Citizenship Loans Overview

The Citizenship Loan Program, in partnership with the organizations listed below, provides interest-free loans to low- and moderate-income residents of New York City’s five boroughs, Westchester, or Long Island to cover naturalization application and related fees for themselves and/or family members.

HFLS Citizenship Loans have no fees, and there is no interest charged; borrowers repay exactly the amount they have borrowed.

 

Eligibility

To qualify for a Citizenship Loan, applicants must:

  • Have a green card
  • Reside in NYC’s five boroughs, Westchester, or Long Island
  • Be working with one of the following HFLS Citizenship Loan Program partner organizations:
    • Catholic Migration Services (CMS) – text (718) 866-3687 to set up a phone appointment or contact the CMS staff member who is currently assisting you.
    • NY Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI)
  • Have annual, pre-tax household income at or below the following income limits for your household size

HFLS Income Limits

Household Size 1 person 2 person 3 person 4 person 5 person 6 person 7 person 8 person
Household Income 91,540 104,650 117,760 130,755 141,220 157,435 162,150 172,615

 

Loan Amounts & Repayments

Citizenship Loans may be for any amount up to $1,500, and must be used by the applicant or a member of the applicant’s household to pay naturalization or related fees.

Citizenship Loans are repayable in equal installments over ten months. For example, if the loan amount is $725 (the cost of a naturalization application fee), the borrower will repay $72.50 per month over ten months. If a ten-month repayment term is not are not affordable, HFLS will work with the applicant to arrange for a lower monthly repayment amount and a longer loan term.

Loan repayments will begin two to three weeks after the applicant receives the final loan paperwork (see below). The first repayment date will be noted on the final loan documents that the applicant will sign before their loan is disbursed. Repayments will be made on either the 5th or the 20th of each month; the applicant will select their preference before HFLS disburses their loan.

Loan Process

Citizenship Loan applicants must complete and submit an online application. Please read below to learn what information you’ll need to provide in the loan application, then contact one of the partner organizations above for further information. If you are already working with one of the partner organizations above, contact the staff member you are working with.

The Citizenship Loan application requires that applicants provide their contact information along with basic information about their household, income, and employment. Applicants should also have the following documents available to upload copies where indicated on the application:

  • Photo ID that includes their signature and serves as proof of address (e.g. a driver’s license). If the applicant does not have a driver’s license or the license does not include the applicant’s current address, HFLS will ask for proof of residency (such as a recent utility bill, bank account statement, or letter from their current landlord).
  • A voided check, bank account statement, or other bank document that includes the applicant’s name, their bank name, the bank account number, and the bank’s routing number. If an applicant does not have a bank account, the applicant or their CMS contact should email Loan@HFLS.org to discuss other repayment options.

HFLS reviews and decides on loan applications weekly. If we have any questions about your application, you and/or your partner organization contact may receive a call or email from an HFLS Loan Officer asking for further information before HFLS will approve your loan. You will hear from HFLS within three business days of submitting your online application.

HFLS, in its discretion, may decline to make a loan, make a loan in an amount less than requested, or require additional information.

HFLS will inform you of the loan decision via email and send final loan documents to you for signature through Docusign. The final loan documents include:

  • A Promissory Note that describes the terms of your loan, including the loan amount, repayment term, monthly repayment amount, and first repayment date.
  • An Authorization of Automatic Payments (ACH) Form, which allows HFLS to withdraw monthly loan repayments automatically from your checking account.

Once HFLS receives the signed documents above, we will send a check made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the amount of the approved loan, with the applicant’s name noted on the check, to the partner organization the applicant is working with. The partner organization will work with the applicant to ensure the check and required documents are sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

There is no limit on the number of Citizenship Loans that a borrower may take, but a household may only borrow up to $1,500 at a time in this program. Once the borrower fully repays an outstanding loan, they may apply for another loan to cover other household members’ citizenship or related fees.

A borrower may choose to take a different type of HFLS interest-free loan after completing repayment on their Citizenship Loan. A full list of all HFLS loan programs can be found here.  Please note that other HFLS loans provide higher loan amounts and therefore require higher monthly loan repayments, and also require one or two guarantors.

Apply Now

Apply for a Citizenship Loan Here

If you prefer to print a hard copy application, please email Loan@HFLS.org to request a PDF.