The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

38. Do I have to apply for citizenship if I am not a citizen?

Certain EAEDC recipients who are eligible to become U.S. citizens (naturalize) within the next three years are required to "engage in efforts" to naturalize. 106 C.M.R. § 703.440(C)(1)(b).

This rule applies to you only if you are a legal permanent resident (LPR) and you are physically and mentally able to do so.

Noncitizens who are not LPRs are not eligible to naturalize until they are LPRs and meet certain residency rules. The Mass. Office of Refugees and Immigrants coordinates with community-based organizations to provide U.S. civics and English classes as well as other naturalization assistance to LPRs. Visit https://www.miracoalition.org/resources-citizenship or call 617-350-5480 for a listing of the citizenship services closest to you.

If you are an LPR who is eligible to naturalize, DTA will ask you for proof of your efforts. This proof can include a statement from a community-based organization, a lawyer representing you, or copies of documents showing you have filed an application with USCIS. 106 C.M.R. § 703.440(C)(2).

If you are an LPR not eligible to naturalize - for any reason - get a statement from your lawyer or organization helping you and bring this statement to DTA.

If you need to delay applying for U.S. citizenship, you can claim "good cause". Good cause can include if you are unable to proceed with naturalizing due to "a serious family situation or illness." Good cause can also include lack of financial resources  to pay the USCIS citizenship application or other legal fees, lack of transportation to get to the provider or lack of community resources to assist with the citizenship process. See DTA Field Operations Memo 2007-55 (October 5, 2007).

Be sure to consult an immigration specialist or citizenship organization if you have questions about this.

Advocacy Reminder:

Failure to work towards naturalization is NOT a reason for DTA to deny your EAEDC application. See DTA Field Operations Memo 2007-55 (October 5, 2007). 
 


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