Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Citizenship Day To Assist Permanent Residents

Published April 2, 2009

Chapter attorneys and trained volunteers will provide assistance at no cost at five Atlanta Metro area locations during this one-day event. The event will take place at locations in Atlanta, Roswell, Smyrna, Decatur and Doraville between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

This marks the third year that the Citizenship Day event will be conducted on a national scale. Last year, 25 AILA chapters participated and organized more than 65 sites nationwide, which were staffed by more than 500 attorney and 800 non-attorney volunteers serving over 1,900 legal permanent residents on the road to citizenship.

AILA’s Atlanta Chapter will again partner with various community-based organizations including Catholic Charities, the North Fulton Bar Association, the Latin America Association, Refugee Resettlement & Immigration Services of Atlanta, the Child Development Association, Georgia Association for Latino Elected Officials and the Center for Pan-Asian Community Services to provide free assistance with the U.S. citizenship application process.

Citizenship Day 2009 is being co-chaired by AILA immigration attorneys Elizabeth Garvish and Ken Levine. Garvish noted that “this annual event highlights one of the most important events in an immigrant’s life: becoming a U.S. citizen.”

Attorneys and volunteers from across the country will come together on one day to demonstrate the importance of being a U.S. citizen and assist others on their road to naturalization.

Lawful permanent residents, or green card holders, may apply for U.S. citizenship. Citizenship confers the right to vote, bear a U.S. passport, petition for relatives abroad and obtain public benefits.

Recent developments and initiatives regarding immigration issues, including a dramatic increase in the filing fees for naturalization cases, among others, and the increased difficulty of the required testing for naturalization applicants, have resulted in an even greater surge of lawful permanent residents seeking citizenship as they become eligible to do so.

To apply for citizenship, an individual must be at least 18 years old and have been a lawful permanent resident for five years or for three years if married to a U.S. citizen. In addition, applicants must demonstrate that they can read, write and speak in ordinary English, have paid income taxes, pass a U.S. history and government test and take the oath of allegiance to the United States.

Those seeking naturalization should bring their permanent resident cards, a filing fee of $675, two color passport photos, a list of home addresses for the past five years, a list of employer names and addresses for the past five years, and dates of travel outside of the U.S. since becoming a permanent resident. For a detailed list of instructions, contact Garvish at (678) 904-0085 or

In Atlanta the citizenship drive and information session will be held at the Latin American Association, 2750 Buford Highway. The Roswell drive will be held at the Child Development Association, 89 Grove Way. St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 4300 King Springs Rd, Smyrna, will host the event. In Decatur, Refugee Resettlement & Immigration Services of Atlanta will host the event at 4151 Memorial Dr., 205D. And the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) will host the naturalization drive at 3760 Park Avenue, Doraville.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Garvish at (678) 904-0085 or