Immigrants in need of naturalization help offered free services by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

Immigrants in New York City who need assistance with their naturalization application can get free legal help through the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

The organization, in partnership with Catholic Migration Services and multiple law firms, relaunched a hotline this week that people can call to register for an upcoming clinic where attorneys will fill out the application with eligible immigrants.

NYLPI hopes to reach immigrants across the five boroughs who may not be able to afford legal services.

“Our main goal is to make sure these services are accessible and equitable for all immigrant New Yorkers,” said Annamaria Santamaria, the program associate of pro bono programs at the NYLPI.

By calling the hotline at 212-225-4400, individuals can speak with volunteers who will determine if they are eligible for naturalization. Criteria for eligibility include being at least 18 years old, being a lawful citizen who has had a green card for at least five years, paying taxes and living in the state or district where they’re applying for at least three months.

The hotline, which received more than 1,300 calls last year, will be open until April 13.

At the clinics, the first of which will be on April 21, attorneys will sit with clients one-on-one and help them fill out the application, which will be sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Santamaria said. The attorneys can also help clients fill out fee waiver forms and give them resources to study for the naturalization test.

Since beginning the partnership three years ago, NYLPI and Catholic Migration Services have served more than 550 clients, and 313 pro bono attorneys have volunteered, Santamaria said.

For immigrants who are not lawful residents, Santamaria said they are encouraged to reach out to the​​​​ Catholic Migration Services, which can provide legal assistance.