Commentary

August 16, 2012

5 Questions: Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

1. What is the purpose of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services?

The mission is to secure America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.

2. Does marrying a U.S. citizen automatically make the non-citizen eligible to stay in the United States?

No, a non-citizen spouse does not automatically become eligible to stay in the United States by marrying a U.S. citizen. Depending upon the status of the non-citizen spouse, there are various application types that can be found on our website that can provide a road path to permanent residence status and/or citizenship. Our website is: www.uscis.gov. More detailed information on available avenues can be found at: www.uscis.gov/greencard and www.uscis.gov/howdoi.

3. What is the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program; who is eligible to apply (Per the Department of Homeland Security) ?

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the U.S. as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization.

Individuals who can demonstrate through verifiable documentation that they meet these guidelines will be considered for deferred action. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis under the guidelines set forth in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s memorandum.

Details can be found at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.

4. What are the steps to becoming a U.S. citizen for non-citizen military members?

It is impossible to provide one answer for all cases as the circumstances of individuals can vary widely. USCIS has special information to help the military understand their immigration options. This information can be found at www.uscis.gov/military.

5. What services are provided to U.S. military members to help their non-citizen relatives reside in the U.S. permanently?

USCIS has established a toll-free military help line, 1-877-CIS-4MIL (1-877-247-4645), exclusively for members of the military and their families. USCIS customer service specialists are available to answer calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (CST), excluding federal holidays. After-hours callers will receive an email address that they can use to contact USCIS for assistance. Callers will receive assistance with immigration-related information, such as:

  • Tracking their Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
  • Notifying USCIS of a new mailing address or duty station.
  • Checking the status of any other application or petition.
  • Bringing a spouse, fiancé, or adopted child to the United States.
  • Posthumous citizenship for a deceased member of the U.S. military.
  • Submitting an application for expedited processing.

Members of the U.S. military and their families stationed in the United States or overseas may access the help line using the toll-free number through their base telephone operator or using the Defense Switched Network (DSN).

In the case of MCAS Yuma, individuals can contact the Joint Law Center for assistance.




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