The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is helping make the pathway to citizenship a little smoother for immigrants by offering up to $10 million in competitive funding grants for citizenship preparation programs offered in communities across the country.
The continuation of its Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, which is available to public or non-profit organizations that apply by May 18, boosts programs that prepare permanent residents for citizenship by offering both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services.
The USCIS can award grants of up to $250,000 divided over two years. On the citizenship instruction side, organizations receiving grants assist permanent residents in gaining knowledge of civics and English by offering formalized coursework. Immigrants taking these courses become educated about U.S. history and government and demonstrate an ability to read, write and speak English.
Organizations eligible for the grants must also provide naturalization application services, giving permanent residents support in the naturalization application and interview process. Specifically, these organizations prepare and submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization and Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative. Ongoing case management is another feature of grant recipient organizations.
The USCIS awards the grants to public and private nonprofit organizations, public school systems, universities and community colleges as well as civic, community and faith-based organizations. Other types of eligible organizations include adult-education organizations, public libraries, volunteer and literacy organizations and also state and local governments.
Since the inception of the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program in fiscal year 2009, the USCIS awarded approximately $33 million through 182 grants to organizations across 33 states and the District of Columbia. The organizations assisted more than 78,000 immigrants in their efforts toward U.S. citizenship.