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How to Buy a House in the US

By wikihow

Many people dream of home ownership but it mandates homework, legwork and considerable effort on your part to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible, and you don't bite off more than you can chew. Here's how to make your dream become a reality. This article assumes you will be using a lender.


Buying a House in the US Strengthen your credit. The higher your FICO score, which ranges from 300 to 800, the better rate you'll qualify for. Get a free copy of your credit report so you can see what the lenders see on your credit history. Pay off credit cards and resolve any credit disputes or delinquencies. Determine how much house you can afford, and how much you'll likely be able to borrow.

You will be expected to put down 10-20% of the appraised value of a home.[1] (Note that the appraised value may be higher or lower than the selling price of the house.) If you have $30,000 saved for a down payment, for example, you can use it as a down payment for a home between $300k (10% down payment) or $150k (20% down payment). Putting down less often, but not always, requires you to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), which increases your monthly housing cost but is tax deductible. Find out what ratios lenders are using to determine if you qualify for a loan. "28 and 36" is a commonly used ratio.[2] It means that 28% of your gross income (before you pay taxes) must cover your intended housing expenses (including principal and interest on the mortgage, as well as real estate taxes and insurance). Monthly payments on your outstanding debts, when combined with your housing expenses, must not exceed 36% of your gross income. Find each percentage for your monthly gross income (28% and 36% of $3750 = $1050 and $1350, respectively). Your monthly payments on outstanding debts cannot exceed the difference between the ($300) or else you will not be approved. Calculate your expected housing expenses. Estimate the annual real estate taxes and insurance costs in your area and add that to the average price of the home you'd like to buy. Also add how much you can expect to pay in closing costs. (These take in various charges that generally run between 3 to 6 percent of the money you're borrowing. Credit unions often offer lower closing costs to their members.) Put the total into a mortgage calculator (you can find them online or make your own in a spreadsheet. If the figure is above 28% of your gross income (or whatever the lower percentage used by lenders in your situation) then you will have a hard time getting a mortgage. Determine whether you need to sell your current home in order to afford a new one. If so, any offer to buy that you make will be contingent on that sale. Contingent offers are more risky and less desirable for the seller, since the sale can't be completed until the buyer's house is sold. You may want to put your current house on the market first.
Get pre-approved (not pre-qualified) to get the actual amount you can pay. Apply to several lenders within a two week period so that the inquiries do not damage your credit report. Do this before contacting a real estate agent so you have a firm idea of what you can afford, and you don't accidentally fall in love with a house that you cannot afford.

If you qualify, check out first-time buyers' programs, which often have much lower down payment requirements. These are offered by various states and local governments. You may also be able to access up to $10,000 from your 401(k) or Roth IRA without penalty. Ask your broker or employer's human resources department for specifics regarding borrowing against those assets. If you can't afford a 10%-20% downpayment on your home, but have good credit and steady income, a mortgage broker may assist you with a combination mortgage. In that, you're taking out a first mortgage up to 80% of the value of the home, and a second mortgage for the remaining amount. While the rate on the second mortgage will be slightly higher, the interest on it is tax-deductible and combined payments should still be lower than a first mortgage with PMI. If you're buying new, consider the Nehemiah Program to get assistance with your down-payment.
Go house shopping. Unless you're under the gun time-wise, look at as many homes as possible to get a sense of what's available. Don't rush into buying if you don't have to. Read more in How to Find Your Ideal House.

Sign up for an MLS (Multiple Listing Service) alert service to search on properties in your area so you can get a feeling for what is on the market in your price range. (If you sign up through a real estate agent, it is poor form to call the listing agent directly to see a house. Don't ask an agent to do things for you unless you're planning to have them represent you--they don't get paid until a client buys a house and it's not fair to ask them to work for free, knowing that you're not going to use them to buy your home!) Find a good real estate agent to represent you in the search and negotiation process. The real estate agent should be: amiable, open, interested, relaxed, confident, and qualified. Learn the agent's rates, methods, experience, and training. Go into exhaustive detail when describing what you want in a home: number of bathrooms and bedrooms, attached garage, land and anything else that may be important, like good light or a big enough yard for the kids. Read more in How to Select a Realtor. Define the area you'd like to live in. Scout out what's available in the vicinity. Look at prices, home design, proximity to shopping, schools and other amenities. Read the town paper, if there is one, and chat with the locals. Look beyond the home to the neighborhood and the condition of nearby homes to make sure you aren't buying the only gem in sight. The area in which your home is located is sometimes a bigger consideration than the home itself, since it has a major impact on your home's resale value. Buying a fixer-upper in the right neighborhood can be a great investment, and being able to identify up-and-coming communities--where more people want to live--can lead you to a bargain property that will only appreciate in value. Visit a few open houses to gauge what's on the market and see firsthand what you want, such as overall layout, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen amenities, and storage. Visit properties you're seriously interested in at various times of the day to check traffic and congestion, available parking, noise levels and general activities. What may seem like a peaceful neighborhood at lunch can become a loud shortcut during rush hour, and you'd never know it if you drove by only once. If you are unsure about the price, have the home appraised by a local appraiser. Never buy the most expensive house in the neighborhood! When appraising a home, appraisers will look for "comparables" or "comps", homes in the area which have similar features, size, etc. If your home is more expensive than the comps, or the appraiser has to find comps in a different subdivision or more than 1/2 mile away, beware! Your bank may balk at financing the home, and you probably won't see your home appreciate in value very much. If you can, buy the least expensive home in a neighborhood -- as homes around you sell for more money than you paid, your home's value increases.
Make an offer.

Include earnest money with your offer.--usually $1,000 to $5,000. Once you sign an offer, you are officially in escrow, which means you are committed to buy the house or lose your deposit, unless you do not get final mortgage approval. During escrow (typically 30 to 90 days), your lender arranges for purchase financing and finalizes your mortgage. Make sure final acceptance is predicated on a suitable home inspection. Request the following surveys and reports: inspection, pests, dry rot, radon, hazardous materials, landslides, flood plains, earthquake faults and crime statistics. (You will generally have 7-10 days to complete inspections--be sure that your agent explains this fully to you when signing the purchase and sales contract.) A home inspection costs between $150 and $500, depending on the area, but it can prevent a $100,000 mistake. This is especially true with older homes, as you want to avoid financial landmines such as lead-paint, asbestos insulation and mold.
Close escrow. This is usually conducted in a title office and involves signing documents related to the property and your mortgage arrangements. The packet of papers includes the deed, proving you now own the house, and the title, which shows that no one else has any claim to it or lien against it. If any issues remain, money may be set aside in escrow until they are resolved, which acts as an incentive for the seller to quickly remedy any problem areas in order to receive all that is owed.

Consider using a real-estate lawyer to review closing documents and represent you at closing. Realtors are unable to give you legal advice. Lawyers may charge $200-$400 for the few minutes they're actually there, but they're paid to look out for you.




How to Work at Home Successfully-By eHow

By eHow Careers & Work Editor

Working at home is being embraced by more professionals every day. Being close to the family, not having to commute or being at your desk at three o'clock in the morning in your pajamas is a wonderful way to work and enjoy life at the same time. Should you choose to work from home, you must be very dedicated to producing a certain amount of work every day and sticking to rules that you make for yourself and your business. Follow these steps to find out how you can.

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Instructions Difficulty: Easy Step1Keep track of deadlines and follow a work schedule to run a proper
home office. You don't have to answer to a boss; but you do have to satisfy your clients. Decide how much work you have to do each day and then do it, no matter how long it takes.

Step12Talk to your family and help them understand that even though you appear to be home, you are not home. You work from home. Set aside an hour each day to focus on your family, perhaps when the kids get home from school. After that hour is up, go back to your home office and if necessary, close the door.

Step23Allow only package deliveries, business telephone calls, emails, doctor appointments and emergencies to take you from your work. Laundry, house cleaning, electrical repairs and gardening must be left until the evening or the weekend. Monday through Friday you work at home.

Step34Prevent yourself from getting distracted. Even the most seasoned home office professional feels the pull of the outdoors, or desires to leave work and go do something fun. If you find yourself unable to concentrate, change into a business suit and sit back down at your desk. This will remind you that if you were working for someone else, you wouldn't have the option to take off to the spa or the golf course.

 Step5Buy everything you can possibly afford to make your home office function as professionally as possible. This includes having a top-rated Internet and email service, caller ID and a phone company that has excellent messaging services that can be retrieved from another phone or a Blackberry. Your clients are your income. You must always be available. Step6Find yourself a good accountant. Whether you are self-employed or incorporated, you need someone you can count on to help you protect your financial interests and make sure that everything is done on time.



Canada Visas, Permits and Immigration

A Canadian immigration visa offers great opportunities for you to work and live in Canada. There are many types of immigration visas for your specific needs or requirements. The Canadian Skilled Worker visa can provide permanent residency in Canada. If you just want to visit Canada, a Temporary Resident Visa or TRV is required. There are 2 visa classes you can choose from, and these include: Immigration Visa•    Permanent Canadian Visa; and
•    Temporary Canadian Visa.

A popular visa program intended to attract people with lots of experience and skills is called the Skilled Worker Visa. Canadian immigration also allows special visa type for business immigrants. The Canadian Government’s Immigration Department also allows the province of Quebec to choose its immigrants.
Permanent Immigration VisaUnder the permanent immigration visa, one must have minimum points in education, work experience, age, adaptability, arranged employment and language ability.

If you’re interested in business immigration to Canada, you can apply as an entrepreneur, a self-employed individual, or as an investor. You need to prove your skills and pass a minimum mark for the Business Points Test.  

For those applying under the Canadian family visa, they have to be sponsored by an eligible permanent Canadian resident (for those aged 18 years) or by a Canadian citizen. They also need to undergo medical and security checks.
Temporary Immigration VisaUnder the temporary immigration visa of Canada, the applicant should be issued a work permit to be finalized by the HRDSC or Human Resources and Social Development Canada organization or sector.

The skilled worker’s visa is intended for those applicants who have experience working in a thriving Canadian industry. To qualify, you must pass the minimum points required for work experience.  You need to prove that you have the funds and earn enough score in the 6 selection factors.

Tourists or visitors are required to submit a temporary resident visa before their departure from Canada. As a visitor, you will be provided a temporary visa if attending a business meeting, visiting relatives, participating in conferences, or going to cultural shows or pleasure trips. 
Immigration LawThe Immigration Act in Canada was created in the year 1976 by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.  It centered on who must be allowed to enter in Canada. This Act provided more power to the province of Canada in defending their culture and setting their own immigration law. At present, individuals who are considered as a burden for social health and welfare services can be refused entry to the country.

This also created alternatives to exile immigrants for less serious medical or criminal offences. Starting from deportation, the immigrant is banned from entering Canada and for the rest of the deported immigrant’s life. The government will then issue a twelve-month departure notice and exclusion order. This law also merges all previous legislations dealing with the immigration office.  It further prohibits immigration to Canada for a group of unwanted people, primarily people who are either physically or mentally handicapped. The bill gives the government the right to deport unwanted immigrants.

However, Canadian lawyers are doing their best to help foreigners as part of Canada’s immigration rule. This is because it is difficult to deal with Canadian migration. The lawyers help out family members in Canada to support their families and later on facilitate their entry to Canada.  Likewise, Canadian businessmen assisted by the lawyers also recruit foreign workers. These lawyers help people who were issued deportation orders from Canada.

The Canada Immigration and Refugee Protection Act emphasized the significance of immigration in Canadian economy and society. It also made Canada a culturally diverse nation. It also states the government’s commitment to allow family members to join them in Canada.  It tries to integrate immigrants while protecting the safety and health of all Canadians. The refugee program, on the other hand, plans to implement Canada’s international legal obligation and give balanced considerations to all Canadian immigrants and citizens being persecuted.

The Permanent Resident Card is required for permanent residents re-entering and leaving Canada. This has improved the country’s boundary security. The bill allows a child born outside Canada to be adopted by a Canadian citizen and receive Canadian citizenship.
Immigration Work Permits To work in Canada, a foreign national should receive authorization permits. A work permit is a document issued by the Immigration of Canada. It allows foreign individuals to work for a limited time at specific jobs. The work permit is issued only by the Canadian Immigration Officer after the HRDC or Human Resources Development Canada has approved the job offer of a Canadian employer to a foreign national. The Human Resources Development of Canada allows the Canadian Immigration Officer the right to determine whether the foreign worker has a positive, negative or neutral impact on the labor market.
Immigration PointsIn order to migrate to Canada as a skilled worker, you should get enough points. The minimum points for education in Canada is 25 points. For work experience, it is necessary to obtain a maximum of 21 points (1year is 15 points, 2 years 17 points, 3years 19 points, and 4 years 21 points). For language skills, it is required to get a maximum of 25 points (primary language goes for 16 points and secondary language come with 8 points).
Immigration Allowance Under the Canadian skilled worker class, you have to prove that sufficient settlement money is available for you to be successful.  You should have enough money to support you from the time you enter Canada until such time that you find a job. The required funds also depend on the number of family members who will join you.  The range for single is 10,000 Canadian dollars and for a family of eight or more is 25,000 Canadian dollars.
Canada Immigration RestrictionApplicants with a criminal record in any country or with financial problems may be refused during the process of their application.  They may also be refused if they:

•    fail the medical exam;
•    fail to present any of the requested documents or information by the immigration office;
•    fail to give proof of language skills; or
•    fail the background check.

The federal government of Canada created a group called Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This is responsible for the immigration criteria, visa level requirements and refugees. It also focuses on the citizenship application process and on the final stage of citizenship immigration. The Canadian Citizenship and Immigration maintains the number of people entering Canada and approves the types of immigrants entering Canada.  


How To Move to Canada

Will they take us in?

Going north?

After President George W. Bush was re-elected this week, some despairing U.S. residents began talking about moving to Canada. Just how easy is it to relocate to our neighbor to the north?

Historically, Canada has been a relatively welcoming destination for immigrants. Nearly 20 percent of the Canadian population is foreign born. (Just 11.5 percent of the U.S. population can say the same.) The country boasts one of the world's only permanent immigration programs, and the minister of citizenship and immigration recently announced that she hopes Canada will welcome 220,000 to 245,000 immigrants and refugees in 2005.* A relatively small number of those immigrants are expected to come from the United States. In 2003, emigrants from the United States constituted only 2.7 percent of the total number of immigrants to Canada, a figure that has held steady over recent years—even in 2001, after the hotly contested 2000 presidential election. (By contrast, more than half of the immigrant population comes from Asia and the Pacific region.)

Nevertheless, Canada has long been a refuge for Americans fleeing the states for political reasons. During the Vietnam War, tens of thousands of draft dodgers jumped the border—many of them illegally (according to the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, there were about 23,000 legal American residents in Canada in 1970). Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau accepted most with open arms, and one Canadian town even recently planned a memorial to the draft dodgers until strong opposition from veterans groups blocked the effort.

Today, permanent residence—and the universal health care and clean air that come with it—is a little harder to obtain. Immigrants must obtain a visa from the Canadian Visa Office and fill out an application for permanent residence from the Consulate General of Canada. Applications take an average of 25 months to process. Bush dodgers arriving in Canada must also provide a valid passport, two copies of a detailed list of all personal items brought into the country and two copies of a list of all items on the way, and proof of enough funds to cover expenses for the first six months. For more information, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Web site.




How can I become a u.s. citizen?

In order to become a u.s citizen , you must

(1) have been admitted to lawful permanent residence for five years (three years if Green Card obtained through marriage to U.S. citizen);

(2) you must be 18 years old;

(3) you must be maintain continuous residence for five years (three years if Green Card obtained through marriage to U.S. citizen);

(4) you must be physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the 5 years (or half of the 3 years if you obtained a Green Card through a U.S. citizen spouse);

(5) you must be a person of good moral character for the 5 years (or 3 years if the alien obtained a Green Card through a U.S. citizen spouse);

(6) you must demonstrate an elementary level of English (reading, writing, understanding); and,

(7) you must have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of history and government of the U.S.

Special exceptions to some of the general requirements are available for the disabled, members of the military, veterans, spouses married to U.S. citizens living overseas, and Legal Permanent Residents who work for certain organizations that promote U.S. interests abroad. Similarly exemptions from the English language requirements are available for those over 55 years who and have lived in the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident for 15 years, or are over 50 years old and have lived in the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident for 20 years.

Check out the INS website for more information.


Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions AFRICA

Africa Regional Services - Paris
Angola: Luanda | Portuguese
Benin: Cotonou
Botswana: Gaborone
Burkina Faso: Ouagadougou | Français
Burundi: Bujumbura
Cameroon: Yaounde
Cape Verde: Praia
Chad: Ndjamena | Français
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Kinshasa | Français
Republic of Congo: Brazzaville
Côte D’Ivoire: Abidjan | Français
Republic of Djibouti: Djibouti
Equatorial Guinea: Malabo | Español
Eritrea: Asmara

Ethiopia: Addis Ababa
Gabon: Libreville
The Gambia: Banjul
Ghana: Accra
Guinea: Conakry | Français
Kenya: Nairobi
Lesotho: Maseru
Liberia: Monrovia
Madagascar: Antananarivo
Malawi: Lilongwe
Mali: Bamako
Mauritania: Nouakchott | Français | عربي
Mauritius: Port Louis
Mauritius: VPP Seychelles
Mozambique: Maputo | Portuguese
Namibia: Windhoek

Niger: Niamey
Nigeria: Abuja
Rwanda: Kigali
Senegal: Dakar | Français
Sierra Leone: Freetown
Somalia: VPP Somalia
South Africa: Pretoria
Sudan: Khartoum
Swaziland: Mbabane
Tanzania: Dar es Salaam
Togo: Lome | Français
Uganda: Kampala
VPP Northern Uganda
Zambia: Lusaka
Zimbabwe: Harare
U.S. Mission to the African Union


Argentina: Buenos Aires | Español
Argentina: VPP Patagonia
Bahamas: Nassau
Barbados: Bridgetown
Belize: Belmopan
Bermuda: Hamilton
Bolivia: La Paz | Español
Bolivia: VPP Cochabamba
Bolivia: VPP Santa Cruz
Bolivia: VPP Sucre
Brazil: Brasilia
Brazil: Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Recife
Brazil: São Paulo
Brazil: VPP Belo Horizonte
Brazil: VPP Fortaleza
Brazil: VPP Manaus
Brazil: VPP Porto Allegre
Brazil: VPP Salvador de Bahia
Canada: Ottawa
Canada: Calgary
Canada: Halifax
Canada: Montreal
Canada: Quebec

Canada: Toronto
Canada: Vancouver
Canada: Winnipeg
Canada: VPP Northwest Territories
Canada: VPP Nunavut
Canada: VPP Southwest Ontario
Canada: VPP Yukon
Chile: Santiago
Colombia: Bogota | Español
Costa Rica: San Jose
Cuba: U.S. Interests Section Havana
Dominican Republic: Santo Domingo
Ecuador: Quito | Español
Ecuador: Guayaquil
El Salvador: San Salvador
Guatemala: Guatemala City | Español
Guatemala: VPP Xela
Guyana: Georgetown
Haiti: Port-au-Prince
Honduras: Tegucigalpa | Español
Honduras: VPP San Pedro Sula
Jamaica: Kingston
Mexico: Mexico City
Mexico: Ciudad Juarez | Español

Mexico: Guadalajara | Español
Mexico: Hermosillo | Español
Mexico: Matamoros | Español
Mexico: Merida | Español
Mexico: Monterrey | Español
Mexico: Nogales | Español
Mexico: Nuevo Laredo
Mexico: Puerto Vallarta
Mexico: Tijuana | Español
Mexico: VPP El Bajio | Español
Mexico: VPP Chiapas-Tabasco | Español
Netherlands Antilles: Curacao
Nicaragua: Managua | Español
Panama: Panama City | Español
Panama: VPP Colon
Paraguay: Asuncion | Español
Peru: Lima | Español
Suriname: Paramaribo
Trinidad & Tobago: Port of Spain
Tobago: VPP Tobago
Uruguay: Montevideo
Venezuela: Caracas| Español
Venezuela: VPP Barquisemeto
U.S. Mission to the OAS
U.S. Mission to the U.N.-New York


Australia: Canberra
Australia: Melbourne
Australia: Perth
Australia: Sydney
Australia: VPP Adelaide
Australia: VPP Brisbane
Brunei: Bandar Seri Begawan
Burma: Rangoon
Cambodia: Phnom Penh |
China: Beijing | 中文版
China: Chengdu | 中文版
China: Guangzhou | 中文版
China: Shanghai | 中文版
China: Shenyang | 中文版
China: Wuhan | 中文版
China: VPP Dalian | 中文版
China: VPP Fuzhou | 中文版
China: VPP Nanjing (中文版)
China: VPP Nanning (中文版)
China: VPP Qingdao | 中文版
China: VPP Tianjin | 中文版
China: VPP Zhengzhou (中文版)

Fiji: Suva
Fiji: VPP Tonga
Hong Kong and Macau | 中文版
Indonesia: Jakarta
Indonesia: Surabaya
Japan: Tokyo
Japan: Fukuoka
Japan: Nagoya
Japan: Osaka/Kobe
Japan: Sapporo
Japan: Naha, Okinawa
Korea: Seoul | 한국어
Korea: Busan | 한국어
Laos: Vientiane
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur
Republic of the Marshall Islands:
Federated States of Micronesia:

Mongolia: Ulaanbaatar | МОНГОЛ
New Zealand: Wellington
New Zealand: VPP South Island
Papua New Guinea: Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea: Virtual Embassy
    Solomon Islands
Papua New Guinea: VPP Vanuatu
Republic of Palau: Koror
Philippines: Manila
Philippines: VPP Davao
Samoa: Apia
Thailand: Bangkok | ภาษาไทย
Thailand: Chiang Mai
Timor-Leste: Dili
Vanuatu: US Virtual Embassy
Vietnam: Hanoi | Tièng Viêt
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City | Tièng Viêt


Albania: Tirana | Shqip
Armenia: Yerevan
Austria: Vienna
Azerbaijan: Baku | Azeri
Belarus: Minsk | па-беларуску
Belgium: Brussels | Français | Nederlands
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Sarajevo | B/H/S
Bulgaria: Sofia | Български
Croatia: Zagreb | Hrvatski
Cyprus: Nicosia
Czech Republic: Prague | česky
Denmark: Copenhagen
Denmark-Greenland: VPP Nuuk
Estonia: Tallinn
Finland: Helsinki | Finnish
France: Paris | Français
France: Bordeaux
France: Lille
France: Lyon
France: Rennes
France: Toulouse
France: Marseille
France: Strasbourg
Georgia: Tbilisi | ქართულად
Germany: Berlin | Deutsch
Germany: Düsseldorf | Deutsch
Germany: Frankfurt | Deutsch
Germany: Hamburg | Deutsch
Germany: Leipzig | Deutsch
Germany: Munich | Deutsch

Greece: Athens
Greece: Thessaloniki
Hungary: Budapest | Magyarul
Iceland: Reykjavik
Ireland: Dublin
Italy: Rome
Italy: Florence
Italy: Milan
Italy: Naples
Italy: VPP San Marino
Kosovo: Pristina | Shqip | Srpski
Latvia: Riga | Latviski
Lithuania: Vilnius
Macedonia: Skopje
Malta: Valletta
Moldova: Chisinau | Română | Pycckuú
Montenegro: Podgorica
The Netherlands: The Hague
The Netherlands: Amsterdam
Norway: Oslo
Poland: Warsaw | Polski
Poland: Krakow | Polski
Portugal: Lisbon
Portugal: Ponta Delgada, Azores
Romania: Bucharest
Russia: Moscow | Pycckuú
Russia: St. Petersburg | Pycckuú
Russia: Vladivostok | Pycckuú

Russia: Yekaterinburg | Pycckuú
Russia: VPP Chelyabinsk
Russia: VPP Perm
Russia: VPP Tyumen
Serbia: Belgrade
Slovakia: Bratislava | Slovenská
Slovenia: Ljubljana
Spain: Madrid | Español
Spain: Barcelona
Sweden: Stockholm
Sweden: VPP Gothenborg
Switzerland: Bern
Turkey: Ankara | Türkçe
Turkey: Adana
Turkey: Istanbul
Ukraine: Kyiv
United Kingdom: London
United Kingdom: VPP Cardiff
The Vatican
U.S. Mission to International
   Organizations in Vienna
U.S. Mission to the EU
U.S. Mission to NATO
U.S. Mission to the OECD
U.S. Mission to the OSCE
U.S. Mission to the UN-Geneva
U.S. Mission to the UN-Rome
U.S. Mission to UNESCO


Algeria: Algiers | Français
Bahrain: Manama
Egypt: Cairo
Iraq: Baghdad | عربي
Israel: Tel Aviv
Jerusalem | عربي
VPP Gaza | عربي
Jordan: Amman

Kuwait: Kuwait City
Lebanon: Beirut | عربي
Libya: Tripoli | عربي
Morocco: Rabat
Morocco: Casablanca
Oman: Muscat | الصفحة العربية
Qatar: Doha | عربي
Saudi Arabia: Riyadh

Saudi Arabia: Dhahran
Saudi Arabia: Jeddah
Syria: Damascus
Tunisia: Tunis | Français | عربي
United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi | عربي
United Arab Emirates: Dubai
Yemen: Sana'a


Afghanistan: Kabul | دری
Bangladesh: Dhaka
Bangladesh: VPP Chittagong
Bangladesh: VPP Jessore
Bangladesh: VPP Sylhet
India: New Delhi
India: Kolkata

India: Chennai
India: Mumbai
Kazakhstan: Astana | Русский
Kyrgyz Republic: Bishkek | Русский
Nepal: Kathmandu
Pakistan: Islamabad
Pakistan: Karachi

Pakistan: Lahore
Pakistan: Peshawar
Sri Lanka: Colombo
Tajikistan: Dushanbe
Turkmenistan: Ashgabat | Türkmen dilinde | Русский
Uzbekistan: Tashkent | Русский | O'zbekcha

*The U.S. maintains unofficial relations with the people on Taiwan through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), a private nonprofit corporation, which performs citizen and consular services similar to those at diplomatic posts. See AIT's website for details.




Civics (History and Government) Questions for the Redesigned (New) Naturalization Test

The 100 civics (history and government) questions and answers for the redesigned (new) naturalization test are listed below. Applicants who filed the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, on or after October 1, 2008, should study this list. The civics test is an oral test and the USCIS Officer will ask the applicant up to 10 of the 100 civics questions. An applicant must answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test.

Although USCIS is aware that there may be additional correct answers to the 100 civics questions, applicants are encouraged to respond to the civics questions using the answers provided below.


A: Principles of American Democracy

1. What is the supreme law of the land?

the Constitution

2. What does the Constitution do?

sets up the government

defines the government

protects basic rights of Americans

3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

We the People

4. What is an amendment?

a change (to the Constitution)

an addition (to the Constitution)

5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

the Bill of Rights

6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?*





petition the government

7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

twenty-seven (27)

8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?

announced our independence (from Great Britain)

declared our independence (from Great Britain)

said that the United States is free (from Great Britain)

9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?



pursuit of happiness

10. What is freedom of religion?

You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.

11. What is the economic system in the United States?*

capitalist economy

market economy

12. What is the "rule of law"?

Everyone must follow the law.

Leaders must obey the law.

Government must obey the law.

No one is above the law.

B: System of Government

13. Name one branch or part of the government.*





the courts


14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?

checks and balances

separation of powers

15. Who is in charge of the executive branch?

the President

16. Who makes federal laws?


Senate and House (of Representatives)

(U.S. or national) legislature

17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?*

the Senate and House (of Representatives)

18. How many U.S. Senators are there?

one hundred (100)

19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?

six (6)

20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators now?*

Answers will vary. [District of Columbia residents and residents of U.S. territories should answer that D.C. (or the territory where the applicant lives) has no U.S. Senators.]

21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?

four hundred thirty-five (435)

22. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?

two (2)

23. Name your U.S. Representative.

Answers will vary. [Residents of territories with nonvoting Delegates or Resident Commissioners may provide the name of that Delegate or Commissioner. Also acceptable is any statement that the territory has no (voting) Representatives in Congress.]

24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?

all people of the state

25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?

(because of) the state’s population

(because) they have more people

(because) some states have more people

26. We elect a President for how many years?

four (4)

27. In what month do we vote for President?*


28. What is the name of the President of the United States now?*

George W. Bush

George Bush


29. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?

Richard Cheney

Dick Cheney


30. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

the Vice President

31. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

the Speaker of the House

32. Who is the Commander in Chief of the military?

the President

33. Who signs bills to become laws?

the President

34. Who vetoes bills?

the President

35. What does the President’s Cabinet do?

advises the President

36. What are two Cabinet-level positions?

Secretary of Agriculture

Secretary of Commerce

Secretary of Defense

Secretary of Education

Secretary of Energy

Secretary of Health and Human Services

Secretary of Homeland Security

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Secretary of the Interior

Secretary of Labor

Secretary of State

Secretary of Transportation

Secretary of the Treasury

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Attorney General

Vice President

37. What does the judicial branch do?

reviews laws

explains laws

resolves disputes (disagreements)

decides if a law goes against the Constitution

38. What is the highest court in the United States?

the Supreme Court

39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

nine (9)

40. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?

John Roberts (John G. Roberts, Jr.)

41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?

to print money

to declare war

to create an army

to make treaties

42. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?

provide schooling and education

provide protection (police)

provide safety (fire departments)

give a driver’s license

approve zoning and land use

43. Who is the Governor of your state now?

Answers will vary. [District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. does not have a Governor.]

44. What is the capital of your state?*

Answers will vary. [District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. is not a state and does not have a capital. Residents of U.S. territories should name the capital of the territory.]

45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?*

Democratic and Republican

46. What is the political party of the President now?

Republican (Party)

47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?

(Nancy) Pelosi

C: Rights and Responsibilities

48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.

Citizens eighteen (18) and older (can vote).

You don’t have to pay (a poll tax) to vote.

Any citizen can vote. (Women and men can vote.)

A male citizen of any race (can vote).

49. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?*

serve on a jury

vote in a federal election

50. Name one right only for United States citizens.

vote in a federal election

run for federal office

51. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?

freedom of expression

freedom of speech

freedom of assembly

freedom to petition the government

freedom of worship

the right to bear arms

52. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?

the United States

the flag

53. What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?

give up loyalty to other countries

defend the Constitution and laws of the United States

obey the laws of the United States

serve in the U.S. military (if needed)

serve (do important work for) the nation (if needed)

be loyal to the United States

54. How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?*

eighteen (18) and older

55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?


join a political party

help with a campaign

join a civic group

join a community group

give an elected official your opinion on an issue

call Senators and Representatives

publicly support or oppose an issue or policy

run for office

write to a newspaper

56. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?*

April 15

57. When must all men register for the Selective Service?

at age eighteen (18)

between eighteen (18) and twenty-six (26)


A: Colonial Period and Independence

58. What is one reason colonists came to America?


political liberty

religious freedom

economic opportunity

practice their religion

escape persecution

59. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?

American Indians

Native Americans

60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?


people from Africa

61. Why did the colonists fight the British?

because of high taxes (taxation without representation)

because the British army stayed in their houses (boarding, quartering)

because they didn’t have self-government

62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

(Thomas) Jefferson

63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

July 4, 1776

64. There were 13 original states. Name three.

New Hampshire


Rhode Island


New York

New Jersey





North Carolina

South Carolina


65. What happened at the Constitutional Convention?

The Constitution was written.

The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution.

66. When was the Constitution written?


67. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.

(James) Madison

(Alexander) Hamilton

(John) Jay


68. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?

U.S. diplomat

oldest member of the Constitutional Convention

first Postmaster General of the United States

writer of "Poor Richard’s Almanac"

started the first free libraries

69. Who is the "Father of Our Country"?

(George) Washington

70. Who was the first President?*

(George) Washington

B: 1800s

71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

the Louisiana Territory


72. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.

War of 1812

Mexican-American War

Civil War

Spanish-American War

73. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.

the Civil War

the War between the States

74. Name one problem that led to the Civil War.


economic reasons

states’ rights

75. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?*

freed the slaves (Emancipation Proclamation)

saved (or preserved) the Union

led the United States during the Civil War

76. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?

freed the slaves

freed slaves in the Confederacy

freed slaves in the Confederate states

freed slaves in most Southern states

77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?

fought for women’s rights

fought for civil rights

C: Recent American History and Other Important Historical Information

78. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.*

World War I

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

(Persian) Gulf War

79. Who was President during World War I?

(Woodrow) Wilson

80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?

(Franklin) Roosevelt

81. Who did the United States fight in World War II?

Japan, Germany, and Italy

82. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?

World War II

83. During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?


84. What movement tried to end racial discrimination?

civil rights (movement)

85. What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?*

fought for civil rights

worked for equality for all Americans

86. What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States?

Terrorists attacked the United States.

87. Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.

[USCIS Officers will be supplied with a list of federally recognized American Indian tribes.]























A: Geography

88. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.

Missouri (River)

Mississippi (River)

89. What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?

Pacific (Ocean)

90. What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?

Atlantic (Ocean)

91. Name one U.S. territory.

Puerto Rico

U.S. Virgin Islands

American Samoa

Northern Mariana Islands


92. Name one state that borders Canada.


New Hampshire


New York





North Dakota





93. Name one state that borders Mexico.



New Mexico


94. What is the capital of the United States?*

Washington, D.C.

95. Where is the Statue of Liberty?*

New York (Harbor)

Liberty Island

[Also acceptable are New Jersey, near New York City, and on the Hudson (River).]

B: Symbols

96. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?

because there were 13 original colonies

because the stripes represent the original colonies

97. Why does the flag have 50 stars?*

because there is one star for each state

because each star represents a state

because there are 50 states

98. What is the name of the national anthem?

The Star-Spangled Banner

C: Holidays

99. When do we celebrate Independence Day?*

July 4

100. Name two national U.S. holidays.

New Year’s Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Presidents’ Day

Memorial Day

Independence Day

Labor Day

Columbus Day

Veterans Day



* If you are 65 years old or older and have been a legal permanent resident of the United States for 20 or more years, you may study just the questions that have been marked with an asterisk.


How to Move to Canada From America

By Shannon S., eHow Editor

More Americans are moving to Canada each year. If you are interested in moving to Canada, here are a few steps that should help you with your move.

Instructions Difficulty: Moderate   Things You’ll Need: - Maps - Transportation - Knowledge of Canada and its processes
Step11Preparing to move to Canada: Once you’ve decided to move to Canada, you’ll want to find a place to live before you pack up and leave the United States. Fly out and get to know the country before making your decision. Find a place to live and make sure you have maps with you so you know how to get around. Decide how you will get to Canada. Will you fly and have a truck deliver your stuff? Will you rent a moving truck and tow your car? Have a plan before you pick up and leave.

 Step22Become a permanent Canadian Resident. You can’t just become a Canadian citizen by moving to Canada and living there. You have to apply for citizenship. There are six different categories or classes you can select from, including Skilled Worker Class Immigration, Business Class Immigration, Provincial Nomination, Family Class Immigration, Quebec-Selected Immigration, and International Adoption.

Step33What is Skilled Worker Class Immigration? The Skilled Worker Class is the most common and easiest way to get residency in Canada. You are evaluated on a point system. You must get at least 67 out of 100 possible points. You will be evaluated and given points based on your age, work experience, education level, adaptability, arranged employment, and language proficiency. Your criminal history will be examined. The labor market condition will also be considered before approving your application.

Step44What is Business Class Immigration? The business class is used by the self-employed, investors, and entrepreneurs. If you are self-employed, you need to have experience as well as the intentions and abilities to set up a business that will benefit you and Canadian Society. Or you need to purchase a farm and have the ability to manage it. If you are an investor, you must have experience in business and have a net worth of $800,000 Canadian. You must also invest $400,000 Canadian into the Canadian economy. If you are an entrepreneur, you must have experience in business, whether you have owned shares in a business or owned a business. You’ll need to have a net worth of $300,000 Canadian, as well as the ability to manage and own a business that creates at least one full-time job. You have three years to do this once you’ve received your Permanent Resident Card.

Step55What is Provincial Nomination? Provincial Nomination is when a province selects you to move to their province and live there. You need to contact the immigration office in the province you desire to live in and apply.

Step6What is Family Class Immigration? With family class immigration, your close family members who live in Canada can sponsor your immigration to Canada. Step7What is Quebec-Selected Immigration? Quebec-selected immigration is another process. There are six different categories to apply for within this class. They include permanent workers, businesspeople, students, temporary workers, families, and sponsored refugees. The temporary workers and students must have a desire to become permanent immigrants. Step8What is International Adoption? International adoption involves Canadian residents adopting children from foreign countries. Step9Getting a Permanent Resident Card: When you are approved for the class that you applied for, you will be given a Permanent Resident Card. Once you’ve become a permanent resident and have lived in Canada for three to four years, you qualify for Canadian Citizenship. Step10Getting Canadian citizenship: You must be at least 18 years old, know how to speak and write in English or French, and understand how Canadian society works. You must have lived in Canada for three to four years. You will take a test on the structure of Canadian government and Canadian politics. This process can take anywhere from a few months to many years. Once the process has been completed and you are approved to be a Canadian citizen, you will attend a citizenship ceremony. You will receive your certificate of Canadian citizenship and can then apply for a Canadian passport. Step11You are a Canadian citizen. Congratulations on completing the process and receiving your citizenship. Enjoy the beauty of Canada and visit the United States often. You will enjoy living in Canada.  


Canadian Automotive and Trucking Institute Cambridge, Ontario
Mississauga, Ontario Do you want an exciting, fast-paced career that allows you to work with your hands? If so, the Canadian Automotive & Trucking Institute (CATI) is the perfect place to start the journey toward the career of your dreams! With two campuses, located in Mississauga and Cambridge, Ontario, CATI is a private career college and a pioneer in automotive and transportation education.

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CATI will also ensure you receive a wide range of professional skills, from effective communication and time management to problem-solving and conflict resolution. You will also brush up on your resume writing and interviewing techniques. Whether you are a high school graduate ready to embark on your career journey, or a professional looking to make a career change, CATI is here for you.

Get proactive about your career future in the exciting automotive industry. Begin today by checking out the programs currently available at CATI!

Request Information


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