Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program

Fiscal Year 2019 Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Progam

On July 30, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for two competitive funding opportunities under the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program. Through these two opportunities, USCIS will offer up to $10 million in competitive funding for programs that help prepare lawful permanent residents (LPRs) for naturalization and promote civic assimilation through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics. 

Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services

The first opportunity is for public or nonprofit organizations that prepare LPRs for citizenship by offering both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services. 

Funding Opportunity: DHS-19-CIS-010-002
Application Deadline:     Aug. 13, 2019 (no extensions)
Estimated Number of Awards: Up to 36
Anticipated Funding Amount:  Up to $9 million
Performance Period:       Two years (comprised of two budget periods, each lasting one year)
Anticipated Award Date: September 2019
Maximum Grant Award: Maximum grant award is $250,000 ($125,000 for the first year and $125,000 for the second year)

Program Requirements

To be eligible for funding, you must provide the following types of services under the program: 

  1. Citizenship instruction to prepare LPRs for the naturalization test and interview. Your program must include:
  • Instruction in U.S. history and government for test preparation and the promotion of civic assimilation in English. We will deem your application ineligible if your program provides instruction in languages other than English;  
  • Activities that promote civic and linguistic assimilation;
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction in reading, writing, and speaking; 
  • Instruction on the naturalization process and eligibility interview;
  • A nationally standardized test of English proficiency to place and assess progress of all students enrolled under this program. At least 80 percent of post-tested students must demonstrate educational gains as evidenced by improved standardized test scores; 
  • A current adult citizenship textbook that aligns with the skill level of the students in the class (published textbooks only; we will not accept compilations of worksheets or handouts); all students must be issued a textbook for their own personal use;
  • A complete and detailed description of the proposed curriculum that includes all of the components contained in the USCIS Sample Curriculum found on the Citizenship Resource Center at uscis.gov/citizenship, including:
    • Instruction in U.S. history and government for test preparation and the promotion of civic assimilation;
    • Activities that promote civic and linguistic assimilation; 
    • ESL instruction in reading, writing, and speaking for the naturalization test, naturalization process, and to conduct required assimilation activities; and
    • Instruction on the naturalization process and eligibility interview (the N-400 process). 
  • Provision of at least 40 hours of citizenship instruction over a 10-to-12-week class cycle with managed enrollment to at least 200 students at the National Reporting System for Adult Education (NRS) low beginning to high intermediate levels; and 
  • Citizenship teachers who have at least one year of experience teaching ESL to adults and who: 
    • Hold a degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL); 
    • Hold TESOL certification from a state licensing agency; and/or 
    • Have a minimum of two years’ experience in TESOL instruction in a classroom setting for a program that uses a textbook and a structured curriculum. 

For more detailed information on the content and competencies that you must address in your grant-funded classes, please review the Guide to the Adult Citizenship Education Content Standards and Foundation Skills (PDF, 182 KB).

       2.  Naturalization application services, within the scope of the authorized practice of immigration law, to support LPRs in the naturalization application and interview process. Your organization must:

  • Provide naturalization eligibility screenings; 
  • Prepare and submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, with Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, over the two-year period of performance for at least 200 LPRs; 
  • Provide ongoing case management; 
  • Employ a Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP)-accredited representative or a licensed attorney. (You may use pro bono or volunteer attorneys to supplement the program, but not in place of the accredited representative or licensed attorney requirement.) Attorneys and accredited representatives must sign Form N-400 as the preparer, submit Form G-28 with each Form N-400 filed under this grant, and mail the naturalization application package to USCIS on behalf of the client. Your organization must have a process in place to refer individuals with cases too complex for handling to other naturalization application service providers. 

             You may also use grant funding to:

  • Prepare students for the naturalization interview;
  • Have an accredited representative or licensed attorney appear with clients at the naturalization interview;
  • File other forms or documents (such as Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions), if applicable; or
  • Prepare and file subsequent Forms N-600 for a naturalization client’s minor children. 

Eligible Applicants

Eligible entities include but are not limited to: 

  • City or township governments;
  • County governments;
  • Independent school districts;
  • Native American tribal governments;
  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than institutions of higher education;
  • Public and state controlled institutions of higher education;
  • Special district governments; and
  • State governments.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for this program, you must meet the below requirements when you submit your application:

  • You must be an organization with public or nonprofit status; 
  • If you propose to provide citizenship instruction, you must have at least one year of experience in the past three years providing direct service citizenship instruction in a classroom setting that follows a curriculum and uses a citizenship textbook. If you propose to provide naturalization application services, you must have at least one year of experience in the past three years providing naturalization application services within the authorized practice of immigration law to clients, and must:
    • Be recognized by the DOJ’s OLAP and employ at least one DOJ-accredited representative employee (partial accreditation is acceptable) with experience providing clients with naturalization representation; or
    • Have at least one attorney on staff as a paid employee with experience in providing clients with naturalization representation. 

Not Eligible

You are not eligible to receive funding under this opportunity if you are a:

  • For-profit law firm or an attorney in private practice; or
  • Current awardee or sub-awardee under the FY 2018 Citizenship and Assimilation Grant (funding opportunity DHS-18-CIS-010-001 or DHS-18-CIS-010-002).

Applicants to DHS-19-CIS-010-001 are also not eligible to apply to this program. 

 

If we determine at any point during the review process that your application does not meet these eligibility requirements, we will remove your application from further consideration. 

We will take into account various program and organizational factors, including past grantee performance, when making final award decisions. In addition, we will require you to enroll in E-Verify as a regular employer within 30 days of award and remain as a participant in good standing with E-Verify throughout the entire period of grant performance. We will require you to verify all new hires at hiring locations performing work on a program or activity that is funded in whole or in part under the grant.

Refugee and Asylee Assimilation Program

The goal of the Refugee and Asylee Assimilation Program (RAAP) is to:

  • Provide extended assimilation services that build on those received during the initial refugee resettlement period, with the primary focus on helping LPRs who entered the United States under the auspices of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) or were granted asylum to obtain the skills and knowledge required to successfully pass the naturalization test; and
  • Foster a sense of belonging and attachment to the United States.

While other federally funded refugee services primarily focus on attaining economic self-sufficiency, this grant strives to promote long-term assimilation by providing information, knowledge, and skills to enrolled participants. 

Funding Opportunity:     DHS-19-CIS-010-001
Application Deadline:  Aug. 13, 2019 (no extensions) 
Estimated Number of Awards: Up to four
Anticipated Funding Amount: Up to $1 million
Performance Period: Two years (comprising two budget periods, each lasting one year)  
Anticipated Award Date:    September 2019
Maximum Grant Award: Maximum grant award is $250,000 ($125,000 for the first year and $125,000 for the second year)

Program Requirements

To be eligible for funding, you must provide the following types of services under the program:

  1. Developing an assimilation “road map” for each LPR who will receive services, including those who have identified naturalization as a goal and those who are not yet ready to apply for naturalization and may require interim services to attain the skills and knowledge required for successful citizenship. You should assess each LPR for English language level and naturalization eligibility and provide them with information on the naturalization process and what steps they need to take to prepare for naturalization. You should consider this naturalization-focused assessment as the foundation of the individual assimilation plan, with services and referrals tailored to the specific skills, needs, and literacy level of the individual. You must include a sample of your proposed assimilation plan template with your application. You must offer to enroll each LPR in civics-based literacy, civics-based ESL, or citizenship instruction classes as appropriate. You must propose to serve a minimum of 200 LPRs who entered the United States as refugees or were granted asylum.
  2. Assimilation services (or referring to assimilation services) that address the specific needs identified in the LPR’s individual assimilation plan. You must offer access to a range of services designed to foster long-term assimilation tailored to the specific needs of the target population. These services may include:
    •    Community orientation and settlement information;
    •    Referrals to and interactions with local government and public institutions;
    •    Referrals to employment training; and
    •    Referrals to appropriate sources of information for updating or renewing previously held foreign professional credentials when applicable.

    You may propose other services based on the identified needs of the community you propose to serve.

  3. Civics-based literacy instruction, civics-based ESL instruction, and citizenship instruction to give enrolled clients the skills and knowledge needed to prepare for citizenship. You should serve students through civics-based literacy and/or civics-based ESL instruction if their English level is not at the appropriate level for citizenship instruction classes. You may directly provide this instruction or use a partner to provide these classes. You must propose to enroll and pre- and post-test a minimum of 150 LPRs enrolled in the civics-based literacy, civics-based ESL, or citizenship classes.

  4. Naturalization application services within the scope of the authorized practice of immigration law at no cost to the enrolled client. You must propose to provide a minimum of 125 naturalization eligibility screenings and submit a minimum 125 N-400 applications on behalf of enrolled clients. You cannot provide naturalization application services to individuals who have not received other services under this grant. You or your partner sub-awardee organization may provide these services.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible entities include but are not limited to:  

  • City or township governments;
  • County governments;
  • Independent school districts;
  • Native American tribal governments;
  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than institutions of higher education; 
  • Public and state controlled institutions of higher education;
  • Special district governments; and
  • State governments.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for this program, you must meet the below requirements when you submit your application:

  • You must be an organization with public or nonprofit status; 
  • You must demonstrate extensive experience with and knowledge of the provision of ongoing assimilation services to the proposed former refugee/asylee population and describe why you are uniquely suited to serve this particular population; 
  • You must demonstrate a robust network of local service providers that you have established an ongoing relationship with to provide proposed assimilation services that you will not directly provide yourself; 
  • If you propose to provide citizenship instruction, you must have at least one year of experience in the past three years providing direct service citizenship instruction in a classroom setting that follows a curriculum and uses a citizenship textbook; 
  • If you propose to provide naturalization application services, you must have at least one year of experience in the past three years providing naturalization application services within the authorized practice of immigration law to clients, and must:
    • Be recognized by the DOJ’s OLAP and employ at least one DOJ-accredited representative employee (partial accreditation is acceptable) with experience providing clients with naturalization representation; or
    • Have at least one attorney on staff as a paid employee with experience providing clients with naturalization representation. 

Not Eligible

You are not eligible to receive funding under this opportunity if you are a:

  • For-profit law firm or an attorney in private practice; or
  • Current awardee or sub-awardee under the FY2018 Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program (funding opportunity DHS-18-CIS-010-001 or DHS-18-CIS-010-002).

Applicants to DHS-19-CIS-010-002 are also not eligible to apply to this program. 

 

If we determine at any point during the review process that your application does not meet these eligibility requirements, we will remove your application from further consideration.

We will require you to enroll in E-Verify as a regular employer within 30 days of receiving the award and remain as a participant in good standing with E-Verify throughout the entire period of grant performance. We will require you to verify all new hires at hiring locations performing work on a program or activity that is funded in whole or in part under the grant.  

Application Information

To read detailed instructions and apply for either of these grants, visit grants.gov. You and any sub-applicants applying for federal funding must have a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Data Numbering System (DUNS) number and must register with the System for Award Management (SAM). 

The grants.gov website provides step-by-step instructions for obtaining a DUNS number and registering with SAM. We strongly encourage you to obtain or update all registrations related to grants.gov before the deadlines as indicated above. 
 

Contact Information

For additional information and updates on the FY 2019 Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program, visit uscis.gov/grants or email the USCIS Office of Citizenship at citizenshipgrantprogram@uscis.dhs.gov.

We will hold a stakeholder engagement on Aug. 6 to address questions about this grant opportunity. For more information on this engagement, visit uscis.gov/outreach/upcoming-national-engagements. To learn more about applying for federal funding opportunities, visit grants.gov or contact the support line at 800-518-4726.

Please direct all media inquiries to the USCIS Office of Public Affairs at 202-272-1200.

Background

Since it began in FY 2009, we have awarded $82 million through 393 competitive grants to immigrant-serving organizations in 38 states and the District of Columbia. The program has helped more than 240,000 LPRs prepare for citizenship. 

Through these grant opportunities, we seek to expand the availability of high-quality citizenship preparation services and to provide opportunities for LPRs to gain the knowledge and training necessary to promote their assimilation into the fabric of American society. Increased learning opportunities and additional citizenship instruction resources in communities will help LPRs improve their English language skills, increase their knowledge of U.S. history and government, and gain the tools to assimilate into our society and meet their responsibilities as United States citizens fully contributing to our nation. 

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