Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Home page

Naturalization

Becoming a U.S. Citizen

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is given to a legal immigrant after he or she fulfills the requirements established under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Citizens have the right to vote, are free from the threat of deportation, can get assistance from the U.S. when traveling abroad, and can sponsor other family members to the U.S. Citizenship may also make individuals eligible for federal public assistance programs, such as Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and Supplemental Security Income.

To become a U.S. citizen, an individual must learn basic U.S. history and civics and pass a written or oral exam given by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The process takes approximately 12-18 months from date the application is sent to the date of the interview.

How We Can Help

The Naturalization program provides citizenship services to legal immigrants who receive public assistance through cash, medical, or food assistance programs administered by DSHS.  This includes immigrants who are barred from federal benefits because of their immigration status and who are eligible to naturalize, or are within one year of being eligible to naturalize.

Services

Naturalization services include:

  • Intake Screening to ensure there are no issues that need to be resolved before applying.
  • Assistance with completion and submittal of the Application for Naturalization form.
  • Payment of the Application for Naturalization required fee.
  • Payment of fingerprint fee when required.
  • Fee waiver requests.
  • Citizenship training and instruction, including classes in American History and Civics.
  • Assistance in obtaining test exemptions such as Medical Disability Exceptions and age and time in country when appropriate.
  • Interview preparation.
  • Appeals.

Special Message to SSI recipients who entered the U.S. on or after August 22, 1996

The federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to blind or disabled adults, children, and individuals 65 or older who have limited income and resources.

For refugee adults who entered the U.S. on or after August 22, 1996, SSI benefits are limited to 7 years unless they become a U.S. citizen.

Immigrant adults who entered the U.S. on or after August 22, 1996 are also limited to 7 years of SSI unless they can prove that they have worked in the U.S. for 10 years or if they become a U.S. citizen.

By becoming a citizen, an individual can maintain his/her SSI benefits and become eligible for a full range of other public benefits.

Click one of  the links below to find a service provider in your area: 

King County 

Non-King County

ORIA Program Manager Contact Information:

Lisa Vatske

(360) 725-4686

lisa.vatske@dshs.wa.gov


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