Immigration Services

Immigrants have always played a significant role in the development of our region, providing infusions of culture, energy, and enthusiasm that help Northwest Florida flourish. Our Immigration & Naturalization program provides assistance in the immigration process involving family reunification applications, extensions of stay, replacement of permanent residence cards, work permits, naturalization certificates, inquiries for status of cases at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as at the American consulates abroad.

We can help you file permanent residence applications on behalf of religious workers (priests, religious men and women, seminarians, brothers of religious communities, etc.) petitions for extensions of a visit, work permits and applications for U.S. citizenship. Completes all immigration and naturalization forms and refers clients to other service providers when necessary. This service is accredited by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals and is registered at the Florida Department of Consumer Services. Services are available in multiple languages.

Service Philosophy

The Office of Immigration/Refugee Services serves all individuals regardless of race, religion, country of origin, or ability to pay who are experiencing problems in seeking admission into the country, seeking permanent residence, citizenship, family reunification or assistance while temporarily here in the U.S. Our goal is to stabilize their situations, achieve self-sufficiency as quickly as possible, and participate in the life of the community. Our multilingual/multicultural staff anticipates the needs of our client population and responds accordingly providing assistance in translating, completing intake forms, and assimilating to cross-cultural differences.

Delivery of Services

Clients are seen by appointment except on Wednesday mornings which is our designated walk-in day. This is a new service which was added in 2001 to meet the needs of clients who need urgent assistance and cannot wait for a first available appointment. On Wednesdays, clients arrive early and sign up in the order in which they arrived. Caseworkers attend the first ten cases, but make every effort to accommodate overflow by scheduling a first available appointment, or asking walk-ins to return later in the day if the matter is urgent. Each new client completes an in-take, rights and responsibilities form and pre-immigration questionnaire for consultations. When filing petitions through our office, each client completes the post-immigration survey, a service plan, and signs a service agreement specifying fees due to USCIS as well as the nominal fees payable to Catholic Charities for services rendered.

Resettlement Practice

In collaboration with the Florida Department of Children and Families and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida assists refugees and their families to assimilate and acculturate into their new communities.

Sponsoring Families and Groups

Catholic Charities recognizes the importance of self-determination and respects the skills and abilities of our clients. Therefore, the resettlement service is designed to foster maximum independence, self-direction and self-support by providing the persons served with specialized support and training. It is the goal of this program to enable the client to transfer skills from their former socio-economic system to that of the United States. Each eligible client will receive the essential elements of service regardless of race, religion, country of origin or ability to pay.

Transition Assistance

Catholic Charities recognizes the need for a coordinated effort with national organizations, local, voluntary and public organizations, in order to help newcomers become integrated, functioning members of their new society. Staff will provide clients/ and US Ties with a list of networks, including religious, social, recreational, job related, networks amongst others, to assist the refugee in becoming an active member of the community. In addition, staff is encouraged to assist the refugee and the US Tie to maintain a positive, effective relationship, making referrals if necessary, in order to ensure a smooth, effective transition for the refugee.

Citizenship Assistance

In the case of application for citizenship, the organization’s services will include information about citizenship classes offered at local educational facilities which provide orientation on the process. Staff will assist clients in obtaining the necessary preparation during the process of gaining citizenship, including providing the study guide or citizenship test. This includes, but is not limited to, referral to appropriate agencies, educational institutions, and direct assistance. Clients are informed of the process from initial application, until the swearing in ceremony.

Immigration services are available in Pensacola, Panama City, and Tallahassee.