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Archive for the ‘US Citizens’ Category

Effects of Puerto Rico Birth Certificate Invalidation on USCIS Benefit Seekers

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On July 1, 2010, the Vital Statistics Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico began issuing new, more secure certified copies of birth certificates to U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico, because of a new Puerto Rico birth certificate law.  After September 30, 2010, all certified copies of birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010, will be invalidated.   Certified copies of Puerto Rico birth certificates (PRBC) voided by this law (i.e., those issued before July 1, 2010), therefore, will not be acceptable for the purpose of establishing eligibility for immigration benefit petitions and applications or submission to USCIS after September 30, 2010.

Petitioners and applicants may continue to submit PRBCs issued before July 1, 2010, to establish United States citizenship or a familial relationship through September 30, 2010.  USCIS will honor PRBCs in support of immigration filings if received on or before September 30, 2010, even if the adjudication takes place after the PRBC becomes invalid.

If an invalid PRBC is submitted in support of a petition or application, USCIS will notify the appropriate individual and give that individual the opportunity to submit a new, valid birth certificate. 

Does an invalid birth certificate affect my citizenship status?

No, this law invalidates only the birth certificate.  It does not change a person’s citizenship status. 

What if I already submitted a Puerto Rico birth certificate and my case has not been decided?

If you have already submitted a Puerto Rico birth certificate, the new Puerto Rico law will not affect the adjudication of your case.

How do I get a new Puerto Rico Birth Certificate?

Individuals who were born in Puerto Rico and are now living elsewhere can apply for a new birth certificate on-line or by mail.  Mailed applications will not be accepted until after July 1, 2010.  Instructions on how to apply by mail can be found at:


Written by MithrasLaw

July 2, 2010 at 11:58 am

Posted in US Citizens

The Social Security Administration’s Policy on SSN Issuance for United States Citizen children Born to Undocumented Parents

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) clarified its policy to the American Immigration Lawyers Association on issuance of social security cards (SSN) to United States citizen (USC) children born to undocumented parents.

Q: Are SSNs issued automatically to USC children born in US hospitals?
A: Yes, if the parents choose Enumeration at Birth (EAB), which is a request made while mother and newborn are in the hospital.

Q: Are there any restrictions on undocumented parents requesting or receiving SSNs or SSN cards for their USC children?
A: If the SSN is requested through Enumeration at Birth (EAB) then there are no restrictions.

Q: What happens if a USC newborn is issued an SSN through Enumeration at Birth but the SSN Card is lost or misplaced?
A: A replacement SSN card can be issued but only a relative with acceptable evidence of identity can apply for a replacement card on behalf of the USC child.

Q: Can a non-citizen parent without valid status apply for an SSN for his/her USC newborn outside an Enumeration at Birth request?
A: No. A person filing an application on behalf of a numberholder or someone entitled to be a numberholder must submit the same types of identification documents required for the numberholder. For non-citizens, U.S. immigration documents are the only acceptable type of identification document, unless the applicant meets the requirements to be issued a non-work-authorized SSN. Foreign passports are not acceptable unless they contain current immigration entries, such as an I-94 or a stamp or visa indicating it is temporary evidence of permanent resident status.

Q: If Enumeration at Birth (EAB) was not utilized, what options are there for SSA to issue SSN and card to USC child if the parents are undocumented?
A: Another relative, who is able to submit documents SSA accepts, could apply, or the child can apply once he or she is old enough to sign his or her name (no age limits apply).

Written by MithrasLaw

January 20, 2010 at 3:17 pm

USCIS To Process Applications of Widow(er)s of Deceased U.S. Citizens

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The President recently signed the FY2010 DHS Appropriations Act into law, allowing eligible widows or widowers of U.S. citizens to qualify for permanent resident status regardless of how long the couple was married. The new law amends the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by removing the two-year marriage requirement previously necessary for a widow(er) to qualify for permanent resident status as an immediate relative of his or her late U.S. citizen spouse. Additionally, when a widow(er) qualifies as an immediate relative under the law, his or her unmarried minor children will also qualify for the same status. The law applies equally to widow(er)s living abroad, who are seeking immigrant visas and widow(er)s in the United States, who want to become permanent residents based on their marriage.

These provisions of the FY2010 DHS Appropriations Act relate only to the impact of the citizen’s death on a widow(er)’s eligibility for classification as an immediate relative.  All other requirements for approval of a visa petition remain in force.  Specifically, the widow(er) must still establish that:

  • He or she was the citizen’s legal spouse.
  • The marriage was bona fide and not an arrangement solely to confer immigration benefits to the beneficiary.
  • He or she has not remarried.
  • He or she is admissible as an immigrant.
  • In an adjustment of status case, that he or she meets all other adjustment eligibility requirements and merits a favorable exercise of discretion. 


For more details see the USCIS Fact Sheet.

Written by MithrasLaw

January 5, 2010 at 5:12 pm

New Naturalization Test Now Fully Implemented

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Up until Oct. 1, 2009, applicants who had filed for naturalization before Oct. 1, 2008, had a choice of taking the old test or the new test.  Beginning Oct. 1, 2009, however, all citizenship applicants must take the new naturalization test, regardless of when they filed their Application for Naturalization (Form N-400).

Once an applicant has completed and submitted the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and an applicant has had  his or her fingerprints taken at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) facility, s/he will receive an appointment for an interview. At the naturalization interview, the applicant will be required to answer questions about his/her application and background. The applicant will also take an English and civics test unless s/he qualify for an exemption or waiver.

Applicants are given two opportunities to take the English and civics tests and to answer all questions relating to their naturalization application in English.  If an applicant fails any portion of the test (English or civics) s/he will be given another opportunity to attempt the failed portion between 60 and 90 days from the date of his/her initial interview.

At present the overall pass rate for the new test is 91 percent. For a naturalization self test study tool click here.

Written by MithrasLaw

October 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm

New Census Bureau Data Reveals U.S. Foreign-Born Population Characterisitics

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The US Census Bureau days ago released interesting statistics on US Foreign-Born Population.

According to a new analysis of data about the U.S. foreign-born population from the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS), a higher percentage of people born in India have a bachelors degree or higher (74 percent) than people born in any other foreign country. Egypt and Nigeria had rates above 60 percent.

Other findings available for foreign-born populations of 65,000 or more in areas with a total population of 500,000 or more include the following:

Country of Birth

  • Mexico tops the country of birth list with more than 11.7 million people. The next highest countries by birth include China (1.9 million), the Philippines (1.7 million), India (1.5 million), El Salvador and Vietnam (both at 1.1 million), and Korea (1 million). Cuba, Canada and the Dominican Republic round out the top 10 countries of birth.

Educational Attainment

  • Foreign-born from several African nations are among the likeliest to have graduated from high school, specifically from countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa. About 96 percent or more of the foreign-born age 25 and over from these nations are high school graduates.
  • Overall, about 85 percent of the total U.S. population, 68 percent of the U.S. foreign-born and 88 percent of the native-born are high school graduates.
  • About 27 percent of the foreign-born and about 28 percent of natives have bachelor’s degrees.

Household Income

  • Among the foreign-born, those from India, Australia, South Africa and the Philippines have the highest median household incomes. The median household income for U.S. residents born in India is $91,195. The foreign-born from Somalia and the Dominican Republic had some of the lowest median household incomes.
  • Median household income is $50,740 for the total population, $46,881 for the foreign-born population and $51,249 for the native population.


  • Europe is the source of some of the “oldest” foreign-born. U.S. residents born in Hungary (64 years) and Italy (63.1) share the distinction, statistically, of having the oldest median ages. The foreign-born from Greece, Germany and Ireland also have median ages of about 60.
  • U.S. residents born in Somalia have the youngest median age (26.8).
  • Nationally, the median age for the total U.S. population is 36.7. The total foreign-born population has a median age of 40.2 and the total native population has a median age of 35.8.

Year of Entry

  • The foreign-born from Somalia and Kenya are the most likely to have entered the United States in 2000 or later. Nearly 60 percent are in this category.
  • Overall, about 28 percent of the nation’s foreign-born entered in 2000 or later, 29 percent between 1990 and 1999, and 43 percent entered the United States before 1990.

Employment and Occupations

  • Approximately 81 percent of the foreign-born age 16 and over from Nigeria and Kenya are in the labor force. Nationally, about 65 percent of the U.S. population in this age group are in the labor force, compared with about 67 percent of the foreign-born population and 64 percent of natives.
  • U.S. residents born in India have the highest percentage of civilian-employed people working in management, professional and related occupations (69 percent). These occupations employ about 36 percent of the native civilian-employed U.S. population and 27 percent of the foreign-born.
  • The foreign-born from Liberia and Haiti have the highest percentage of civilian-employed people working in service occupations (at 40 percent and 39 percent respectively, the differences are not statistically significant). About 16 percent of natives and 23 percent of the foreign-born civilian-employed populations are working in service occupations.
  • The foreign-born from Jordan (40 percent) and Bangladesh (36 percent) are among the most likely to work in sales and office occupations (the differences between the two are not statistically significant). Among natives, 27 percent work in sales and office occupations, compared with 18 percent among the foreign-born population.

English Language Ability

  • About 97 percent of the foreign-born population from Mexico and the Dominican Republic age 5 and over speak a language other than English at home. Those born in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Armenia, Honduras, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ecuador also have high rates of speaking a language other than English.
  • People born in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador age 5 and over are most likely to speak English less than “very well.” More than 70 percent of the foreign-born population from these countries identified themselves in that category.
  • On average, 52 percent of the foreign-born population, 2 percent of the native population and 9 percent of the total U.S. population speak English less than “very well.”


  • Among people for whom poverty status is determined, about 51 percent of residents born in Somalia are living in poverty. About a quarter of the population born in Iraq, the Dominican Republic, Jordan and Mexico are also living in poverty.
  • On the low end of the poverty spectrum for the countries of birth, U.S. residents born in the Netherlands and Ireland each have a poverty rate of about 5 percent.
  • About 13 percent of both natives and the total U.S. population are living in poverty, while about 16 percent of the foreign-born are.

For detailed data sets see

Written by MithrasLaw

February 24, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Would Hillary Clinton retain her support for more H-1B visas?

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Back in 2007, Hillary Clinton made a live videoconference speech to Indians and corporatists at the “Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) 2007 Global Alumni Conference” held in Santa Clara, California.   Among other things, she made a call to expand the H-1B program that allows companies to bring in skilled foreign workers who “contribute greatly to our U.S. technology development.”   With the economic meltdown all around us and voices from the US senate calling for US companies to axe non-immigrant (H-1B) workers ahead of US citizens, it would be interesting to see what position Hillary Clinton takes on H-1B visas as our new Secretary of State. 

Written by MithrasLaw

January 26, 2009 at 6:54 pm

What is the Global Entry Program and What Does it Mean for You?

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The program and its benefits:

Global Entry Program is a new program developed to implement a single integrated passenger processing system that expedites the movement of frequent international air travelers.

In essence, the Global Entry Program, which allows approved and eligible U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the U.S. to use a Global Entry kiosk as an alternative to the regular passport control line. At the kiosk, Global Entry members will activate the system by inserting their U.S. passport or lawful permanent resident card into a document reader. The kiosk will direct travelers to provide digital fingerprints and will compare that biometric data with the fingerprints on file.

Global Entry travelers will be prompted to answer declaration related questions on the kiosk’s touch-screen. A transaction receipt will be issued upon completion that must be presented to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers prior to leaving the inspection area.

Who can participate?

Participation in the Global Entry Program is voluntary and only US Citizens and lawful permanent residents can qualify and are eligible to participate.

There are restrictions and limitations of participation and a participant cannot be eligible if:

  • convicted of a criminal offense in any country;
  • s/he has ever been found in violation of the customs or immigration laws of the U.S. or any serious criminal offense; or provided false or incomplete information on their application.
  • s/he is determined to present a potential risk for terrorism, criminality, smuggling, or unlawful immigration.
  • S/he is a child under the age of 14. (Note: children 14 years of age and older, but under the age of 18, will require written consent of a parent or legal guardian.)

How do you enroll?

A participant will need to sign on to Global On-line Enrollment System (GOES), set up a user account, fill out the application and submit it electronically through the system. The link for GOES can be found on the CBP web site or directly at:

After submission of your application and a review of your Global Entry application information, a full interview will occur, in which your identity will be verified and validated, your finger prints and face photo will be taken and a determination will be made on your application.

Cost and documents are needed with the application:

A processing fee of $100 per applicant is charged at the time of enrollment through GOES and membership will be valid for 5 years.

Documents needed with the application for U.S. Citizens are a valid machine-readable U.S. passport and one other form of identification at the time of interview (such as a driver’s license). Lawful permanent residents have to provide a machine-readable “green card” and one other form of identification that supports your residency claim.

Global Entry Sites:

The Global Entry Program began on June 10th at John F. Kennedy International, George Bush Intercontinental and Washington Dulles International  airports. The program is soon to expand to four additional airports: Los Angeles International, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Chicago O’Hare International, and Miami International.

Written by MithrasLaw

November 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm

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