March 31, 2016 | Director's Corner

Allan Wernick, Esq. – Director of CUNY Citizenship Now!

The national debate over immigration policy has led an increasing number of permanent residents to apply for U.S. citizenship.  This demand has overwhelmed many non-profit immigration legal service providers. Organizations like Citizenship Now! are easing the burden on their staff and volunteers by using Citizenshipworks (www.citizenshipworks.org), a free online naturalization application tool. The Immigration Advocates Network developed Citizenshipworks as a self-help program for permanent residents seeking U.S. citizenship.  At CUNY Citizenship Now! we’ve been using the software to help CUNY students as well as other community members. Citizenshipworks allows applicants to complete USCIS Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, at their own pace in English or Spanish.

Citizenshipworks starts by asking questions to find out whether the user qualifies to naturalize. Along the way, it provides explanations of why each question is being asked. If it finds an obstacle, it explains the problem and guides the user to legal help. If a user passes the screening interview, they will be prompted to create an account to complete the form online. Application progress can be saved and users can come back to it later.

After completing an application, the user can set up a video chat appointment with an experienced immigration lawyer. This is all completed at no charge.  If the applicant wants or needs to speak to an immigration lawyer in person, Citizenshipworks directs the applicant to qualified nonprofit legal service providers.

For many applicants, Citizenshipworks provides simple, user- friendly guidance in completing the N-400.  We will keep you updated as CUNY Citizenship Now! continues to invest in the use of Citizenshipworks.  Welcome to the future!