UAO aims to serve as the African Community Resource Clearinghouse wherein constituents gather, access information, share experiences, exchange views, and coordinate organizational capacity development. UAO's hub of resources on this website is intended to assist community members in navigating services, programs and resources that are available to help them cope better in the United States.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), an office of the United States government, provides support for refugee populations in the United States. For more information, visit the ORR website.
The Golden Door Coalition is a coalition of individuals and organizations committed to the resettlement of refugees in Illinois with dignity and the support necessary to thrive in our nation. Its members represent a broad range of ethnic communities, faith communities, employers, community-based organizations and others.
For more information, visit the website: www.goldendoorcoalition.org
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
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.