December 28th, 2011

Citizenship and permanent residency in the US

Hello again everyone. The information you guys gave me last time was really helpful so I thought I'd see if you guys could help me with a question about gaining permanent residency in the US. I have tried googling permanent residency requirements but what with all the different visas and whatnot I'm rather confused.

The situation is that my character's (British) father divorced his mother when he was four and married an American lady, who he now lives with in California, two years later. As far as I understand the father would be granted permanent resident status on his marriage and would be able to apply for citizenship after three years. What I'd like to know is once his father becomes a US citizen would my character (a minor) be eligible to become a permanent resident? If so then how long would such a process typically take? Would he actually have to reside in the country for a specific amount of time or could it be done while he was living with his mother back in the UK? 

Apologies if these are all really obvious questions but my head is spinning right now.

Retaining an acquired accent?

I realize this is probably a very subjective question, but...

How long might a native English speaker (from California) retain some detectable Russian accent after returning to the USA, after spending 6 to 7 years speaking (and exposed to) nothing but Russian?

I know some people 'carry' accents for a while that they are exposed to for any length of time (I used to be one). My google-fu is mostly returning articles on Foreign Language Symptom, which is not what I want. (And I the only one who hates Google's new search algorithm?)

His Russian, of course, is spoken with an American accent, but I'm not concerned with that. My character needs to be mistaken for a Russian by someone who knows nothing about him but what he can see and hear. How soon do they have to meet after my character gets back? How long before there isn't likely to be any Russian accent left? Is there anything that would reduce or lengthen the time span?

Setting is current-ish, so travel time isn't a factor.