Community-Based Organizations

Community-based organizations, including faith-based, service-based, and fraternal organizations, play an important role in supporting immigrants through the naturalization process, which is an impactful form of community service that strengthens our nation. Organizations can get involved in local citizenship preparation efforts in a variety of ways, such as offering classes or providing space for citizenship and English classes, participating in a naturalization ceremony, or holding an event to promote and celebrate the meaning and importance of U.S. citizenship. Below are ways we can work together.

Outreach Events/Community Engagement

  1. Coordinate with USCIS to offer an information session on naturalization for aspiring citizens and invite a local USCIS representative to present on immigration topics relevant to your community. USCIS sessions are free of charge and open to the public. Topics covered at USCIS sessions will include naturalization eligibility requirements, the naturalization process, the naturalization test, and the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. To invite USCIS to attend an event in your area, contact Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov.

  2. Get involved in a naturalization ceremony. The naturalization ceremony is a pivotal milestone in the naturalization process. USCIS aims to make naturalization ceremonies meaningful events in the lives of the participants. If you are interested in participating in or attending a ceremony, please contact Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov.

  3. Post naturalization information on your organization’s website to direct users to USCIS web-based resources. We have found the internet to be an effective and important tool to reach audiences interested in naturalization. To assist you, we have sample web page content (PDF, 45 KB) with helpful links to key USCIS resources and information.

  4. Add a widget to your website to easily link to USCIS naturalization information and resources. The widgets are small online applications in English and Spanish that can be embedded on social media sites, blogs, or other web pages to direct users to USCIS web content.

  5. Combat immigration scams. Immigration scams and the unauthorized practice of immigration law pose a serious threat to immigrant communities. A variety of educational tools, public service announcements, and information on finding authorized legal assistance are available for distribution on our Avoid Scams web page.

  6. Order one free copy of the Civics and Citizenship Toolkit. The Toolkit contains immigration and citizenship publications, handbooks, and multimedia tools designed for organizations with experience working with immigrant communities as well as those who are just getting started. You may use the Toolkit to provide basic information to the immigrant community, develop content for citizenship classes, and train staff and volunteers. Additional copies are available for purchase through the U.S. Government Bookstore. You can share information about the toolkit with organizations that serve immigrants in your community.


Training and Technical Assistance

  1. Attend a USCIS training event. We offer free citizenship-focused training seminars for adult educators, volunteers, and teachers. These seminars are designed to enhance the skills needed to teach U.S. history, civics, and the naturalization process to immigrant students. They include hands-on practice developing effective citizenship curriculum, lesson plans, and classroom activities incorporating civics content.

    Find out more information about upcoming trainings at uscis.gov/teachertraining.

  2. Download a start-up guide (PDF, 753 KB) for establishing ESL, civics, and citizenship education programs.  This practical guide provides an overview and detailed recommendations for designing and implementing English as a second language (ESL) and civics/citizenship classes for adult immigrants. It also includes lesson plans and teaching strategies for beginning and seasoned ESL instructors.

  3. Engage volunteers in adult citizenship education classrooms with a series of training modules developed by USCIS. These training modules are designed to equip adult citizenship education volunteers in community programs with a basic understanding of adult second language acquisition and the naturalization process, including the interview and test. After reviewing the modules, volunteers will be able to use this information and additional USCIS resources to prepare learners for the naturalization process.

    You can plan a training and discussion session for volunteers using the training modules, or share the training modules with civic volunteer coordinators through your communication channels such as internal and external websites, mailing lists, and resource guides.


Citizenship Education and Naturalization Preparation Grants

  1. Apply for federal funding under the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program. Public schools, local public education agencies, and state and local governments can apply for competitive grant opportunities as long as they have demonstrated experience providing citizenship education and/or naturalization preparation services to permanent residents. Future funding opportunities are dependent upon congressional action.


Resources

  1. Visit and link to the Citizenship Resource Center at www.uscis.gov/citizenship. This website provides comprehensive naturalization information, study materials, and resources for adult learners, teachers, and organizations that serve immigrants.

    The Citizenship Resource Center also includes downloadable posters and flyers promoting the rights, responsibilities, and importance of U.S. citizenship. You can hang posters and distribute flyers at your organization.

  2. Visit and link to Settling in the U.S. (www.uscis.gov/tools/settling-us), which provides new immigrants with basic information about living in the United States. This section of the USCIS website includes information on immigration and citizenship, education, employment, health care, emergencies, personal finance, and child care in addition to a variety of other practical topics.

  3. Visit the Welcome to the United States web page to find our orientation guide, Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants. This guide contains practical information to help immigrants settle into everyday life in the United States, as well as basic civics information that introduces new immigrants to the U.S. system of government. We offer the guide in 14 languages online or you may purchase it in English, Spanish, and Chinese through the U.S. Government Bookstore.