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Immigration and Visas: FAQ

Congressman Ruppersberger’s office may be able to help with immigration-related issues. Please review the following Frequently Asked Questions before contacting the office, as they may contain the information you need. You can also visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Do I qualify for naturalization?

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress.

  • If you have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements, please visit the USCIS General Path to Citizenship for more information.
  • If you have been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen, please visit the USCIS website for Spouses of U.S. Citizens for more information.
  • If you have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements. Visit the Military section of the USCIS website.
  • Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met.
  • You may also qualify through other paths to naturalization if you do not qualify throughthose described heret. Please see the Guide to Naturalization for more information.

How do I apply for naturalization?

To apply for naturalization, file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

For more information, see the USCIS Citizenship Application guide. Click here for educational materials to help you prepare for the English, U.S. history and civics portions of the naturalization test.

If you are in the military and are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, please see the M-599, Naturalization Information for Military guide.

Where is the closest USCIS office?

The Baltimore field office is located in the first floor of the Fallon Federal Building, 31 Hopkins Plaza, Baltimore, MD, 21201. In order to visit this office or to speak with an Immigration Information Officer, you must have an appointment scheduled by USCIS, or you must schedule an “infopass” appointment, which can be done online here.

How do I check the status of my application?

If you have an application receipt number, you can check the status of your case online here.

How do I renew my Green Card?

If you are a permanent resident whose 10-year green card has expired or will expire within the next 6 months, you may begin the renewal process by:

How do I let USCIS know I have moved?

You can use USCIS’s Online Change of Address program.  This tool allows you to change your address online so that USCIS can contact you regarding your status.

I've tried calling the USCIS to ask a simple question, but can't get through.

Try the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283, 24-hours a day.

How do I get a form from USCIS?

Most forms are available for download or you can request forms be mailed to you on the USCIS website. Most of the forms can be filled out on your computer using the latest version of Adobe Reader. You can also call 1-800-870-FORM (3676). 

What is a visa?

A visa is permission to apply to enter the United States. Foreign citizens must apply for a visa at an American embassy or consulate abroad, when desiring to travel to the United States. Additionally, anyone who intends to immigrate to the United States will need to obtain an immigrant visa from their local consulate. Visas are also needed by intending immigrants who are already present in the United States.

How do I obtain an immigrant visa?

If you want to become an immigrant, you must go through a three-step process. First, the USCIS must approve an immigrant petition for you, which is usually filed by an employer or a relative for you. Second, a visa number, through the State Department must be immediately available to you, even if you are already in the United States. If you receive an immigrant visa number, it means that an immigrant visa has been assigned to you. Third, if you are already in the United States, you may apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available for you. (If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available for you, you must then go to your local U.S. consulate to complete your processing.)

What is an immigrant visa number?

U.S. law limits the number of immigrant visa numbers that are available every year. This means that even if the USCIS approves an immigrant visa petition for you, you may not get an immigrant visa number immediately. In some cases, several years could pass between the time USCIS approves your immigrant visa petition and the State Department gives you an immigrant visa number. In addition, U.S. law also limits the number of immigrant visas available by country. This means you may have to wait longer if you come from a country with a high demand for U.S. immigrant visas.

Where can I get more information about immigrant visas?

Go to the Department of State’s webpage on visas for immigrants. Please note that the United States issues a limited number of visas to immigrants in various categories each year. For each category, visas are allocated based on the priority date for that particular application. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000.

Still have questions? Contact our office!

If you would like Congressman Ruppersberger’s office to help you with an immigration or visa-related issue, please contact our office at 410-628-2701. You will need to submit a Privacy Act Release form, which you can generate here. The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits any department or agency of the federal government from releasing any personal information about a person without their written permission. This form will enable me to initiate an inquiry on your behalf. For quicker processing, fax your completed form to 410-628-2708. You can also mail your form or submit it in person to 375 West Padonia Road, Suite 200, Timonium, MD, 21093.