Naturalization, Citizenship, and Special Immigration Petitions

Deportation and Removal Defense in Immigration Court

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after they fulfill certain requirements as set out by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

To apply for Naturalization one must file a form N-400 Application for Naturalization.

A person qualifies for Citizenship, or Naturalization, if:

  • You have been a permanent resident for 5 years preceding the application and meet all other requirements, or
  • You have been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen, or
  • You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements, or
  • You are a child born outside the U.S. to U.S. citizen parent(s) and meet all other eligibility requirements.

The most common scenario for applicants for Naturalization is when someone has been a green card holder for at least five years prior to filing for naturalization. Under that scenario, a person must:

  • Be 18 or older at the time of filing;
  • Be a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the filing of the form N-400 Application for Naturalization;
  • Have lived within the state or USCIS district in which you are applying for at least 3 months prior to the date of application;
  • Have continuous residence in the United States as a green card holder at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application;
  • Be physically present in the US for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of the filing application;
  • Reside in the US continuously from the date of filing until the time of naturalization;
  • Be able to read, write, and speak English and have a knowledge and understanding of U.S. government and history;
  • Be a person of good moral character and attached to the principles of the US Constitution.

Additionally, in certain circumstances, a person may already be a United States citizen and not need to apply for Naturalization, for instance, if you are a lawful permanent resident and your biological or adoptive parents became U.S. citizens before you turned 18. In that instance, you could instead apply for an N-600 Certificate of Citizenship.

For more information on Naturalization and Citizenship, please contact an experienced immigration lawyer at Rose Law Group, P.C. today.

Self-Petition for Abused Spouses, Children, and Parents (VAWA)

As a battered spouse, child, or parents of a US citizen or resident, you may file an immigrant visa petition as authorized by a Congressional legislation known as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

VAWA allows spouses, children, and parents of US citizens, and spouses and children of US lawful permanent residents to file an immigrant visa for themselves without having to include or notify the abusive spouse.

Despite the name Violence Against Women Act, VAWA relief is available to all genders so long as they fit the other requirements, which are:

  • For Spouses: Abused spouse of US citizen or lawful permanent resident may file. Spouses may also file if they themselves have not been abused by their children have been abused by US citizen or permanent resident spouse. Spouse may include themselves on their children’s application so long as the child is unmarried and under 21.
  • For Parents: You may file if you are the parent of a US citizen and you have been abused by your US citizen son or daughter.
  • For Child: You may file for yourself if you are an abused child under 21, unmarried, and have been abused by your US citizen or permanent resident parent. Your children may also be included on your petition, and you may file as a child after age 21 but before turning 25 so long as demonstrating that the reason for the delay was related to the abuse you suffered.

Eligibility Requirements for VAWA Self Petitioners

Spouse: You qualify as a VAWA eligible spouse if:

    • You are married to US citizen or permanent resident abuser or reasonably believed you were married but later found out the marriage was not legitimized, you suffered battery or extreme cruelty by your US citizen or permanent resident spouse, or your child suffered battery or extreme cruelty from spouse, you entered into the marriage in good faith, not just for immigration benefit, you resided with spouse, and you are a person of good moral character.

Child: You qualify as a VAWA eligible child if:

    • You have been abused by US citizen or permanent resident parent, you have resided with your abusive parent, and you are a person of good moral character.
      • Note: a child under 14 is presumed to be a person of good moral character

Parent: You qualify as a VAWAA eligible parent if:

    • You are a parent of a US citizen son or daughter who is at least 21 or older at the time of filing, you have suffered battery or extreme cruelty from US citizen son or daughter, you resided with the abusive child, and you are a person of good moral character.

Process and Benefits of VAWA: After determining qualifications, the process for a VAWA self petitioner is to file a form I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant with USCIS. After filing you will receive a notice that your petition has been received, and in some cases, a Prima Facie Determination Notice which will give access to certain public benefits. You will also be eligible for work authorization in the United States when your petition is approved, and you may eventually be eligible to obtain lawful permanent residence, or a green card.

For more information on VAWA Self Petition for Abused Spouses, Children, and Parents, contact one of the experienced immigration attorneys at Rose Law Group, P.C. today.


The United States asylum laws are meant to protect individuals coming to this country seeking protection because they have suffered persecution, or have a fear that they will be persecuted, due to: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

If you are seeking asylum in the United States based upon a well founded fear of persecution due to one of these categories, you may file a Form I-589 Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within 1 years of arrival to the United States. 

You may include your spouse and children who are in the United States on your application at the time you file or at any time until a final decision is rendered in the case. Children must be under 21 and unmarried to be included in the asylum application.

Work authorization:  You may apply for permission to work in the United States (employment authorization) 150 days after filing a complete asylum application (excluding any delays caused by you) AND as long as no final decision has been made on your application. To apply for work authorization pending your asylum case, you must file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

Bringing Family to United States: If granted asylum, you may petition to bring your spouse and children to the United States by filing a Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. You must petition within two years of being granted Asylum status unless there are any humanitarian reason to excuse the delay.

Obtaining Lawful Permanent Residency after Asylum: You may file for a green card (lawful permanent residency) one year after being granted asylum. To apply for the green card, file a form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. You must submit separate I-485 applications for each family member who received derivative asylum status based on your case.

Types of Asylum: Asylum applications can be categorized in one of two ways: Affirmative Asylum cases, or Defensive Asylum cases.

Affirmative Asylum (with USCIS): To apply for affirmative asylum, a person must be physically present in the U.S. You may apply regardless of how you initially entered the United States. You must apply within the first year of the date of your last entry to the United States, unless you can show: 

  • Changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing;
  • You filed within a reasonable amount of time given those circumstances.

Note: If you file for affirmative asylum and your case is not approved and you do not otherwise have lawful immigration status, you may be issued a Form I-862 Notice to Appear and your case may be forwarded to an immigration judge at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). The Immigration Judge would then conduct a de novo review of your case and issue an independent decision.

Defensive Asylum (with EOIR): A Defensive application for asylum occurs when a person requests asylum as a defense against deportation from the United States. A person may only apply for defensive asylum if they are already in removal (or deportation) proceedings before an Immigration Judge in the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR).

Generally, a person is placed into defensive asylum proceedings in one of two ways:

  • They are referred to an Immigration Judge by USCIS after they have been determined to be ineligible for asylum at the end of the affirmative asylum process, or
  • They are placed in removal proceedings because they were detained in the United States for some reason, and found to be without proper legal documentation or immigration status, OR they were caught by US Customs and Border Protection trying to enter the United States without proper documentation and placed in expedited removal proceedings and determined by an Asylum Officer to have a credible fear of persecution or torture if they were to return to their home country.

An Immigration Judge will hear a defensive asylum claim in Immigration Court in the EOIR. The Immigration Judge will determine first whether the person is eligible for asylum, and ultimately, whether or not to grant the claim for asylum. If asylum is denied, the Immigration Judge will analyze whether the person is eligible for any other form of relief from deportation, and if not, the individual could be subject to removal from the United States. If ordered removed or deported, a person has the right to appeal the Judge’s decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Below is a chart provided by USCIS highlighting the key differences between “Affirmative” and “Defensive” Asylum Processes

Key Differences Between “Affirmative” and “Defensive” Asylum Process



Individual has not been placed in removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge

Individual has been placed in removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge

Individual affirmatively submits Form I-589 to USCIS


·         Is placed in removal proceedings by an Asylum Officer;

·         Is placed in removal proceedings for immigration violations; or

·         Tried to enter the United States without proper documents and was found to have a credible fear of persecution or torture

If the individual was referred by USCIS, the asylum application already filed will carry over to the immigration judge. If the individual did not yet submit an asylum application he or she will submit it to the Immigration Judge.

Individual appears before a USCIS Asylum Officer for a non-adversarial interview

Individual appears before an Immigration Judge with the Executive Office for Immigration Review for an adversarial, court-like hearing


Individual must provide a qualified interpreter for the asylum interview

The Immigration Court provides a qualified interpreter for the asylum hearing and all other court proceedings.

Because the United States’ Asylum laws are complex and not always uniformly applied by Immigration Judges and officers of USCIS, it is best to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer before applying for asylum, or presenting an asylum claim in court.

For more information about affirmative and defensive asylum and how these applications are processed and decided, please consult an Immigration Attorney at Rose Law Group, P.C. today.

DACA: Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

On June 15, 2012, President Obama issued an executive order granting deferred action status and work authorization to certain young individuals who were born abroad but currently residing in the U.S. without any type of lawful status. This executive order, known as “DACA”, while politically controversial, opened the door for millions of undocumented children who identified as Americans, were often times brought to this country through no fault of their own yet forced to live among the shadows without the ability to work, apply for drivers licenses, or attend educational institutions in many cases.

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced an initiative to expand his highly successful and impactful DACA program to parents as well.  Deferred Action Parents Citizens and Lawful Residents, which came to be known as DAPA, was to extend the same deferred status and ability to apply for work authorization and social security cards to the undocumented parents of citizen or lawful permanent resident children living in the United States.

Unfortunately, the DAPA program was challenged by a number of states including Texas, and the Supreme Court recently split 4-4 on whether the order was lawful or not. Therefore, the DAPA program is not in place at the moment. However, the Department of Justice has petitioned for the US Supreme Court to re-hear the case in its next session, so there is hope.

The initial DACA program as announced by President Obama is still in effect with USCIS, and individuals who meet these requirements are eligible and encouraged to apply, with the help of an attorney at Rose Law Group, P.C..

Requirements for I-821D Consideration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA:

  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  • Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Process: The process for filing for DACA includes submitting the form I-821D application, paying the requisite filing fee of 465.00-a 380.00 processing fee and an 85.00 biometrics fee- and submitting the supporting documentation required for USCIS to determine if you meet all of the eligibility requirements.

Once received, an applicant will get a notice to attend a biometrics appointment, and then the DACA decision will come back. From time to time, if more information is needed, a Request for Evidence, or RFE will be issued. An applicant will have about three months to gather whatever additional evidence is required and then respond. If satisfied that the applicant qualifies, they will be issued a Confirmation Notice along with an Employment Authorization card that will entitle them to work legally in the United States, and in many cases apply for a Social Security card and a Driver’s License or State ID.

Because the I-821D process can be complicated and because there are many requirements that are often not easily met, it is highly recommended that a person consult with an immigration lawyer before applying for DACA.

The attorneys at Rose Law Group, P.C. are available for a free DACA consultation today.

I-751 Application for Removal of Conditions

A conditional lawful permanent US resident is someone who obtained their green card through marriage within the first two years of marriage. Rather than being granted a ten year green card, a conditional lawful permanent resident is granted a two year green card. The conditions must then be “removed” through application by the conditional resident.

The reason for this is that the government wishes to place the burden on the petitioner to prove that the marriage was not fraudulent, or done to evade the immigration laws of the United States.Generally, a person who is granted conditional permanent residence must apply to remove the conditions at least 90 days before their 2 year green card expires.

You may apply to remove your conditional residence and have your green card converted into a 10 year green card if:

  • You are still married to the same US citizen or resident after 2 years. Children may be included in this application if they received resident status at the same time or within 90 days as you did;
  • You are a child and for a valid reason cannot be included in your parents’ application;
  • Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;
  • You entered into the marriage in good faith, but then the marriage ended in divorce or annulment; or
  • Entered into the marriage in good faith, but you or your child was battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse.

You should apply to remove conditions on your conditional residency 90 days prior to the expiration date of your green card. Check the expiration date on the green card to confirm this date. If you do not remove conditions in time, or fail to apply for whatever reason, you could lose your conditional residency and be subjected to removal or deportation from the United States.

Form I-131 Advance Parole/Permission to Travel

Most aliens who have pending applications for immigration benefits or for changes in non-immigrant status require Advance Parole, or permission to re-enter the United States, after traveling abroad.

Without this advance parole, any applicant who is trying to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident will be considered to have automatically abandoned their application, and would then have to remain outside of the United States and do consular processing.

You must apply for advance parole before leaving the United States, pay the required filing fee, and submit the appropriate documentation. If granted, you may then travel abroad and return within the timeframe granted on your travel document.

In certain instances of emergency or for humanitarian circumstances, Advance Parole requests may be expedited. Such situations include:

  • Cases of severe financial loss to a company or person;
  • Emergency situations;
  • Humanitarian reasons;
  • Compelling interest to the government of the United States

Advance Parole for Recipients of I-851 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

In some cases, individuals who have been granted deferred action or DACA status, are able to apply for advance parole and travel abroad. Upon return to the United States, that person is considered to have been lawfully admitted, which is a critical fact if they intend to adjust their status to a lawful permanent resident through marriage to their United States citizen family members, or spouse, in the future. This is a complicated process and not without risk, but many have been able to change status from DACA recipient to lawful permanent resident of the United States, and visit family members in their home countries who they have not seen for many years in the process.

For more information on how a DACA recipient can apply for advance parole and then adjust to a lawful permanent resident, please contact one of the qualified immigration attorneys at Rose Law Group, P.C.


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