Citizenship Day, September 17, is approaching, and organizations across the country will be helping immigrants fill out their naturalization application forms in large naturalization workshops. (For a schedule of workshops being conducted by NAC partners leading up to Citizenship Day, click here.)
These workshops are not possible without the help of scores of volunteers. Volunteers need to be trained before they are plunked down across the table from an immigrant who must fill out the long, complicated naturalization form. A mistake could delay the grant of citizenship. Even worse, incorrect information on the form could result in the government questioning the immigrant’s status.
For large workshops, it is difficult for the sponsoring organization or organizations to properly train all the volunteers in a timely manner. There are now a number of online resources available to volunteers so that they may receive training on their own before they appear for duty at a naturalization workshop. If you are interested in volunteering at a naturalization workshop, now or in the future, check out one of the following:
Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC) offers a free “Rapid E-Learning” course titled “Volunteers Helping Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens: The Naturalization Group Application Workshop.” This course aims to give a basic understanding of naturalization law and the group application workshop model. Once the on-line course is completed (it takes 40 minutes to an hour), the participant receives a certificate and is linked to organizations that may host naturalization workshops. To sign up for the course CLICK HERE.
The Asian American Justice Center and the Asian Law Caucus recorded a series of videos for the San Francisco Pathways to Citizenship Initiative to train volunteers at a naturalization workshop that was conducted on June 7. The four videos are now available on Vimeo and cover: Naturalization Eligibility Screening; Fee Waivers for Naturalization; Training on Preparing Naturalization Applications; and English Assessment Training. These videos can be obtained HERE.
Another video was recorded by the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, another NAC partner. This 1 1/2-hour video covers an overview of naturalization law and process. The majority of the video goes through the 21-page application form and explains what is needed for each question. You can watch that video at THIS LINK.
Should you decide to volunteer at a naturalization workshop, these videos will give you an idea of what will be needed from you, and you’ll already have a good foundation for any additional orientation the sponsoring organization will present its volunteers.