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Immigrant Advancement resources

We work for the many diverse communities of Boston. Through meetings and surveys, we find out the concerns of the City’s immigrants and refugees. We also make sure they have access to the resources they need.

We can help with questions about learning Englishlegal issues, healthcare, and jobs. We'll let you know about public benefits and housing available to you. We also have information on social, government, and financial issues.

Still have questions? Contact:
Immigrant Advancement
1 City Hall Square
Room 806
Boston, MA 02201-2030

Legal help

coronavirus update: 

Due to public health concerns, immigration consultations at Boston City Hall are currently by telephone until further notice. Please call 617-635-2980 or email to make an appointment or for further questions.


Do you need immigration advice from a lawyer? The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement offers free immigration consultations on the first and third Wednesday of every month from 12 - 3 p.m. To schedule an appointment with a volunteer lawyer, call 617-635-2980 or email Interpretation and disability accommodations are available, and consultations are 15 minutes.


If you need legal representation, the Massachusetts Legal Aid Websites Project has pages for Finding Legal Aid (free or low-cost) and Lawyer Referral Services for all areas of law. If you need more help finding legal services, you can call us at 617-635-2980.

U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization process

Benefits of Citizenship

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.
Naturalization Requirements

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.
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