LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky Refugee Ministries is offering virtual citizenship classes to help people preparing to take the U.S. Naturalization Test to become American citizens.
“The dynamics of this is going to look a little bit different, but we'll do the classes, the same way that we always do,” Citizenship Coordinator for Kentucky Refugee Ministries Andy Barlow said.
In the class, students review U.S. history and civics and practice reading, writing, and speaking in English. They hold also mock interviews to practice for the naturalization test.
In order to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, a person must be a permanent resident of the United States for at least five years. Applicants must also pass the naturalization test, which includes a writing and reading test in English.
The first virtual class was held Friday morning, with one student in attendance. Barlow said transitioning from in-person instruction to online has been challenging. He said he’s in contact with dozens of people interested in the class, but getting them to show up has been a struggle.
“I think sometimes it’s because of their inability to use technical equipment. Sometimes it's because it’s outside of their comfort zone to be on a screen instead of face-to-face with somebody,” said Barlow. “And I think sometimes the citizenship thing is mentally in abeyance in their minds because they can't go test for that right now, so let's just put it on hold and wait until I can actually do things the way that I'm more comfortable doing it.”
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services suspended all in-person services on March 18 because of the pandemic. Services are scheduled to resume in June, according to the USICS website. The suspension of services meant some people had their naturalization interviews and ceremonies postponed.
There are also resources to help you study for your citizenship exam on the Facebook page. Barlow said one-on-one tutoring sessions can also be arranged.