Immigrant Advancement resources
FIND IMMIGRATION LEGAL INFORMATION
Come to an immigration clinic at Boston City Hall to get free one-on-one information about immigration law from volunteer lawyers:
1 City Hall Square, Room 806
Boston, MA 02201
Volunteer lawyers are available on the first and third Wednesday of every month from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
First-come, first-served (there are no appointments). Please call at least one week in advance for interpretations (other than Spanish) and disability accommodations. The volunteer lawyers can only offer information for 15-20 minutes.
U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization process
Becoming a U.S. citizen is a very important decision. Permanent residents have most of the rights of U.S. citizens. However, there are many important reasons to consider U.S. citizenship. When you become a citizen, you will receive all the rights of citizenship. You also accept all of the responsibilities of being an American. As a citizen you can:
- Vote. Only citizens can vote in federal elections. Most states also restrict the right to vote — in most elections — to U.S. citizens.
- Serve on a jury. Only U.S. citizens can serve on a federal jury. Most states also restrict jury service to U.S. citizens. Serving on a jury is an important responsibility for U.S. citizens.
- Travel with a U.S. passport. A U.S. passport enables you to get help from the U.S. government when overseas, if necessary.
- Bring family members to the U.S. U.S. citizens generally get priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to this country.
- Obtain citizenship for children under 18 years of age. In most cases, a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen.
- Apply for federal jobs. Certain jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship.
- Become an elected official. Only citizens can run for federal office (U.S. Senate or House of Representatives) and for most state and local offices.
- Keep your residency. A U.S. citizen’s right to remain in the United States cannot be taken away.
- Become eligible for federal grants and scholarships. Many financial aid grants, including college scholarships and funds given by the government for specific purposes, are available only to U.S. citizens.
- Obtain government benefits. Some government benefits are available only to U.S. citizens.
Before you apply for naturalization, you must meet a few requirements. Depending on your situation, there are different requirements that may apply to you. However, generally, an applicant for naturalization must:
- Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Be a permanent resident (have a “green card”) for at least five years.
- Have lived within the state or USCIS district with jurisdiction over your place of residence for at least three months prior to the date of filing Form N-400.
- Have continuous residence in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
- Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the five years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
- Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
- Be a person of good moral character.
- Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.