Is blogging or affiliate marketing a job for immigration purposes?

Tomoko writes, "I am a permanent resident and a housewife.  However, because I am passionate about Japanese cooking, I maintain a blog.  On this blog I have Google Adsense advertisements and I have an affiliate relationship with Amazon and a few other companies, so if someone purchases a cooking product from a link, or if they click on an ad, I get paid.  Each year, I get a Form 1099 from these companies and my husband I simply provide the information to the IRS.  I am assuming that TurboTax software does the rest by calculating the taxes that I owe on this income.  Now, I am filing USCIS Form N400 and wondering if I should list Google, Amazon, Linkshare, etc. as employers in provide details like dates.  Please help."



Actually, no.  You are not employed by any of these companies.  You are merely a contractor for them and that is why you are issued a Form 1099.  If you have not already realized, you are not their employee in any sense of the word, because you are not on their payroll, you get no benefits, and if do not sell anything, you get paid nothing.  So you should not list these companies as your employers.  However, if you receive from other companies a W-2 form because you worked part time for them, then it was a job and must be listed.

Does being audited by IRS affect naturalization?

Lisbeth writes, "Three years ago, I was audited by the Internal Revenue Agency.  Once I provided the explanation that they asked me for, without any meetings or involvement of attorneys, the matter was resolved.  Eventually, I also received my refund.  Now that I am applying for naturalization, should I be concerned that the tax drama will be an issue?"



The most important consideration for USCIS is whether you owe any money to a government agency.  As long as that is not the case, you are cleared for naturalization.  Just get copies of your tax return from the IRS and they will show clearly that you owe nothing to them.  It should not be raised at the interview either.

Can bankruptcy cause denial of citizenship?

Mark writes, "I have been an excellent green card holder and have no issues other than the fact that my second child was born with a disability and there were a lot of complications during birth.  Despite the savings we had and the insurance coverage, due to unexpected medical bills and inability to work for months, we ran into financial trouble and could not pay many of our bills on time.  After filing chapter 7 bankruptcy we rebuilt our financial lives.  Now I am applying for naturalization and wondering if this will disqualify me from US citizenship?"



The USCIS Form N-400 specifically asks whether you have taxes due to any authority in the United States.  There is nothing related to bankruptcy or how much money you owe to someone else.  It seems that for right reasons the US Government cares only about the debt you owe to them and doesn't care if you owed money to Bank of America or the landlord or utility company and did not pay it.  There is no reason this should come up during an interview but you must tell the truth if it does.  In any case, it cannot be a factor in disqualifying you.

Can I leave USA with just passport stamp without physical green card?

Aaron asks, "I have just received the I-551 stamp in my passport and due to a family situation I must leave immediately to my native country.  I still do not have the plastic green card in my hand.  Is it safe for me to travel overseas and be able to return to the US without any problem?"



Actually, the I551 stamp is proof of your being a permanent resident of the United States.  While it is required that you show your green card to the immigration agent in order to enter the country, since it has been so recent that you have been approved, you will be fine.  The agent at the airport will be able to see what date you were approved.  Maybe there could be a few extra questions but that's about it.  For even greater peace of mind, you can carry the approval letter from USCIS in your paperwork to show that you have been approved.

What happens if someone is arrested on a tourist visa?

Carlos writes, "I am currently in the United States on a visitor visa and after a night of partying, I got caught for driving under the influence (DUI).  After my arrest I was released and asked to appear in court (I guess my having a good attorney and my being a professional helped) but my pretrial hearing does not start for at least 5 weeks.  In the meantime, however, I need to get back home due to my work and family commitments.  There is no way I can attend this trial without jeopardizing my employment.  If I simply leave the US without telling anyone, what will happen?  Will I be able to return to the US?"



In some cases when the authorities assume that you are an American (it is simply a judgment by the officials involved) and if you do not volunteer the information about your immigration status, one can end up in a situation like yours.  Being a foreigner on a visitor visa, you should have never been released because you are a flight risk.  If you were released, you would have been asked to surrender your passport so that you would not be able to leave the country.



If you simply get on a plane and leave (very easy to do since US has no exit immigration and except for a few high profile criminals, most names are not entered into a no fly list, and individuals can always simply walk through the Mexico border and fly out of there), this would be your last visit to the country.  In your absence, your case will be decided by the courts, and if convicted, most likely no one will be pleased what a big mistake they made and they will then make sure that your name is listed in all sorts of databases.  That would guarantee that you would not be issued any visas in the future or if you still have a visa in your passport, that would be revoked, so that when you arrive at the airport in the US again, you will be immediately arrested, particularly because your fingerprints during the OUI arrest and at the border patrol checkpoint will match perfectly.  So if it is fine with you that you will lose the chance to visit the US in the future, this might be a strategy, but a better option would be to simply deal with this matter.  In addition to having a criminal DUI attorney you must also hire a lawyer who deals with immigration matters.  An arrest for DUI and conviction would typically erase your probability of ever being able to visit the US but going through a trial and not being a fugitive does provide some hope for a slightly more positive outcome.