Author: Jon E. Jessen

Eight Reasons to File for U.S. Citizenship

I always advise clients that as soon as they are eligible to file for U.S. Citizenship they should do so. The following are the top reasons to file:

1. Travel

Not only does a U.S. Citizen generally have an easier time of getting through immigration when re-entering the U.S., there is no limit on the amount of time a U.S. Citizen can spend outside of the United States. A lawful permanent resident of the U.S. (“green card holder”) is generally limited to trips in length of no more than six months. This can be especially problematic for retirees who want to spend months or even years outside of the U.S. but still have the option of returning without restrictions.

2. Protection from Deportation

Citizenship will give you protection from deportation if you are convicted of a crime.  Conviction of certain criminal offenses can result in deportation for 20 years or more.  Citizenship protects you from being deported.

3. Voting

As a Citizen, you will have the right to vote in local, State and Federal elections.  In addition, you will have the right to run for public office (except for President of the United States!)

4.  Employment

Some employers, especially on the government level, require that employees are U.S. Citizens.  Consequently being a U.S. Citizen can open employment opportunities.

5.  Petitioning Family Members

As a Citizen, you can file for your parents, spouse, fiance(e) and siblings.  The options for petitioning a family member are fewer and the process is much longer when filing as a lawful permanent residenc (“green card” holder).

6.  Government Benefits

Certain government financial and medical benefits are only available to U.S. Citizens.

7. Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial aid for college as well as scholarships are generally only available to U.S. Citizens and not lawful permanent residents.

8. Peace of Mind

Not having to worry about your immigration status in the future will give you peace of mind and relieve stress.

Before filing for U.S. Citizenship make certain that you are eligible to file and that there are no issues in your past that may not only result in your application being denied but may also result in placement in deportation proceedings in certain cases.

Stamford Connecticut Immigration Attorney

New Rule Posted by USCIS

USCIS has just published a new rule which “allows certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are physically present in the United States and are seeking permanent residence to apply for and receive provisional unlawful presence waivers before departing the U.S. for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications abroad. This new process will significantly reduce the time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives while those family members go through the immigrant visa process to become permanent residents. Please note that this new process is not yet in effect and USCIS will not accept any applications until March 4, 2013.”

This rule will allow spouses and parents of U.S. Citizens who are presently in the U.S. illegally to apply for a waiver before leaving the U.S. to be interviewed by the U.S. Consulate. A telephone conference is scheduled with USCIS today at 3pm to discuss the rule in more detail.

Did You Know?…You Must Be Given A Copy Of Your Written Statement

If you give a written statement to an immigration officer at your interview you are entitled, by regulation, to receive a complete copy of your statement, free of charge.

It is very important that you ensure that you receive a complete copy of the statement for review by a qualified immigration attorney. Ideally, before signing any statement presented by an immigration officer you should refuse to sign until you have had the opportunity to have the statement reviewed by an immigration attorney.


On October 1, 2012 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the extention of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an additional 18 months for certain Haitian nationals living in the United States. Extension of TPS for Haitians.

The re-registration period began on October 1st and ends on November 30th. Haitians who have resided in the United States since January 12, 2011 and have previously registered for TPS must re-register during the 60 day period.

Why Matter of Arrabally and Yerrabelly is Important

As previously reported the BIA case of Matter of Arrabally and Yerrabelly was represented by the Law Offices Jon E. Jessen LLC. The reason that Arrabally is significant is that an immigrant can now travel outside the U.S. with the permission of USCIS while their green card application is pending, without subjecting the immigrant to the ten year bar. In addition, USCIS may extend the Arrabally decision to include travel for TPS, U visa and VAWA applicants. Matter of Arrabally and Yerrabelly

Jon E. Jessen Immigration Attorney Stamford CT

Landmark Case Represented By Law Offices Jon Jessen Confirmed by BIA

The case of Matter of Arrabally and Yerrabelly has been finalized by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

Law Offices Jon E. Jessen LLC represented Arrabally and Yerrabelly in this case. The BIA originally issued a decision on this case on April 17, 2012 overturning the removal (deportation) orders issued by the Immigration Court against Arrabally and Yerrabelly. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) subsequently filed a motion to reconsider the decision of the BIA. The motion filed by DHS did not challenge the decision of the BIA but requested clarification concerning the parole of an immigrant into the United States.

The case is signficant and will likely affect thousands of immigrants in the United States. Prior to Arrabally/Yerrabelly United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), BIA and the Immigration Courts held that an immigrant who was living in the United States illegally for more that one year, and left the United States with the permission of USCIS (known as advance parole), while their green card application was pending, would be subject to deportation and no longer eligible for the green card upon their return to the U.S.

The BIA has now held, based on Arrabally/Yerrabelly, that an immigrant can no longer be subject to deportation, and continues to be eligible for the green card, as long as he or she traveled outside of the U.S. with the permission of USCIS. Matter of Arrabally and Yerrabelly

Did You Know? A Sponsor For An Affidavit of Support Must File A Change Of Address Within 30 Days Or Risk A Penalty

A person (sponsor) who signs a financial affidavit of support on behalf of an immigrant is required, by federal law, to notify the U.S. Attorney General, as well as the State in which the sponsored immigrant is currently living, within 30 days of the sponsor’s change of address.

Failure of the sponsor to notify the government of a change of address can result in a civil penalty of not less than $250 and not more than $2,500. In addition, if the sponsor is aware that the sponsored immigrant is receiving public benefits and fails to notify the government of a change of address the fine is not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000.