NaturalizeNY to help new Americans become citizens

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The rising sun lights One World Trade as it stands over the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced the third round of Naturalize NY, the first public-private partnership in the nation that encourages, assists, and sponsors eligible New York State immigrants to become U.S citizens.

This effort includes a voucher for the $725 application fee and support in other equally important areas, such as application assistance, preparation for the naturalization exam test, and an evaluation to make sure applicants qualify for this program.

As of today, nearly 1,000 immigrants had been selected through a similar lottery process we spearheaded in 2016 and 2017. Many of the winners have already become US Citizens or are in the process to finish the steps to become one soon. This third round opens the possibilities for those who want to participate, but does not have the economic means to do it.

Governor Cuomo knows that we live in a nation of immigrants and it is that diversity which makes New York State more productive and dynamic. He also knows that for many immigrants becoming a citizen, and a permanent part of the fabric of this country, is a dream come true and that’s why he is heading NaturalizeNY efforts to support them in achieving their dream.

Who can participate in the Lottery? All New Yorkers who have a Green Card for at least five years and qualify for U.S. citizenship. They also should have an income below 300% of the Federal poverty guidelines (For example, a person who lives in a household of 4 with earnings below $ 75,000) and follow all guidelines approved by the federal government.

If you can fulfill these requirements and want more information, you can log on to www.NaturalizeNY.org or call 1-800-566-7636. You can also go to any of ONA’s 27 Opportunity Centers across the state. These Centers will offer legal assistance to evaluate your case and guide you through the entire citizenship process.

The third round of NaturalizeNY began on May 1, 2018 and will conclude on June 15, 2018. If you are eligible, please apply now.

This is a partnership between New York State and organizations such as the Robin Hood Foundation, the New York Community Trust, and academic entities allocating more than $1.25 million to help those who face the economic barriers to apply for citizenship.

According to the U.S. Census, New York has more than 915,000 legal immigrants that can apply for citizenship, but they do not apply because of the high cost of the application. Today, the State of New York and its partners are facilitating a process, so thousands of New Yorkers can fulfill their American Dream. NaturalizeNY offers that opportunity. From the Office for New Americans, Governor Cuomo has put in place robust resources for our immigrant communities and New York will continue to serve as a model for the rest of the nation on how we treat our neighbors. The NaturalizeNY lottery delivers the promise of hope to New Yorkers seeking to enjoy the full benefits of citizenship.

(Rossana Rosado is New York State Secretary of State)