The Citizenship and Civic Participation Program accompanies citizenship candidates through the entire naturalization process and beyond. CARECEN assists those eligible for naturalization with preparing their application and prepares candidates to take the U.S. naturalization examination by offering civics and civics-focused ESL classes, individual tutoring, mock citizenship interviews and any other support needed to successfully complete the process and become a U.S. Citizen. The program also promotes community participation in local civic and democratic action through organizing, advocacy and training for community members, targeted media efforts to increase citizen education, election and voting forums, and voter registration campaigns.
Citizenship Info Sessions and Workshops: CARECEN conducts activities to inform people about the process of becoming a US citizen (eligibility requirements, application steps, timeline and more), screen them for eligibility, and assist those eligible with filing their Form N-400 Application for Naturalization to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Please call us to find out about upcoming info sessions.
Citizenship Classes: CARECEN offers quarterly 12-week citizenship classes to prepare eligible individuals for the naturalization exam. The classes cover the knowledge of history and government necessary to answer the 100 civics questions on the exam. Class activities include a trip to the National Archives, the American History Museum, the Capitol or other DC landmarks. At the culmination of the 12 week period, the students are evaluated through a mock citizenship interview. Classes are offered Tuesdays, 6-8 PM and Saturdays, 10 AM-12 PM, or 2:30-4:30 PM.
Civics-focused English Classes: The ESL classes complement the civics classes by providing practice in oral, written and reading English in order to enable candidates to pass the English portion of the citizenship exam. Class activities include conversation practice with outside groups of volunteers who come every other week to talk to our students and help them improve oral comprehension and speaking skills. Classes are offered Wednesdays, 6-8 PM and Saturdays, 12:30-2:15 PM.
Computer Lab: Our newly created computer lab enables enrolled students to make use of online citizenship resources such as: USCIS Citizenship Resource Center, Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship and our very own computer-based curriculum. Computers are used for class activities and additional practice and self testing during times agreed on with the citizenship staff.
Tutoring: As the exam date nears, CARECEN offers individual tutoring to those who need intensive practice before their interview. Candidates are paired up with volunteer tutors and they meet at CARECEN, typically twice a week, to practice their English and answering the exam’s history and government questions.
Interview Preparation: Before their appointment, candidates receive an orientation with instructions on what to take member or volunteer may accompany eligible students to their interview to provide interpretation services. Please call us to make an appointment at (202) 328-9799 Ext. 223. to their interview, what to expect, and how to be prepared for their interview.
Citizenship Loan Program: CARECEN partners with ACCESO, a bilingual branch of the DCGECU, to offer the “New Americans Loan Program”, an initiative through which we aim to make naturalization and other immigration related processes affordable, by removing the high cost barrier and by offering a low interest, one-year micro-loan. This program also provides financial literacy and asset building opportunities to members of the diverse communities each institution serves. To apply for this loan, citizenship applicants must first be screened and found eligible for naturalization by CARECEN.
Citizenship Oath Ceremony and Voter Registration: CARECEN often celebrates its students’ naturalization by taking part in the oath ceremony or organizing community events where new citizens and CARECEN graduates can share their interview/exam experience with their peers. CARECEN also follows up to encourage voter registration and civic participation.
Interview Interpretation: Qualified staff members may accompany a citizenship applicant who is eligible for the language exemption (under the 55/15 or 50/20 rule) and provide interpretation services. Those who need assistance should contact our office as soon as they receive their notice to appear for the interview before USCIS.
This program is run mostly with highly qualified volunteers. Please visit our Volunteer page for a description of each opportunity related to the civic education program.
This program is made possible with generous support from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the DC Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs, the Rotary Foundation, and the Inter-American Development Bank- DC Solidarity Program.