The American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Georgia Chapter is providing free consultation on Saturday, March 24, 9 a.m. — 2 p.m., in Atlanta, Decatur, Gainesville and Roswell for persons interested applying to become U.S. citizens.
Some 20 community organizations, four local law schools and 25 immigration attorneys are volunteering to consult legal permanent U.S. residents on the process of applying for U.S. citizenship.
“We are not going to be giving legal advice, we are just there to assist Georgia’s law-abiding legal permanent residents in the naturalization application process,” said Event Chair Elizabeth L.A. Garvish, immigration attorney with Atlanta firm Marchman & Kasarie LLC.
She told GlobalAtlanta that qualified individuals who come to the event with all of the required documentation will be able to complete their citizenship application on site. If it is not clear that an individual qualifies for naturalization or has specific challenges in applying, volunteers at the event can refer him or her to an immigration attorney.
“We are just going to make it easier for everyone to get through the process,” Ms. Garvish said.
To apply for U.S. citizenship, applicants must be legal permanent residents who hold “green cards.” Citizens have the right to vote, carry a U.S. passport, petition for relatives abroad to come to the U.S. and obtain public benefits.
To apply for citizenship, one must be at least 18 years old by the date of filing, have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years or three years if married to a U.S. citizen, have been present in the U.S. for two and a half of the past five years or one and a half of the past three if married to a U.S. citizen, and have not been outside the U.S. for one year or more within the last five years or three years if married to a U.S. citizen.
Applicants must also have been a residents for at least three months in the state in which they are filing their applications, be able to speak, read and write English, be able to pass a U.S. history and government exam, be persons of “good moral character,” and be willing to take an oath of loyalty to the United States.
Free assistance with the application process is to be given in Atlanta at the Latin American Association, 2750 Buford Highway, Atlanta, 30324; in Decatur at the Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta, 4151 Memorial Drive, Suite 205D, Decatur, 30032; in Gainesville at the Community Service Center, 430 Prior St. NE, Gainesville, 30501 and in Roswell at Roswell City Hall, 38 Hill St., Roswell, 30075.
Partnering with AILA in the efforts are the Asian/Pacific American Council of Georgia, Atlanta Bar Asylum Project, Atlanta Junior Chamber International (Jaycees), Catholic Charities Inc., Emory Immigration Law Society, Filipino-American Association of Greater Atlanta, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), Georgia State University Law School students, Indian Professionals Network, Japan-America Society of Georgia, John Marshall Law School students, Latin American Association, Malaysian Association of Georgia, North Fulton Bar Association, Organization of Chinese Americans, Refugee Family Services, Inc., Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta, Southern Center for International Studies and University of Georgia Law School students.
The Georgia Chapter of AILA is one of more than 20 state chapters in the U.S. hosting this type of “Naturalization Day” event.
AILA is an association of more than 10,000 attorneys and law professors. It is comprised of 35 chapters and more than 50 national committees.
What to bring to Naturalization Day
Your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
$330 filing fee (no fee if active military — bring proof of status)
$70 fingerprinting fee (no fee if over the age of 75)
2 color passport photos — see photo instructions
List of home addresses for the past five years and the dates in which you resided at these addresses
List of employer names and addresses for the past five years, including the dates you worked with these employers
Dates you have been outside of the U.S. since becoming a permanent resident and the countries you traveled to during these trips
If possible bring an interpreter to translate
If the name on your green card is different than your current legal name:
Proof your spouse had been a citizen for the past 3 years (spouse’s birth certificate, naturalization certificate, certificate of citizenship, US passport, or form FS240);
Current marriage certificate;
Proof of termination of all prior marriages of your spouse (divorce decrees, annulment, or death certificates);
Document showing that you and your spouse are still living together (examples: tax returns, bank statements, leases, mortgages, birth certificates of your children, IRS-certified copies of income taxes for the past 3 years or IRS tax return transcript for the last 3 years).
If you have been married more than one time:
Bring proof that ALL earlier marriages ended (Divorce decree(s), annulment(s); or death certificate(s)).
If you have taken a trip outside the U.S. lasting longer than 6 months since becoming a Permanent Resident:
Bring IRS tax return “transcript” for last 5 years (or last 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen);
Rent or mortgage payments;
If you have a dependent spouse or children who do not live with you bring:
Any court order to provide financial support;
Evidence of your financial support (examples: cancelled checks, money orders receipt, evidence of wage garnishments, or letter from parent guardian who cares for your children).
If you think you have been arrested, detained, or if you have had to appear before a court for any reason whether in the last five years or earlier:
Bring ALL documents relating to the arrest, conviction, court appearance, and final disposition;
EXCEPTION — Minor traffic violations (examples: parking tickets, speeding tickets).
If your federal, state, or local taxes are overdue (or you have failed to pay them):
Bring copies of any documents, letters, or papers you sent to or received from the government about the problem.
Selective Service: In general, all men ages 18 to 25 present in the U.S. (regardless of citizenship or immigration status) are required to register for the U.S. Selective Service. Only men who are in the U.S. in valid nonimmigrant status (i.e. on a student, temporary worker, or visitor’s visa) while 18 to 25 are not required to register. If you were required to register at any time when you were in the U.S., even if you are at an age which does not require you to register now, please bring proof of your registration.
If you do not have proof of your registration, you can go to the Selective Service web site (www.sss.gov), enter your name, Social Security number, and birth date, and make a print out showing that you registered. Bring this print out with you. Or you can call (847) 688-6888 or (847) 688-2576 to get proof that you registered. You should submit this with your naturalization application.
Questions? E-mail Chair Elizabeth L.A. Garvish at firstname.lastname@example.org
Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories
Georgia Chapter of AILA
Naturalization Day Information: Ms. Garvish at (678) 904-0085.
What to bring to Naturalization Day