For more than 200 years, America has remained strong because of its diverse citizenship and the common civic values we share.
On National Citizenship Day, April 30, 2011, local attorneys will help lawful permanent residents achieve their American dream by applying for U.S. citizenship. Co-sponsored by 15 community organizations, National Citizenship Day has broad support in the Philadelphia Area.
National Citizenship Day clinics in Philadelphia and Upper Darby will be staffed by volunteer attorneys, legal assistants, interpreters and other community members. These teams will guide eligible permanent residents through the application for naturalization and represent them in the process. Applicants will be able to consult with professionals and ensure that their documentation is complete. National Citizenship Day assistance is available at no cost, and therefore is aimed at eligible low-income permanent residents who would not otherwise be able to afford assistance with the application process. An application for U.S. citizenship is usually a three-step process. After a qualifying period as a legal permanent resident, an eligible applicant may submit an Application for Naturalization to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (the USCIS).
After submitting the application, applicants will be scheduled for an interview with the USCIS. Interviews include an English language test and a U.S. civics test at the interview, though older, long-time permanent residents may be eligible to take the civics test in their own language and/or study from a smaller set of civics questions.
National Citizenship Day attorneys will accompany applicants to their interviews whenever possible. The last step of the citizenship process is the oath ceremony. Applicants declare their allegiance to the United States and promise to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America. Most citizenship ceremonies are inspiring, joyous occasions – happy conclusions to long life journeys.
Becoming a U.S. citizen is a win-win for immigrants and the communities they live in. New citizens gain voting rights, personal and family security, and job opportunities. In turn, they help keep America strong and vibrant by contributing their voices to the civic dialogue, their efforts and initiatives to growing and innovating our economy, and their dedication to the American ideals of freedom and democracy.
Philadelphia Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA), Esperanza* (host site), HIAS and Council Migration Services of Philadelphia, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania, CEIBA, the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania.