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HIAS Chicago Citizenship Classes Offered

HIAS Chicago invites you to our Citizenship Classes to help you prepare for your citizenship interview and exam. 

Classes are taught in English by volunteer teachers.

Please check our Citizenship Preparation Programs page for more information.


A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty; An optimist sees the glass as half full. But a giving person sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might be thirsty.
~ G. Donald Gale

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HIAS Chicago is a program of Jewish Child & Family Services and a partner with the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago in serving our community.  

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I have my green card and want to bring my sister to live in the United States as a refugee. How do I begin the process?

An Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) provides a means for persons legally in the United States to request refugee processing for certain family members who have been persecuted in their native country. The specific family relationships and nationalities eligible for beginning the refugee process by filing the AOR vary from year to year according to United States Government priorities. HIAS Chicago staff is knowledgeable about who may file an AOR under current priorities. See our Services page for more information.

I just became a U.S. citizen and want to bring my mother here to live with me. How do I start the process?

HIAS Chicago staff can assist a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States to file a Petition for Alien Relative with the Immigration Service to establish the relationship to certain alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States. See our Services page for more information.

I came as a visitor to the U.S. but I am afraid to go back to my native country. It’s too dangerous. Can you help?

Every year, thousands of people come to the United States in need of protection and seek asylum because they have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. See our Services page for more information.

I am a U.S. citizen and have recently married a woman who is a native of another country. She is currently in the U.S. How can I help my new wife apply for a green card?

The spouse, parent, or unmarried child under age 21 of a U.S. citizen, who entered the U.S. legally, may be eligible to apply for permanent residence (i.e. for a green card) while staying in the U.S. The staff of HIAS Chicago will be able to help you to assess whether your relative is eligible, and to help you through the complex application procedure. See our Services page for more information.

How do I remove the conditions on my residency based on marriage?

If you gained permanent residency status by marrying a U.S. citizen, and if you achieved this status before you had been married for two years, you were given your status on a “conditional” basis. You then must apply to remove this conditional status during the 90 days immediately before the second anniversary of the date you were given conditional resident status. If you do not do so, you will automatically lose your permanent resident status and may become deportable from the U.S.  Please see our Services page for more information.

I applied for citizenship last month but I don’t know what to expect or how to prepare for my citizenship exam and interview.

Each HIAS Chicago citizenship applicant is offered extensive self-study materials for the citizenship test and interview, as well as access to our citizenship classes, bilingual tutoring, and mock interviews. A citizenship preparation CD and workbook, “Preparing for Citizenship,” is now available, incorporating the English and civics testing materials as well as interview practice material based on the N-400 application.  See our Citizenship Services page for more information.

I am getting ready for my Citizenship exam and interview and cannot help but worry if I know everything I need to. Can you help me to deal with my anxiety?

Anyone applying for citizenship through HIAS Chicago may participate in a free Mock interview. A carefully trained volunteer will meet with you and conduct a practice interview, to allow you to go through the process in a formal, yet safe environment. You will then receive valuable feedback on your performance and have an opportunity to prepare further for the interview if necessary. Additional preparation and supportive services are provided and a second practice interview may be conducted. This program has proven to be extremely valuable to those interested in becoming more familiar with the citizenship test and interview process.  See our Citizenship Services page for more information.

My mother has been a lawful permanent resident (LPR) for 5 years and is ready to apply for citizenship, but she had a stroke soon after she came to the United States, and has been unable to learn English. Is she still eligible to become a U.S.citizen?

Yes. Those applicants who are unable to learn or demonstrate knowledge of basic English and history and civics, due to a documented medical disability, may apply for a waiver of these citizenship requirements. HIAS Chicago can assist clients and their family members to apply for citizenship with a medical waiver. See our Services page for more information.

My father is scheduled for his citizenship interview next month. HIAS Chicago helped him apply with a medical disability waiver for the English and civics requirement, but who can help him at this citizenship interview?

For those HIAS Chicago citizenship applicants who have applied for citizenship with a medical disability waiver, a HIAS Chicago citizenship staff member is available to accompany the client to their citizenship interview and provide interpreter services; and when necessary, to provide advocacy on behalf of the client with immigration citizenship staff and supervisors. See our Services page for more information.

I applied for citizenship with the help of HIAS Chicago and passed my test and interview six months ago, but have not yet been scheduled for my oath. How can I find out what happened to my case?

Through its strong, working relationship with the immigration service, HIAS Chicago assists its clients by helping them to inquire about the status of their citizenship applications. In addition, HIAS Chicago advocates on behalf of clients to resolve problem situations during the application or interview process. See our Advocacy page for more information.

I am a Holocaust survivor who recently came from Russia. Can you tell me what assistance HIAS Chicago can provide to Holocaust survivors?

While growing older poses new challenges and opportunities for individuals, Holocaust survivors suffer additional complications during the aging process including experiencing feelings of loss of control and reliving painful memories. Our community is committed to providing a range of services to Holocaust survivors to support their independence. Since 2000, Holocaust Community Services has provided supportive services to the Chicago Holocaust survivor community and their families.  See our Services page for additional information.

I am looking for my long lost aunt who came to the United States right after World War II. Can you help me with this search?

The immigration process is often traumatic and disruptive. Families are separated, friends scattered and lines of communication severed. Recognizing the importance of helping long lost relatives and friends find one another, HIAS Chicago works with HIAS New York to assist clients with local, national and international location searches. See our Services page for more information.

I would like to be involved with HIAS Chicago and give back to my community. What can I do?

There are a number of ways to become involved with HIAS Chicago and to support our mission. Some of the opportunities include volunteering in our citizenship preparation program, and making a donation to the agency, just to name a few.

If you are interested in exploring the different opportunities with HIAS Chicago, see our Volunteer opportunities under Get Involved and please contact us at 312-357-4666 - we will find the right opportunity for you.

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