.S. and even barred from visiting again. You may even face deportation if you fail to file the form in enough time. The USCIS recommends requesting an extension at least 45 days before you know your stay will expire.