The number of foreign nationals who enter the United States each year can sometimes lead people to assume that securing a tourist visa is "easy." Nothing could be further from the truth. Ironically, obtaining a visitor visa (B1/B2) can arguably be more difficult than obtaining an immigrant visa. This is so because there are clearly defined paths and set of criteria through either family or employment that one can follow to pursue a visa for permanent residence, whereas for temporary visas, the evaluation process can be much more open and subjective. Consular officers are granted a wide amount of discretion when considering visitor visa applications and their denials are not subject to as much scrutiny or review.
The Department of State recently released its June Visa Bulletin, and to the shock of many people, especially those who have filed family based applications, there is major retrogression in some categories. "Retrogression," to put things loosely, simply means that a priority date has gone back, instead of progressing further. Consequently, consular interviews and visa applications will not be scheduled or adjudicated until the visa date becomes current again. Retrogression in some employment categories has generated much attention, but the significant backward movement for family preference category F4 for siblings of nationals of India seems to have escaped notice. According to the May Visa Bulletin, the Department of State was working on cases with a priority date of July 22, 2003. However, the June Visa Bulletin indicates that the date has gone back to January 1, 2001! This essentially means that cases that would have been scheduled or heard within the next couple of months have now been pushed back more than two years.
In order to apply for Naturalization, one needs to complete the N-400 application. Contrary to popular belief, however, one does not automatically become a citizen upon submission of the application. The applicant will be summoned to appear for a naturalization examination at the local District Office, where he/she must demonstrate general basic proficiency with the English language (subject to certain exceptions), knowledge of American history and civics, the requisite physical and continuous residence, and good moral character. If the applicant passes the tests and meets the associated requirements, the officer will recommend that the applicant be approved for naturalization. What happens, though, if the applicant does not pass the test?
One of the most frequently issued traffic citations issued in New Jersey is a charge of violating Title 39:3-10. This ticket is often referred to as "Unlicensed Driver." Unfortunately, for the undocumented population, this is a very common offense, given that many individuals will not qualify for a New Jersey Driver License due to their illegal status. Illegal immigrants who have received this ticket are often concerned whether a conviction of this statute will jeopardize their status even more or possibly prevent them from one day applying for a green card.