Newcomer's Guide


  • Diversity Visa Lottery - The Department of State offers annually 50,000 permanent resident visas, drawn randomly from applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. This website provides information on the program, deadlines, and how to apply.
  • A Guide to Naturalization - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers a guide to naturalization, which includes eligibility requirements, the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship, and information on the process of applying for naturalization.
  • InfoPass - This site allows the public to make an appointment with an Immigration Information Officer online. Appointment booking is also available in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, Chinese, Tagalog, Russian, Portuguese, French, Korean, Polish, and Arabic.
  • Naturalization Test Study Materials -The federal government provides flash cards, sample questions, and other materials to help immigrants prepare for the naturalization test.
  • Read Me First! Citizenship and Naturalization Guide - This PDF guide from the CUNY Citizenship and Immigration Project provides instructions on filling out the citizenship application, information on naturalization test questions, and a list of free immigration resources, as well as ESL and citizenship classes.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Case Status Service Online - Applicants may check their case status, obtain a list of processing dates, or request case updates via email.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Lawful Permanent Residence (“Green Card”) - USCIS provides information on applying for lawful permanent residence (“green card”) status.
  • Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants - This guide, from USCIS, provides information on topics such as rights, employment, education, housing, learning English, and citizenship. It is also available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu and Vietnamese.

Immigration Law

  • Know Your Rights: Defending Against Local Immigration Enforcement - This booklet in PDF format, from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), describes the rights of immigrants in New York City in dealing with police, at the workplace, and with government agencies.
  • National Immigration Law Center (NILC)- NILC’s mission is to protect and promote the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.
  • Sylvia Rivera Law Project: Immigration - Information collected here addresses immigration issues for transgendered and transsexual immigrants, including changing name and gender on immigration documents, applying for asylum based on gender identity discrimination, and marriage recognition.

Local Resources

  • Citizenship Now - The City University of New York’s Citizenship and Immigration Project provides immigration services to all New Yorkers. The Project has seven Immigration Centers located throughout New York, including Flushing, Jamaica, and Long Island City.
  • Crossing the Blvd. - This interactive website showcases stories of immigration to Queens, taken from the book of the same name. Site features include audio, a timeline of immigration to Queens, and immigration stories submitted by visitors to the website.
  • Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) - MOIA promotes the full, active participation of immigrants in civic, cultural, and economic arenas in New York City.
  • The Newest New Yorkers 2013 - This report from the New York City Department of City Planning uses Census information and other federal and local data to take a detailed look at the origins, spatial settlement, and other characteristics of the foreign-born population in New York City and in the larger metropolitan region.
  • Queens Immigration Task Force Directory of Services-compiled by the Borough President's Office of Immigrant and Intercultural Affairs.
  • Safe Horizon’s Immigration Law Project- Safe Horizon provides free legal information and advice to domestic violence victims with immigration law-related matters.

General Information

  • Immigration… the Changing Face of America- This introduction to American immigration from the Library of Congress focuses on groups that arrived in the greatest numbers during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The site provides links to primary sources available from the Library of Congress collections.
  • Immigration and Immigrants: Setting the Record Straight - This extensive report from the Urban Institute examines who immigrants are, where they live, and what impact immigration has on the labor market and public sector.
  • Internet Modern History Sourcebook: US Immigration - This site, from Fordham University, contains links and resources on US immigration, including sections on European immigration, Asian immigration, Latin American immigration, Ellis Island, and opposition to immigration.
  • Life in the USA - This website offers extensive information on topics including culture, food, everyday life, business, education, finances, medical care, and religion in the United States. Also included is Life in the USA Magazine, which features columns on related issues.
  • Living American- This comprehensive guide to living, working, and playing in America is also available in Spanish.
  • The New Americans- This seven-hour series from PBS’s Independent Lens follows the stories of five newcomers to the United States, from their homelands through their first years here.
  • Our Documents - This website collects 100 documents that are milestones in American history, with information on why they are important and what their impact has been.

For further information, please contact:

Fred J. Gitner
Assistant Director of New Americans Program and International Relations
Queens Library
89-11 Merrick Blvd.
Jamaica, NY 11432

Tel: (718) 990-0892
Fax: (718) 990-8626
E-mail: fred.j.gitner@queenslibrary.org