The state of New York has announced its intentions to host a lottery which will cover the US Citizenship fees for nearly 2,000 immigrants over the next 12 months.
The ‘NaturalizeNY’ programme will hand out vouchers worth the cost of the fees for low-income earning green card holders who make too much to qualify for a federal waiver.
NaturalizNY will also partner with New York’s Office of New Americans with other nonprofits from the local communities to provide immigration services at 27 centers throughout the state.
The program will also provide naturalization applicants any legal service that is needed, as well as English and civics classes to help them pass their citizenship exams.
The program has earmarked a total of $1.25 million – private donors are contributing to the services of NaturalizeNY’s costs and oversights.
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado called the application fee a “huge obstacle” to many immigrant families. She hopes the giveaway might spread awareness of government assistance to some of the 400,000 New Yorkers who qualify for a fee waiver but don’t know it.
“People love lotteries. People love contests,” Rosado told the NY Times. “This allows us to bring attention to the issue and get people excited.