United States Citizenship and Immigration has earmarked $10 million to help immigrants move toward citizenship. With this, immigrant-support organizations have an opportunity to firm up resources as the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program application process is underway. Organizations receiving the grants can be awarded as much as $250,000 over a two-year period.
The Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, administered by USCIS, is designed to assist those organizations that “prepare permanent residents for naturalization and promote civic integration through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history and civics,” according to the agency. The competitive funding opportunity is available to public and nonprofit organizations offering both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services.
Eligible public and nonprofit organizations which could qualify for the grants are those like public school systems, universities and community colleges. Likewise, civic, community and faith-based organizations as well as adult-education organizations, public libraries and volunteer and literacy organizations are likely candidates offering immigrant services. State and local governments are still other entities where federal monies can filter to immigrant needs.
Among the services organizations might provide to immigrants is interview preparation, which could include things like appearance at the naturalization interview. Assistance in filing forms or documents like Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions could be another element of service provided by an organization.
USCIS accepts grant applications through May 15, 2015 with award announcements in September. The grant covers a two-year time period. Because of this, grant recipients under the fiscal year (FY) 2014 Citizenship and Integration Grant Program funding opportunity—DHSp-14-CIS-010-002—are ineligible for FY 2015 awards. USCIS opened the FY 2015 application process for the grant on April 1.
USCIS can award organizations up to $250,000 in its grant award. These funds are divided equally over the two-year period.
USCIS has administered the citizenship and integration grants since fiscal year 2009. During its time in existence, USCIS has awarded $43 million in Citizenship and Integration Grant Program awards through distribution to 222 immigrant-serving organizations. Ultimately, the grants have reached more than 100,000 permanent residents in 35 states and the District of Columbia.