What everyone should know about becoming a U.S. citizen?

by Aaron Clingerman

There are several different types of Visas with the most common being family based Visas, employment visas and tourist visas. Sometimes people enter the immigration process voluntarily, other times it is under very difficult circumstances. Either way, please keep these in mind for you or someone you know…

1. Behave! This one is pretty well known, but even a DUI can disqualify you and affect your Immigration status.

2. Document your wages, and pay your taxes. Generating an income might be useful for others to prove you are an important part of their life and would be negatively affected by your absence.

3. Keep proof of your life here. Are you listed on bills, take pictures of you at your child’s birthday party, attend school and classes, acquire joint ownership of a life insurance policy, etc. Document that you are part of your community.

4. Be careful with tattoos. In a recent case, a young man was denied for a Visa because of a possible connection to a gang.

5. There are no time guarantees. An attorney may give you a general idea of how long it might take but please don’t make any plans!

6. Pick an attorney based on a referral and experience. Sometimes you only get one chance to fight your case.

7. VERY IMPORTANT, get a 2nd opinion. The law is constantly changing. Different lawyers view cases differently. No case is perfect. Understand the risks involved and ask questions.

8. Start the process even if the wait is several years. Think of the DMV, if you show up and never take a number…you will never be called up. The biggest journey starts with a first step.

9. When you start, be ready to do work. We will be asking for very personal items, and some items will take some work to get. Being proactive creates stronger cases because the theory of the case can be refined.

OK, the previous nine tips are very important but this one is the hardest to deal with. Why, because no one has any control of TIP# 10.
10. Hope, pray, cross your fingers you get a favorable decision… Based on our experience, sometimes even good cases are denied and a decision needs to be appealed.

*This is for informational purposes and not legal advice. Please consult with an attorney.*


About the Author Aaron Clingerman 

Aaron Clingerman attended The Ohio State University as a Glenna Joyce Scholar. He received a BFA in cinema and Video in 1992. He attended Willamette University College of Law and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1998. He began working at the Law Offices of Michael B. Dye in 1998 and his practice areas include workers’ compensation, social security disability, and immigration. He is licensed to practice law in Oregon and Washington. Aaron is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Oregon Trial Lawyers. He has volunteered to be a judge for law students at Willamette University College of Law and has lectured to various legal groups about immigration and workers’ compensation issues. Office: 503-581-5562 or Email: clingermanlaw@yahoo.com. His services are offered in both English and Spanish.