Our Services

Immigration Services

Immigration Services image of individual obtaining US Citizenship

Catholic Charities is a beacon of hope and support for immigrants navigating the complexities of immigration. Our dedicated team provides compassionate guidance and assistance at every step of the journey, from legal consultations to document preparation. We strive to create a safe and welcoming environment where individuals can access the resources needed to build a brighter future for themselves and their families. With a commitment to justice and solidarity, we offer them the support and empowerment they deserve as they pursue a better life.

The Immigration Services Center at Catholic Charities can provide information, guidance, and support on various types of affirmative immigration cases, including the types of cases below.

Call (559) 237-0851 to schedule an appointment in Fresno, Bakersfield or Merced. All consultations are free of charge.


  • Naturalization – Individuals who are Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) may apply to become U.S. Citizens after meeting the proper requirements, such as being a resident for 5 years (or 3 years if the applicant is married to U.S. Citizen).
  • Naturalization for U.S. Veterans – U.S. Veterans who served during times of hostilities or peace may apply to become U.S. Citizens on the basis for their service to the country.
  • Acquisition/Derivation of U.S. Citizenship – Individuals born outside of the U.S. who have or had a parent(s) that are (or became) U.S. Citizens may be able to obtain their citizenship on the basis of the citizenship status of the parent.
  • Legal Permanent Residence Card Renewal (Green Card Renewals) – Individuals who have been inspected and admitted to the United States and are currently Legal Permanent Residents possess a Green Card that must be renewed every ten years.
  • Adjustment of Status – the process that someone can use to apply for a Green Card when the applicant is present in the United States. This means they may apply to obtain a Green Card without having to return to their home country to complete the visa processing after being inspected, admitted, and meeting the corresponding requirements.
  • Consular Process – A beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition may apply for a Green Card outside of the United States with the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  • U-Visa / VAWA – A Non-Immigrant Visa may be granted to individuals who are a victim of a qualifying crime in the U.S. or a U.S. territory and collaborated in the prosecution of the crime.
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – DACA is the prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual who came to the U.S. as a child and meets several guidelines for a certain period of time. This also grants temporary protection from deportation and a work authorization permit that is subject to renewal. Deferred action does NOT provide lawful status.
  • Advance Parole – also known as a re-entry permit, is a permit that allows a non-citizen to physically enter the United States for a specific purpose.
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – Nationals of designated countries for TPS are able to remain in the USA due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent them from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may be granted TPS.
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) & Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Background Checks – Request for access to documents or other data in the possession of a government agency or public authority, unless the information falls into a category that is specifically excluded from the terms of the legislation.
  • Work Permit – Individuals are likely to be eligible to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) to work legally in the United States if they previously had one, have a pending immigration case, and/or have a legal stay in the USA.
  • Replacement of Citizenship Certificate – Individuals may be able to request a replacement of their Naturalization Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship, Declaration of Intention, or Repatriation Certificate or request to apply for a special certificate of naturalization as a U.S. citizen to be recognized by a foreign country.
  • Immigration Fee Waiver – Individuals may request a full or partial waiver for their adjudication fee for some processes such as Naturalization, LPR Renewals, Acquisition, and Derivation, among others.
  • Removal of Conditions – Conditional Permanent Residents who obtained their residence status through marriage and want to apply to remove the conditions on their permanent residence.
  • Family Base Petitions – When a Legal Permanent Resident or U.S. Citizen wants to migrate a relative to the USA.

Please note all services indicated in this document are not a guarantee that the person is eligible. It is recommended interested individuals consult with a DOJ Accredited Representative or Immigration Attorney to see if they qualify. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is the authority in all affirmative immigration cases that approves or denies benefits.

Do you still have questions about our Immigration Services Center? Please see below for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.


No, CCDOF is committed to serve, advocate, and empower those in most need regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, nationality, income level, and/or legal status.

The Immigration Services Center at CCDOF provides information, guidance, and support to those seeking U.S. Citizenship, requesting (or renewing) a work permit, an immigration benefit, and/or legal status.

All services provided by the Immigration Services Center at CCDOF are free of charge to all individuals that seek assistance. The client is only financially responsible for the processing fee charged by the government entity that will potentially grant the benefit.

No private donations are used to fund the CCDOF Immigration Services Center, unless specified by the donor. The services provided at CCDOF’s Immigration Services Center are funded through a grant in partnership with Catholic Charities of California. However, CCDOF does provide food, clothing, and housing support to all those in need regardless of their legal status. CCDOF does not track, nor has it ever tracked, the legal status of families who utilize the social service programs at CCDOF. All dollars raised by CCDOF are utilized to serve those in need throughout the eight-county Diocese of Fresno.

CCDOF’s work with migrants is rooted in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching. Our work is a commitment to provide help to the most vulnerable, provide long-term relief, help individuals and families, and rebuild their lives. All of these services are in compliance with the Federal Government regardless of presidential administrations, making our work humanitarian, not political. According to the Census Bureau (2016 data), 20% of Fresno County residents (195,366 individuals) are foreign-born. It is estimated that 15% of the foreign-born in Fresno County (29,304 individuals) are in need of immigration services. The need throughout the eight-county Diocese of Fresno is great which is why it is so important that CCDOF is now able to help.

No, though all Catholic Charities throughout the U.S. are connected through a partner network, each Catholic Charities operates independently. Each Catholic Charities offers different programs and services tailored towards the needs of their individual communities.

No, the Immigration Services Center at CCDOF provides information, guidance, and support that will assist individuals migrate to the United States legally, obtain legal status, and/or a work authorization permit after analyzing the applicant’s current status. Though there might be immigrants who are not eligible for an immigration remedy at this time, CCDOF will provide them with resources that are relevant to their current situation that will empower them.

No, only the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has the authority to approve or deny immigration benefits. The Immigration Services Center at CCDOF provides information, guidance, and support for individuals on their legal immigration matters after analyzing the applicant’s current situation.

As of November 2022 the Immigration Services Center at CCDOF has obtained Recognition and Accreditation from the U.S. Department of Justice to provide legal assistance and representation to the immigrant population. Although the staff at the Immigration Services Center are not attorneys, they can represent clients in legal immigration matters. CCDOF also provides information, guidance, and support on various types of affirmative immigration services. CCDOF also receives technical assistance, advice, counsel, and support in immigration matters from the Directing Attorney of Catholic Charities of California.

No, Public Notaries in the U.S. are not entities that can provide legal immigration representation. Only attorneys, who have passed the State Bar, and/or accredited representatives from the Department of Justice with a recognized organization can provide legal immigration services. There is a big misconception by consumers of what a Public Notary is in the U.S. compared to Mexico or Latin America. According to the College of Notaries in Mexico City, in order to be a Notario Publico (Public Notary) you must be a licensed attorney at law, certify a minimum and uninterrupted practice of twelve months under the direction and responsibility of a notary, request in writing the indicated examinations, successfully pass two qualifying exams, express submission to the final decision of the jury, not be a minister of worship, nor be subject to trial, or have been convicted of an intentional crime.

Only recognized organizations by the Department of Justice that have accredited representatives and/or attorneys with a State License can practice immigration law, this allows them to provide legal advice and representation in immigration matters. The Immigration Services Center at CCDOF as of November 1, 2023, has obtained Recognition and Accreditation from the U.S. Department of Justice to provide legal assistance and representation to the immigrant population.

No, only the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and/or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may apprehend and/or deport immigrants. All the information collected by CCDOF is confidential and is not shared with outside parties, organizations, or government agencies.

The majority of the immigrants that abandon their native country are fleeing in search of safety, family reunification, and/or economic opportunities. Many immigrants that decide to depart their homeland make the decision after having no other alternative. Immigration providers and advocates like the Immigration Services Center at CCDOF assist immigrants to migrate into the U.S. legally, despite the process for some that could take more than ten years after completing a rigorous application. Currently, a petition by siblings of Mexican nationality could take over 20 years for their case to be adjudicated.

After being a Legal Permanent Resident (Green Card holder) for five years, or three if the Green Card holder is married to a U.S. Citizen, the person can apply for naturalization (U.S. Citizenship). Please note they still must meet the other requirements such as, be over the age of 18, have good moral character, have continuous residence in the U.S., pass the U.S. history and civics exam, be able to speak and write English, and demonstrate loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution. For applicants in the USCIS Fresno Field Office, their expected processing time will be approximately six months once the application is submitted. First, they will receive a notice indicating that their application has been received and the payment has been processed, or the fee waiver was approved. Then, in two to four weeks they will receive an Appointment Notice at a USCIS Support Center where they will collect the applicant’s biometrics. After four months the applicant will receive a third letter indicating their interview appointment. At the interview, the applicant will be asked to take the U.S. History and Civics exam. On some occasions at the end of the interview if the applicant meets all the requirements they will be sworn in and be issued their U.S. Citizenship Certificate on the spot, otherwise, they may be scheduled for another appointment.

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