Just in time for the Fourth of July, an app launched this week will make it easier for U.S. immigrants to apply for citizenship.
The CitizenshipWorks app is a one-stop-shop to help immigrants walk through every step of the application process, which can be long and complicated.
The app, available on iOS and Android, offers resources to simplify the process of determining eligibility, preparing for the application process, finding legal help, and studying for the English and Civics tests. Right now, it's targeted toward green card holders already living in the U.S. legally, to help them apply to become permanent residents. While eight million legal immigrants are eligible to apply for citizenship, only about eight percent of them become citizens each year, because of the many obstacles along the way.
"Our outdated naturalization system holds back millions of legal residents from obtaining the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship," said Damian Thorman, national program director for Knight Foundation, one of the app's sponsors. Technology can help break down those barriers, he said.
Immigration reform has taken center stage lately in the U.S., as a reform bill makes its way through Congress, and influential groups in Silicon Valley push hard for reform. If the law changes, the CitizenWorks website and mobile app could also help undocumented immigrants start down the path to citizenship.