Category Archive Citizenship

ByPhillip Kim

Unauthorized Immigrants Today: A Demographic Profile

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources provide some much-needed social context to the immigration debate.

(1) Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants have been here for over a decade.

(2) One out of every 20 U.S. workers is an unauthorized immigrant.

(3) While unauthorized immigrants are concentrated in California, Texas, Florida, and New York, there are sizeable populations of unauthorized immigrants in other states across the country.

(4) Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants come from Mexico, but significant numbers also come from Central America and the Philippines.

(5) Nearly half of all adult unauthorized immigrants have children under the age of 18, and roughly 4.5 million native-born U.S.-citizen children have at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant.

(6) More than half of unauthorized immigrant adults have a high-school diploma or more education.

(7) Nearly half of longtime unauthorized households are homeowners.

(8) Approximately two-fifths of unauthorized immigrant adults attend religious services every week.

(9) The size of the unauthorized population stands at just under 12 million.

(10) The Pew Research Center estimates that there were 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the country as of 2012; virtually the same as in 2008. This was down from a high of 12.2 million in 2007, but up from 8.6 million in 2000

*** As you can see above, most unauthorized immigrants are already integrating into U.S. society not only through their jobs, but through their families and communities as well.


ByPhillip Kim

Obama Administration Will Allow Undocumented Illegal Immigrants Under DACA to Join the Military

The Obama Administration approved a policy expansion to the current existing Military Access Vital to National Interest (“MAVNI”) plan which would allow young undocumented illegal immigrants approved under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (“DACA”) to join the United States military. To join the military under MAVNI, a person must possess specialized language or medical skills needed by the military. Enlistment in the military would create a pathway for expedited US citizenship for those who qualify.

Federal law does not allow any person to be naturalized unless the person has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. MAVNI was established later to provide an exemption to refugees, asylees, those in Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”)and other foreign nationals to allow them to enlist in the military even though they do not possess a green card. MAVNI has now been expanded by the Obama administration to include DACA recipients also.

ByPhillip Kim

Tips for Passing the Naturalization Test


Part of the process of becoming a U.S. citizen is passing the naturalization test which will be administered at your naturalization interview. You will be tested on the components English and Civics, although you may be eligible for an exemption or waiver. Be prepared to answer questions about your background and know your application front to back.

At your interview, you will be asked 10 questions out of the prepared list of 100 questions in English, and you must be able to answer six out of the 10 correctly to pass the civics portion of the test. You may be qualified to take the civics test in the language of your choice if you meet specific requirements.

The English part of the test incorporates reading, writing, and speaking. You must be able to write one out of the three sentences correctly, and the USCIS will determine your English proficiency based on your applications.

Repetition, interaction, and practice are keys to performing well on Civics and English. You will be given two chances to take the naturalization test and must be retested within 60 – 90 days of your first examination. To ensure success, it is important to familiarize yourself with the test and prepare with a qualified immigration attorney.

ByPhillip Kim

Citizenship for Military Members and Their Families


The U.S. military members are recognized for their sacrifices to the country; therefore, USCIS works towards helping undocumented military personnel and their family members obtain citizenship. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), certain members of the military and their families may have their application for citizenship expedited and processed overseas. Members of the U.S. military may also have their families petition for permanent residency status (obtain green card). If your spouse is deployed/ will be deployed or if you are a surviving spouse or children of a military personnel, you may have certain benefits from the naturalization process.

ByPhillip Kim

How to Become a U.S. Citizen


You can become a citizen of the U.S. after having your green card through the naturalization process. There are some usual eligible paths to citizenship: live in the U.S. for 5 years, be the spouse of a U.S. citizen, be in the military or have a family member in the military, or have citizen parents. If you are already living in the U.S., you must have a green card before applying for citizenship. After filing for citizenship, you will need to take the naturalization test, which will include speaking, reading, and writing in English.

To apply independently to be a naturalized citizen, you should be over 18 and have been living in the U.S. with a green card for at least 5 years. For these 5 years you should have been living continuously in the U.S. to be eligible.

To apply to be a naturalized citizen as the spouse of a current U.S. citizen, you need to have a green card for at least 3 years while living with your spouse. If your spouse is working outside the U.S. but is a citizen, you can still file for citizenship as the spouse of a citizen.

Children of U.S. citizens are eligible for citizenship if they meet the requirements. For the purposes of the citizenship process, a child is anyone 18 years old or younger and who is not married. If you are the child of a U.S. citizen and are already living in the U.S., you can automatically get citizenship if at least one parent has citizenship, you are 18 years old or younger, and you are still in your parents’ custody.

If at least one of your parents is a citizen and you are under 18 but living outside the U.S., you are also eligible for citizenship. To be able to apply for citizenship as a child of a citizen living outside the U.S., at least one of your parents has to have been a citizen for at least 5 years. Also, you must have entered the country legally to be eligible to apply for citizenship as the child of a citizen. To enter legally, seek help with filing for a green card or visa.

Some military members, veterans, and their families can apply for citizenship. There are different paths to citizenship based on when your time served happened, separated into peacetime and wartime. If you are eligible to apply for citizenship, you can then file for citizenship as a military member, which includes veterans. Spouses and children of military members can also apply for citizenship if their family member is already a citizen. This process can also be done for families living overseas with active military members.