Getting LPRs Naturalized – The Icing on the Cake
Where does an immigration case begin and where does it end? Often times, foreign nationals come to your organization to obtain assistance getting legal permanent residency (aka greencard). After that objective is met, does your organization follow up with the foreign national to help with their naturalization process? If not, why not? Naturalization is icing on the cake for many reasons:
#1: THE GOVERNMENT WANTS LPRS TO NATURALIZE!
In its February Budget Proposal, one of USCIS’ strategies is to increase public awareness of its naturalization program. As part of this effort, it released a new Naturalization Practice Test for applicants on its Citizenship Resource Center. Data released by the Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) indicates the following number of individuals who have obtained legal permanent residency for the past three years. (Click here to read the full report.) In the world of possibilities, if every individual who became an LPR in 2009, 2010 and 2011 applied for naturalization, the government could potentially earn over $2.2 billion in revenue! (Factoring in other considerations that would lower the number of naturalization applicants, the potential revenue would be quite high still.) THAT, my friends, is a lot of money! It’s no wonder the government has made a concerted effort to tap this revenue stream. Icing on the cake? I think yes.
#2 MAKE NATURALIZATION A SOP FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION
Integrating the naturalization process as part of your organization’s standard operating procedures should be mandatory for a couple of reasons. For for-profit organizations, this is another potential revenue stream that should be recognized and utilized often. For non-profit organizations, this is another means of providing critical services to a constituency in need. This 10-page form is still quite intimidating! Whether you are a for-profit or non-profit, integrating this immigration process into your practice management is relatively straightforward. These easy steps might help:
A) Set a future reminder for you/your team: The moment the foreign national has been approved for his/her greencard, log the approval as well as the future date in which the foreign national is eligible to apply for naturalization. (This could be at the 3 or 5 year mark, or sooner if you want to set an earlier tickler.)
B) Prepare Templates for Correspondence: Save time by having various correspondence templates ready to email, snail mail, or leave as a voice mail.
C) Assign Team Members: Which team members should receive and act upon those reminders? If the LPR client responds, which team member will be in charge of moving the matter along?
If you are using a smart electronic system to manage your immigration practice, you probably already know that all of the steps above can be automated. You can be in court or you can be strategizing on your next big client acquisition while the system automatically sends out these reminders for you! Now that’s icing on the cake!
#3 CLIENTS WILL THANK YOU
Existing LPR clients who actually need (and want) guidance through the naturalization process will thank you as well. Some may not want to naturalize as it may trigger grounds of inadmissibility. Others may have various personal reasons for not wanting to naturalize. Your expertise will help them make informed and educated decisions. Developing goodwill with your clients is an important part of word-of-mouth referrals for continued organization growth. Now that too, is icing on the cake!