The Center has the resources and tools to help you with the immigration and citizenship processes. We provide services and learning opportunities to help you get your feet on the ground and make Utica feel like home. We offer services for adjustment of status, naturalization applications, and citizenship classes.
- Immigration Services: Affidavit of Relationship, Permanent Resident Card Inquiries, relative immigrant visa petitions, and more.
- Citizenship Services: Applications for Certificate of Naturalization, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, and more.
- Learning Opportunities: ESL classes, home study learning materials, individual tutoring, and more.
- 3 DOJ Accredited Representatives to Complete Your Paperwork
- Legal consultation available twice a month
- Helped 203 People Become Citizens in 2018
Do I need to pay money to have you help me?
We charge a nominal fee for each application we assist you with. Fees change on a regular basis. Please call to ask current charges. The small fee is charged in addition to the price you must pay to USCIS for each application. Even though our service is not free our fees are lower than an attorney, we can represent you with the Department of Homeland Security and can refer you to FREE legal consultation as needed.
How can I make an appointment?
Call 315.738.1083 to schedule an appointment. All assistance is by appointment only.
What does DOJ Accredited mean?
Federal regulations at 8 C.F.R. § 1292.1(a)(4) allow non-attorney “Accredited Representatives” to represent aliens before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which includes the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). These representatives are accredited through the Recognition and Accreditation (R&A) Program, which aims to increase the availability of competent immigration legal representation for low-income and indigent persons, thereby promoting the effective and efficient administration of justice. Accredited Representatives may only provide immigration legal services through Recognized Organizations. Only non-profit, federally tax-exempt entities may apply to be recognized.
Accreditation of representatives is valid for three years. Organizations must timely apply for renewal of their representative(s)’ accreditation. The schedule for renewal of recognition and accreditation does not run concurrently. Rather, it depends on when the expiration of each occurs.
Why should I use your service and not my friend or community member?
Any mistake on your paper work can result in a severe delay or denial of your application, putting you at risk of losing your status and in some cases could lead to deportation proceedings. Individuals in your community may promise you they can complete paperwork, expedite your case, or provide special services. Only individuals registered and accredited by the Department of Justice can represent you with USCIS (United States Immigration and Citizenship Services). Often, if you are made a special promise about your paperwork, the individual who did this is acting illegally.
Use our accredited representatives to know that your paperwork will be done accurately, completely and will be accepted by USCIS. We can not guarantee that all applications will be accepted. This is the choice of the U.S. government after looking at your paperwork. However we can give you the BEST opportunity to adjust your status and eventually become a U.S. Citizen.
I have family in my home country and want to bring them to the United States, can you help?
Yes. We assist with family reunification and can assist you with paperwork. If you are a refugee with family still in a refugee camp that you wish to bring to the United States you should complete an AOR (Affidavit of Relationship) as quickly as possible after you arrive in the United States.
A member of my community promised me they could complete my application, now I can not reach them and I received a letter of denial, can you help me?
Yes. Please call us to make an appointment and tell us about your case. We CAN NOT give you any promises, but we can look at the situation, become your representative, and if needed refer you to legal support. Initial free legal consultations is offered twice a month at the Refugee Center by appointment.
How much will my immigration paperwork cost?
A list of current USCIS fees for all documents is available here. This does not include nominal feels charged by our office to assist you with paperwork.
I do not speak English, can you still help me with my paperwork?
Yes! We have immigrant staff that speak Bosnian, Burmese, Croatian, Karen, Serbian. Interpretation is available for other languages as needed. Please tell us about your language needs when you ask for an appointment.
Can you help me study for the Citizenship test?
Yes! We offer classes in collaboration with the Office for New Americans. Classes are held from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at MVRCR and 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. every Monday and Tuesday at the Utica Public Library. Individual Mock (practice) Interviews are also available by appointment. We also have volunteers to assist individuals one on one and home study materials if you can not attend class. Please call to check the class schedule.
Why are the words Citizenship and Naturalization both used to describe the process?
A person acquire United States citizenship from their US parents, while a certificate of naturalization is given to someone who later becomes a citizen via our naturalization process. Individuals who naturalize as U.S. citizens can apply for children under the age of 18 to be granted Certificates of Citizenship.
What is the Naturalization Process Like?
Refugees admitted to the United States come because they can not return home. For this reason the United Refugee Admissions program is designed with the idea that refugees, as our new neighbor, will become U.S. Citizens. For this reason, refugees can apply for their permanent residency (Green Card) after 1 year and are eligible to apply for Citizenship after 5 years in the country. The process for receiving their green card and naturalization are the same they can just apply for them on a faster timeline.
All individuals wanting to become U.S. citizens must first hold a green card. After the required length of time in the country they can apply for naturalization. Applicants must also meet other requirements, such as length of residence and continuous residence, plus English language proficiency (for both speaking and writing). In addition to completing the form Applicants are required to have biometric data complete, and must attend an interview as part of the naturalization process, take a civics test, and in certain cases must pass an additional English test. If the applicant is then approved, they’ll then attend a naturalization where they’ll have to take their Oath of Allegiance to America. Finally, the applicant will be given a certificate of naturalization, which proves US citizenship.
Do Naturalized Citizens Have Different Rights?
NO. As U.S. Citizens individuals who naturalize have the same rights under the constitution as all other citizens, they can obtain a passport and can register to vote the same day they become citizens. They are Americans just like individuals born in the country.