GreaterCLE4Citizenship is a network of community organizations, businesses, agencies, and individuals in the Greater Cleveland area who work together to provide citizenship education and naturalization preparation assistance to help lawful permanent residents overcome barriers to citizenship and become U.S. citizens. We and our partner organizations believe that our efforts can help people to overcome the major barriers to citizenship and become engaged, active citizens of our community.
Together we can help Cleveland and Cuyahoga County’s economy grow significantly, by empowering eligible Legal Permanent Residents to naturalize.
Why is citizenship an issue?
There are 8.8 million immigrants who live and work in the U.S. legally today but have not become U.S. citizens. In Greater Cleveland, an estimated 15,000 lawful permanent residents (immigrants with green cards) currently live & work here without advancing to citizenship—despite their right to become U.S. citizens.
Why don’t permanent residents become citizens?
There are several big barriers to citizenship:
- The $725 application fee(prohibitive for many applicants)
- Inadequate English language abilities(the citizenship test is in English)
- Hard to find a knowledgeable, trustworthy, and affordable lawyer
- The path to U.S. citizenship can be long and confusing
- Many are not confident about the content of the citizenship test
The Path to U.S. Citizenship
Why become a U.S. citizen?
Permanent residents who become U.S. citizens report feeling more a part of life here; they are more rooted. Citizenship gives you the right to vote in elections. You are free to travel as you please. You are protected from deportation. Average salaries increase with naturalization, and citizens are more likely to own their own homes. These economic contributions will benefit you, your family, and your community. For more on the benefits and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship see: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/article/chapter2.pdf
Who is eligible to become a U.S. citizen?
Only legal permanent residents (people with green cards) who meet USCIS requirements are eligible to apply. See: https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/learn-about-naturalization
How do I become a U.S. citizen?
The U.S. Citizenship Information Service (USCIS) lays out three steps:
- Check your eligibility
- Complete five years of legal permanent residencein the U.S.
- Complete the naturalization process
(For more information: https://www.usa.gov/become-us-citizen)
Steps on the Pathway to Citizenship
USCIS lays out the requirements along the path to citizenship:
Meet Our New Americans
GreaterCLE4Citizenship is a collaborative effort among community organizations to offer free citizenship education, legal consultation, and citizenship application services for lawful permanent residents (individuals with green cards) who want to become U.S. citizens. Our citizenship work, in collaboration with the City of Cleveland, is part of Cities for Citizenship, a national campaign led by the mayors of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles to create and strengthen citizenship programs throughout the U.S.