United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program for fiscal year 2015 on April 1, 2015. This program is a competitive grant funding opportunity for organizations that prepare permanent residents for naturalization and promote civic integration through increased knowledge of U.S. history, English and civics. The government has appropriated a total of $10 million to be distributed to 40 possible grant awardees, each of whom are eligible to receive a maximum grant award of $250,000 over two years.
To be eligible for a grant, each organization must provide both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services. Specifically, the former must include instruction to prepare lawful permanent residents (LPRs) for the civics (U.S. history and government) and English (reading, writing and speaking) sections of the naturalization test. The latter requirement entails providing services within the confines of immigration law to assist LPRs in the naturalization application and interview process. Each of these requirements has several sub-requirements that must be fulfilled to remain eligible.
Interested organizations may hold public or nonprofit status. However, as this award is based on a two-year grant-disbursement schedule, grant awardees for fiscal year 2014 are not eligible to apply for a grant this year. Applicants must apply electronically for the grant using the application package and instructions available at www.grants.gov.
Since the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program commenced in 2009, USCIS has awarded at least $43 million in funding through 222 grants. Through this funding, immigrant-serving organizations have provided citizenship preparation services to more than 100,000 LPRs in 35 states and the District of Columbia. USCIS created this program to increase the availability of first-rate citizenship preparation services. In doing so, LPRs are able to improve their English language skills, enhance their knowledge of U.S history and government, and better understand the rights and responsibilities enjoyed by U.S. citizens.
If you are an LPR and have questions about pursuing naturalization, please contact our office today to schedule a consult with one of our attorneys.