CUNY Citizenship Now! New York State Office for New Americans at CUNYXPRESS

We are pleased to announce that the CUNY Citizenship Now! team will be supporting the African Union Expo 2015  to be held at Mist Harlem on 11/17/2015 from 11am – 7pm. Please register at  or email or phone 646-502-9778 Ext. 8001 to the attend or to request further  information

the CUNY Citizenship Now! teamand will have an Exhibitor table at the Expo to provide assistance and information for all the various immigrant services programs with a linkage towards secondary education in the CUNY system to all attendees.  

CUNY Citizenship Now! is the largest university-based legal assistance program in the nation. We provide free, high quality, and confidential citizenship and immigration law services to all New Yorkers. Under the leadership of Professor Allan Wernick, CUNY Citizenship Now’s attorneys and paralegals assist more than 10,000 individuals each year at our centers and more than 2,000 at our community based events. We also coordinate community, educational, and volunteer initiatives to help expand opportunities for New York City’s immigrant population. We serve the community in many languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Polish, French, Haitian Creole and Italian.


CUNY Citizenship Now! provides free, high quality, and confidential immigration law services to help individuals and families on their path to U.S. citizenship. Our attorneys and paralegals offer one-on-one consultations to assess participants’ eligibility for legal benefits and assist them in applying when qualified. We also coordinate community, educational, and volunteer initiatives to help expand opportunities for New York City’s immigrant population.


In the 1970s, a young Queens College student was busy honing his leadership style and commitment to inclusion by spearheading voter registration efforts on campus. Thousands of miles away, a law student was developing his own skills with a neighborhood organization that offered immigration legal services to his fellow Angelinos.

Fast forward 25 years later to 1996. Nearly half of CUNY students are foreign-born. Jay Hershenson, that young student leader, was now CUNY’s Senior Vice Chancellor. Across town at Hostos Community College, Professor Allan Wernick, that former law student, now ran a legal services center for immigrants and women. It troubled them both that many CUNY students were green card holders who could not vote.

From their first conversation, Hershenson and Wernick agreed that with its historical commitment to New York City’s immigrant population, CUNY was well-positioned to offer students free, high-quality immigration assistance.

In 1996, CUNY officially launched the Citizenship and Immigration Project, which soon became known as Citizenship Now! By the end of 1997, staff and volunteers had held application assistance events on every CUNY campus.

In the decade that followed, Citizenship Now! put down roots in each of the five boroughs beginning with City College in Manhattan in 1998, to Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn in 2009.

Strong partnerships have been indispensable to our growth as city, state and federal government endorsements allowed Citizenship Now! to expand its reach to faculty, staff, friends, family and neighbors. Over the years, Haitian immigrants with Temporary Protected Status, parents of public school children, victims of fraud, young undocumented youth, and innumerable green card holders were assisted with immigration matters and services, including fee waivers for indigent citizenship applicants.

Volunteers have always formed the backbone of Citizenship Now! and in 2006 a partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs saw the launch of the NYC/CUNY Volunteer Corps.

Corporate partners have also distinguished themselves by their volunteer commitment. Each year, these partners, including Daily News staffers, take part in the Daily News/CUNY Immigration Call-In event answering thousands of immigration questions.

Back in 1997, few could have imagined what we would accomplish together. Seventeen years later, through six full-time immigration centers and 30 part-time centers at the offices of New York City Council members, and through events, partnerships, sponsorships, alliances and networks we remain true to our initial commitment. Our work has helped more than 100,000 New Yorkers get on the path to U.S. citizenship, and we have provided legal information and referrals to another 120,000 callers at our annual CUNY/Daily News Call-In events.

Our services at our City Council Member Offices are limited to application assistance with Citizenship, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Consultations are available on most immigration topics (Inclusive of the following);

  • Conditions of Removal
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Fee waiver request
  • Citizenship Through Parents
  • Diversity Visa Lottery
  • Fiancé visas
  • Widow(er) self-petitions
  • Extension of tourist visa*
  • Refugee application for waiver of certain admissibility requirements
  • Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (Hostos Immigration Center only)

In-State Tuition Issues All Students All CUNY students, including undocumented students, benefit from a 2001 New York State law that expanded who can qualify for in-state tuition. That law allows anyone to pay in-state tuition if any of the following apply:

• They were enrolled in the City University of New York (CUNY) for the Fall 2001 semester, and qualified for in-state tuition at that time

• They attended a New York State high school for two or more years, graduated, and applied to attend a CUNY institution within five years of receiving a New York State diploma.

• They attended an approved New York State program for the General Education Development (GED) exam preparation, received a GED from New York State, and applied to attend a CUNY institution within five years of receiving the New York State GED. GED holders who graduated from High School either in the United States or overseas are not eligible for this benefit. Individuals qualifying based on the 2001 state law are eligible for in-state tuition even if they have not resided in New York State for one year.

Note: To get in-state tuition, undocumented immigrants must file an affidavit (a sworn, written statement signed by the applicant) stating that they will apply to legalize their status as soon as they are eligible. At CUNY, the admissions office can provide you with samples of the affidavits. Others Eligible for In-State Tuition If you do not qualify under the rules described above, you still may qualify for in-state tuition if you have resided in New York State for at least one year, and one of the following applies:

• You are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have a permanent resident application pending (you must have filed Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. It is not sufficient to have solely a pending or approved I-130 Petition for Alien Relative or I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker).

• You have asylum, withholding of removal, or refugee status.

• You have temporary protected status (TPS).

• USCIS granted you deferred action status.

Read more at CNUNY

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