The immigration plan that President Barack Obama is set to unveil on Thursday November 20th will not only help individuals who have no legal status, it could also impact and/or assist individuals who are currently green card holders (permanent legal residents). The main thing being discussed at the moment is a plan to unveil a new naturalization process for permanent residents that are eligible to become citizens, and in the short term make it cheaper for those individuals to apply to become citizens of the United States.
The current system allows individuals who are green card holders to apply for citizenship after 3 or 5 years (depending on the way they received their citizenship). The current filing fee is $595 with a biometric fee (fingerprints) of $85. This total of $680 is the entire amount that immigration charges for someone to apply for citizenship.
The rumored plan is to give a 50% discount to the first 10,000 that apply and qualify for naturalization. This would bring the total down to $340 total to apply for citizenship. The one exception that is currently rumored is that individuals who make more than 200% of the poverty line will not be eligible for the discounted rate. This is understandable and will give people who are less fortunate the ability to apply for citizenship.
It is crucial that once this passes to submit your forms as soon as possible. Once the cap is filled, then the price will go back to normal. By the end of the week the entire plan/details should be announced, so there will be more information then. Hopefully this will include when applications can begin to be submitted.
There are other exceptions to the naturalization process, for example, after a certain amount of years as a resident, and at a certain age, you can take the naturalization exam in a language other than English. And at a certain age you do not have to do the biometric appointment. For a more thorough evaluation of your particular situation feel free to contact us for a consultation.
And again, when the final details are released later in the week, we will have a full breakdown of the program, including who it will help, and hopefully when we can start the process. For any immediate questions regarding this or any other immigration matter, please contact us at our principal office in Houston, TX at 713-222-2828.