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Moving violations won’t put brakes on road to citizenship

Allan Wernick


Thursday, March 3, 2016, 11:56 PM

Exported.; EXP;Albans, Mike

Q. Will my speeding and improper passing tickets keep me from getting U.S. citizenship? I became a permanent resident in 2010. I drive a taxi and I have one speeding ticket and two tickets for improper passing.

Name withheld, New Jersey

A. Your traffic law violations won’t keep you from getting U.S. citizenship. Nevertheless, you should answer “yes” to Question No. 23 on form N-400, Application for Naturalization, that asks “Have you ever been arrested, cited, or detained by a law enforcement officer (including any and all immigration officials or the U.S. armed forces) for any reason?” “Cited” includes receiving a traffic ticket (but not parking tickets). Except for tickets involving alcohol or banned substances, traffic violations should not affect a permanent resident’s right to naturalize. You need to list the citations on the form, but if the fine was less than $ 500, you need not bring proof that you paid the fine to your naturalization interview.


Q. Can I get a visa to study English in the United States? I have a bachelor’s degree in Pashto, the national language of Afghanistan. I also have a master’s degree in English literature from India, but I think I could benefit from studying American English in the United States.

Farzaba, Hyderabad, India

A. You may qualify for an F-1 international student visa that will allow you to come to the United States to study English. F-1 visas are available to foreign nationals coming to the study in the United States at language schools, and at all levels of education from elementary school, through graduate studies. When you research schools, make sure that the school you choose has been certified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as eligible to admit F-1 students.

Once a school admits you, it issues Form I-20 A-B/ID, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status. You present that form, plus proof of financial support at a U.S. Consulate to apply for a student visa. To get the visa, you must have sufficient funds or proof of financial support to live and study in the United States without working.

Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of the City University of New York’s Citizenship Now! project. Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 4 New York Plaza, New York, NY 10004 or email to questions@allanwernick.com. Follow him on Twitter @awernick.

Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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