Becoming a U.S. citizen is a dream for many people living in this country. However, the process can be costly and complicated. Fortunately, there is assistance available for those residing in vulnerable and underserved areas of the United States who wish to obtain citizenship through naturalization.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a grant program totaling $22 million for 65 organizations across 29 states with the aim of helping Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) prepare for naturalization.
Who Is Eligible for Citizenship?
U.S. citizenship can be obtained either through the N-400 form submitted to USCIS or through U.S. citizen parents. Here are some categories that qualify for citizenship:
- Legal Permanent Residents with at least five years of that status.
- Spouses of U.S. citizens who have been married for at least three years after obtaining residency.
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Children of U.S. citizens.
It is important to note that there may be other specific requirements depending on each individual applicant's situation.
The Grants Program for Vulnerable Communities
This grants program has been implemented based on Executive Order 14012 issued by President Joe Biden in February 2021. The order aims to "restore faith in the legal immigration system and strengthen efforts to integrate and include new citizens."
USCIS has increased the grants program by $5 million for fiscal year 2023 compared to fiscal year 2022. These grants are allocated to organizations that prepare immigrants for naturalization and promote civic integration through English language learning, U.S. history, and civic education.
"USCIS is committed to making the United States a stronger, more inclusive, and welcoming nation. We encourage naturalization by educating remote, underserved, and vulnerable populations about the benefits of citizenship and the naturalization process."
This grants program has delivered approximately $155 million through 644 competitive grants to organizations serving immigrants in 41 states and the District of Columbia since its inception in 2009. To date, it has assisted over 300,000 Legal Permanent Residents in preparing for U.S. citizenship through naturalization.
How Citizenship Grants Are Awarded
Citizenship grants are awarded through three competitive funding opportunities:
- Citizenship Education and Naturalization Application Services (CINAS): These funds are allocated to public or nonprofit organizations that provide citizenship education services and related naturalization application services.
- Community and Regional Integration Network Grants (CARING): These grants focus on individualized programming for specific immigrants, including those who entered the U.S. under the Refugee Admission Program, received asylum, or were admitted as Cuban or Haitian entrants. Additionally, this opportunity has expanded to include other vulnerable populations.
- Innovations in Citizenship Preparation Program: This grants opportunity promotes creative approaches to prepare immigrants for naturalization and enhance their civic, language, and cultural integration in communities.
General Requirements for Citizenship
To apply for citizenship, Legal Permanent Residents must meet several requirements, including:
- Being at least 18 years old when submitting Form N-400.
- Having been a Legal Permanent Resident for at least five years when filing Form N-400.
- Demonstrating physical presence in the U.S. for a specific period.
- Maintaining good moral character.
- Demonstrating English language skills and knowledge of U.S. history.
- Passing the Citizenship Exam.
- Taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States..
With these grants available, the naturalization process becomes more accessible for those living in vulnerable and underserved communities, paving the way toward U.S. citizenship and the creation of a more inclusive nation. If you are interested in this program, we encourage you to seek out local organizations that can provide support in your naturalization process. Citizenship is closer than you think!
It's important to consult the USCIS website for further details. This information is for informational purposes only.
Need legal assistance?
At Canto Legalwe have a team of immigration law specialists who can help you navigate immigration processes. We offer comprehensive legal services and can assist you in meeting all legal requirements. Call us at +1 667-308-2264, send us a WhatsApp message at +1 667-444-2320, or email us at [email protected] to schedule a free consultation and learn more.