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The United States Does Not Permit Dual Nationality

img1_resourcesU.S. law does not require a person to choose one nationality over another. U.S. law does not require a person to relinquish foreign citizenship upon U.S. naturalization. The U.S. government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage dual nationality because of potential problems with allegiance to more than one nation and conflicts of law. Each country has their laws on dual or multiple nationalities. Persons naturalizing in the U.S should check the laws of the country where they hold citizenship to determine if that country’s laws permit dual nationality.

As long as I enter the U.S. once every six months, I will not lose my permanent resident status (“green card”).

img2_resourcesA permanent resident “alien” has no assured or guaranteed right to reenter or return once outside the U.S. Extended absences, even less than six months, from the United States could result in the loss of lawful permanent resident status. Brief trips to the U.S. made every six months are not enough. The immigration law considers a “green card” holder as having failed to maintain lawful status if they have relinquished or abandoned U.S. permanent residence, regardless of the time spent abroad.

A person that is living outside of the U.S. for more time than they are living in the U.S. risks “abandoning” permanent resident status. This is especially true after multiple prolonged absences. Absences must be considered “temporary” and a permanent resident must be returning to an unrelinquished residence in the U.S. The government considers objective factors such as permanent ties to the U.S., the reason for extended time abroad, and a permanent resident’s intent at the time of departure. A returning resident is subject to this scrutiny each and every time they enter the United States.

My criminal conviction was vacated or my criminal record was expunged. I am safe from immigration consequences (e.g., removal, denied admission).

img3_resources“Conviction” for immigration purposes has a different meaning than conviction under State criminal laws. Immigration is federal law. State actions which remove a guilty plea or erase a criminal conviction may have no effect in immigration proceedings. Some criminal convictions make a person inadmissible (denied entry or denied immigrant visa) to the U.S., and or removable (deportable) from the U.S. Some, but not all, criminal convictions may be excused with waiver applications. Whether a criminal conviction will have immigration consequences depends on the elements and definition of the crime under State law and Federal law (Circuit Court determinations) among other factors. It is possible that a criminal conviction in one State will have negative immigration repercussions while a conviction for the same crime in another State will not have the same effect.

If my employer sponsors me for a “green card”, I am required to remain with that employer for 5 years after I receive lawful permanent resident status (e.g., adjustment of status or immigrant visa).

img4_resourcesThere is no requirement in the law that requires or binds an employment-based immigrant to remain in the employment of their immigrant sponsor for 5 years or for any period of time after they receive an immigrant visa or adjust their status to lawful permanent resident. Such a legal requirement would violate the prohibition against involuntary servitude. What is true is that the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA) does allow the government to rescind a person’s permanent resident status if at any time within 5 years after the granting of lawful permanent residence, the government discovers that the person was in fact ineligible for the immigration benefits granted. For example, if there was fraud or misrepresentation, or if a labor certification was not properly certified by the Department of Labor (DOL).

However, note that an employer can create a legally binding contract requiring an employee to reimburse the costs associated with an employer-sponsored immigration application if the employee leaves employment within a certain period of time (determined by the employer) after the final approval of the immigration application/petition. These types of provisions and agreements are governed by State contract law, not immigration law.

I filed an immediate relative petition. My spouse, parent or child will be able to adjust to permanent resident or immigrate to the U.S. immediately and quickly.

img5_resourcesImmediate relatives are defined as spouses, parents or children under 21 years old of United States citizens. Immediate relatives are not subject to worldwide immigrant visa quotas. However, immediate relatives are subject to normal processing times by the USCIS and the Department of State (if located outside of the U.S.). The application procedure and processing times are lengthy. Average processing times are 8-12 which varies depending on location. If there are problems or issues with a petition/application, the case will be delayed and take longer.

If I hire an attorney, my application/petition will be given preference by the government and my case will go to the front of the line.

img6_resourcesCitizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) does not give attorney filed applications/petitions preference. All applications/petitions not subject to premium processing or expedited criteria are processed in the order received. However, Alicia R. DiBacco Law will get your case done without myths.


The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only.  Nothing contained on this website is meant to constitute nor should be construed as legal advice.  An attorney should always be consulted.  Individual facts and circumstances differ that affect the legal outcome.