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Citizenshipworks: Virtual Review Pioneer

Citizenshipworks: Virtual Review Pioneer

"The online platform Citizenshipworks was launched in 2011 to make applying for citizenship easier and more accessible. It was designed by three non-profits, Immigration Advocates Network, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Pro Bono Net, to provide in-person naturalization service providers with an online tool to help complete naturalization applications.

The world has turned upside down since then because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While people shelter in place, remote legal services are the only way to keep the naturalization momentum going. The Citizenshipworks platform and team have been at the ready and in demand for the New Americans Campaign partners. We reached out to Sandra Sandoval Chavarria, Citizenshipworks Program Manager, to learn more about how the online platform is meeting this moment.

New Americans Campaign: How has the world of virtual review changed from your perspective?

Sandra Sandoval Chavarria: We already had in place virtual review partners, Advancing Justice LA, GMHC, BPSOS, and several IRC offices. If someone starts an N-400 application online through Citizenshipworks and has a problem, we refer them to one of these partners who provide this remote service.

But we have seen changes. For example, there are a number of folks that are coming in on their own. During regular times, it was usually about a quarter to 30% of the visitors to the site. But during this COVID-19 period, about half of our traffic is made up of what we call DIY (do it yourself) applicants. We will frequently refer them to a partner for legal support. The other half of the traffic is from our partners who use Citizenshipworks as the starting point for applicants..."

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Topics:
  • Pro Bono/Legal Services
  • Technology
  • Immigration
  • Nonprofit/Community Development