Kurzban Kurzban Tetzeli and Pratt P.A.

Florida companies help employees become U.S. citizens

Some Florida companies are helping immigrant employees to reach their goal of becoming U.S. citizens. They have formed a partnership with National Immigration Forum for the purpose of providing free assistance for all employees who meet the eligibility requirements for becoming a U.S. citizen. To be eligible, an applicant must be 18 years of age or older and a permanent resident for at least five years (three if married to a U.S. citizen).

Applicants have to only pay a $680 application fee, far less than the costs (including legal fees) most applicants would otherwise incur. The new program, which is called The Bethlehem Project, helps applicants who otherwise might not have been able to afford the process.

Miami-area companies participating in the program include Baptist Health South Florida, the InterContinental Hotel, American Apparel, Miami-Dade College, and The Betsy Hotel. In addition to Miami, three other cities - Los Angeles, San Jose, and Washington D.C. - are also participating in The Bethlehem Project. Miami is expected to be the most active due to the fact that South Florida is home to half a million immigrants who are eligible for U.S. citizenship.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to be an employee of a company that is a member of The Bethlehem Project, but help may be available for people in South Florida who are eligible for U.S. citizenship. An attorney with experience in immigration and naturalization law who specializes in U.S. permanent residency could help with preparing and filing the necessary applications on their behalf. Such an attorney may also be able to provide advice regarding other matters involving residency status.

Source: Miami Herald, "Local companies help their employees become U.S. citizens", Gustavo Solis, September 17, 2013

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