Does working with the UN have any effect on the US citizenship process?
April 25, 2015 10:55 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine works with a UN agency that is based in Lebanon. He has a US green card. Does his employment with the United Nations have any effect whatsoever on his status in the US?

I once heard that working with the United Nations expedites the process towards US citizenship, but I am not sure. Who do you think are most qualified to answer such a question? I'd appreciate it if you listed any resources or paralegal / immigration websites.
posted by omar.a to Law & Government (4 answers total)
I worked at the UN briefly and a lot of my dad's best friends worked there. My husband is from Egypt and we've been through the immigration process. I think I can give you some insight here.

You don't say where your friend is from or how he got his green card in the first place. I think your question begins and ends there. Is his status in danger in some way? A deadline of some sort? Is he looking for citizenship?

Your friend needs to hire the immigration lawyer all of his colleagues use successfully and address whatever is going on through that professional.

There may be some formal relationships or agreements between the UN and the US via goodness knows what circumstance your friend may or may not qualify for.

In general, though, higher channels that skip the obstacles regular folks have to deal with on these issues are in play. Everybody does everybody else favors on that level, and there are different rules for them. Of course.

My answer to your question is: Duh! *with a smirk on my face*

Of course your friend's status confers special treatment and consideration. How much, and if it is formalized or of a back channel variety depends on which agency, which country he is employed to through the UN, if his contract is attached to his US work status, and a million other things only a lawyer can really tell you.

HR in his office may a good place to find this info out, too. Or put in a phone call to the U.S. Immigration Services, but this would be my last choice to find out if I were your friend.
posted by jbenben at 11:17 PM on April 25, 2015

Response by poster: My friend is a Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon and he works for UNRWA, if that helps.
posted by omar.a at 11:20 PM on April 25, 2015

Thank you for the update. Posting to the thread instead of MeMail because this is still unclear....

What are your friend's goals? Is he in danger of he losing his immigration status for some reason, or is he applying for citizenship? What is the reason for this question?

I know refugees have it easier emigrating to the U.S. if someone at the UN who is a US citizen of high stature at the UN wants to help them out from personal experience seeing such. I don't know personally if these were formal or informal opportunities. I always suspected strings were pulled behind the scenes of the refugees' behalf. But these refugees were not employed by the UN (that I know, because even UN employment was an aspect that could have been rigged to help them out and get them permanent legal status in the US....)

If this is a concern, your friend needs to talk to UN connected folks who deal with these issues. Unless that isn't possible? Please update!
posted by jbenben at 11:35 PM on April 25, 2015

I don't believe USCIS has any vocal users on Metafilter--as a State Department employee whose work frequently touches on USCIS', I'm probably the closest thing.

My advice, not in an official capacity, is for your friend to do more research via USCIS' website, his employer, and possibly an immigration attorney. There are too many variables to sort this one out on AskMe, and the stakes are too high. (Just a sampling: if he got the status through marriage, if he has conditional or permanent LPR status, time overseas, nature of duties overseas, if he has a re-entry permit, etc.) Your friend should be looking into two separate but related issues:

1. What does it takes to maintain his LPR status?
2. What are the requirements for naturalization?
posted by whitewall at 4:33 AM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

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