A good starting point for information on how to apply for asylum is at the USCIS website.
For more information on how to apply for asylum in the United States, or assistance with the application process, contact the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC). Instructions of how to schedule an appointment at the Center are available in English, Spanish and French.
Many people become lawful permanent residents through family members.
U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents have the right to help certain family members to become lawful permanent residents of the United States by obtaining what is usually referred to as “Green Card”. To do so you need to sponsor your relative and be able to prove that you have enough income or assets to support your relative(s) when they come to the U.S.
Filing the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative form is the first step in petitioning for your family member. This form is to to establish the relationship between you and the relative(s) who wish to immigrate to the United States.
U.S. citizens can petition for their:
- “Immediate Relative”: spouse, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents.
- “Family preference category”: Unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21, Married child(ren) of any age, Brothers and sisters (if the U.S. citizen petitioner is over the age of 21)
- “Family member“: Spouses, and unmarried children
Special Categories of Family:
Individuals who meet particular qualifications and/or apply during certain time frames may be able to become permanent residents.
- Battered Spouse or Child (VAWA)
- K Nonimmigrant (includes fiancé(e))
- Person Born to a Foreign Diplomat in the United States
- V Nonimmigrant
- Widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen
Contact UAO if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-949-9980
Naturalization is the process by which a foreign national is granted U.S. citizenship after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Who qualifies for Naturalization?
- Legal Permanent Residents or Green card holders for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements. Find more information here.
- Legal Permanent Residents or Green card holders for at least 3 years, married to a U.S. Citizen and meet all eligibility requirements. Find out more about Naturalization for Spouses of U.S. Citizens.
- Military Personnel with qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements.
- Child of a U.S. citizen who was born outside the U.S., is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met. Read more about Citizenship Through Parents.
Other paths to naturalization can be found at USCIS Policy Manual Citizenship and Naturalization Guidance and A Guide to Naturalization.
NB: You may already be a U.S. citizen and not need to apply for naturalization if your biological or adoptive parent(s) became a U.S. citizen before you reached the age of 18.
Applying for Naturalization
To apply for naturalization, file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Consult with an immigration attorney before applying for naturalization. Citizenship workshops provide opportunities for you to have a free one-on-one consultation with an immigration attorney. Call UAO at 312-949-9980 to find a workshop near you.
Applicants for naturalization must also pass the English, U.S. history and civics test at the Naturalization interview.
Naturalization fee waiver:
- You or your family receives public benefits (Link, Medicaid, SSI, TANF)
- Your household income is equal to or less than that listed in the table.
- $ 16,755
- $ 22,695
- $ 28,635
- $ 34,575
- $ 40,515
- $ 46,455
- $ 52,395
- $ 58,335
Online registration for the Diversity Lottery 2014 Program started on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and concludes on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4).
The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the US Department of State and conducted based on United States law, specifically Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This law provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants,” with visas made available to persons from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For Fiscal Year 2014, 50,000 diversity visas (DV) will be available.
The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random drawing chooses selectees for DVs. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, and within each region, no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year. Visas are allocated to natives of countries with historically lower rates of U.S. immigration. Natives of countries who have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past five years are not eligible to apply for the Diversity Visa program.
Any African is eligible to apply for the Diversity Lottery if they have either a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.
For more information, visit the official Diversity Lottery website at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1318.html#
To apply for the Diversity Lottery go to: www.dvlottery.state.gov.
The Western Union Family Scholarship Program helps immigrant/migrant fathers and sons, mothers and daughters and brothers and sisters move up the economic development ladder through education. Scholarships can be used for college tuition, language acquisition, technical training and GED classes, with two family members receiving a scholarship to help achieve the type of education they need in order to create a brighter future for their entire family.
- All applicants for scholarships must be age 18 or older.
- Both applicants are members of the same family.
- Applicants must have been in the United States for 7 years or less.
- Both applicants must have been born outside of the United States.
- Both applicants must be living in the United States currently.
- Applicants must reside in one of the following U.S. locations: Los Angeles, California; San Francisco, California; Denver, Colorado; Chicago, Illinois; New York, New York; Washington, DC; Miami, Florida
- The educational institutions for both of the family members must be in the United States.
- The application must include educational institutions for both the primary and secondary award recipients (the two family members).
- Scholarships may be used for tuition for college/university education, language acquisition classes, technical/skill training, and/or financial literacy.
- Scholarships may not be used for advanced degrees (such as Masters, PhD).
- Scholarships will only be made to nonprofit accredited higher education institutions and nonprofit training/educational providers.
- Western Union employees, Western Union Agents and dependents are not eligible to apply for these scholarships.
Process for Selection
Scholarship recipients are determined in a selection process independently managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE), an international non-profit educational exchange organization. All scholarship awards will be paid directly to the educational providers. No payments will be made to individuals.
August 27, 2012: Application open and available
October 19, 2012: Application due date
November 26 – 30, 2012: Notifications made
For questions related to this scholarship program, please contact the administering organization, Institute of International Education (IIE) by phone, fax, or e-mail at:
Institute of International Education
1400 K St. NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: (202) 326-7861
Fax: (202) 326-7696
The South African Consulate General in Chicago represents the Government of the Republic of South Africa in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America.
On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration announced that it would offer many DREAM Act-eligible youths protection from deportation. These youths, whether or not they are currently in deportation proceedings, will be able to apply for “deferred action,” which would temporarily shield them from deportation and enable to live and work legally in the US.
Five criteria to be met
- They must have come to the US before they turned 16;
- They must have not yet turned 30 when they apply;
- They must have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007, and must have been present in the US on June 15, 2012;
- They must currently be in school, have received a high school diploma or GED, or been honorably discharged from the US Armed Forces or the Coast Guard;
- They must not have been convicted of a felony, a “significant misdemeanor,” multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. Anyone applying for deferred action would need to go through a criminal background check.
Anyone who wants to apply should seek help only from immigration attorneys or non-profit organizations that work on immigration matters.
Find a free legal clinic in Chicago where you can get help filing your application.