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Catherine Lester, Interim Director
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Citizenship Assistance
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Family Support

Citizenship Assistance

The New Citizen Program (NCP) provides funding to 14 community-based organizations which provide free naturalization assistance and support to low-income immigrants and refugees.

Services include:

  • Screening for citizenship eligibility
  • Citizenship instruction/tutoring
  • Interview Preparation
  • Assistance with submission of citizenship applications
  • Disability and fee waivers
  • Referrals for legal assistance

NCP also provides technical and legal assistance through the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

U.S. citizenship provides the right to:

  • Vote
  • A U.S. passport
  • Serve on a jury
  • Unite with family members abroad
  • Become an elected official
  • Become eligible for Federal jobs
  • Access to public benefits, employment and educational opportunities;
  • An attorney and a fair trial without deportation or removal
  • Full protection under the United States Constitution
  • Live outside the United States and take long trips outside the United States

NCP serves Seattle low-income parents and individuals eligible for U.S. citizenship. Most services are bilingual and tailored to the specific needs of the participants including people who are elderly, not literate in their home language or have very limited English skills.

NCP was launched by the City of Seattle in response to the 1996 national welfare and immigration reform legislation limiting non-citizens access to public benefits. NCP has served more than 15,700 immigrants and refugees since it was launched in 1997. Today, the program serves about 1,600 people per year.

Funding for this program is provided by the City of Seattle, Seattle Housing Authority, and the Department of Social and Health Services. City allocations to the nonprofit, community-based organizations providing these services are determined through a competitive process that is conducted by the Seattle Human Services Department at least once every four years. Continued funding during funding cycles depends upon program performance and funding availability. In 2013-2014, the total approximate funding allocation is $755,460.

Eligibility and Applications

To find out if you are eligible for services, contact any of the NCP server providers. Citizenship applications can also be found on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Web site


In partnership with the Seattle Public Library, NCP sponsored the Guide to Naturalization, a booklet that answers some of the most common questions about naturalization, provides study materials for the naturalization exam, and lists organizations that help with citizenship or offer English as a Second Language classes. It has been translated into 13 languages and is available at the Washington Law Help Web page.

For more information about Seattle Human Services Department-funded services for children and families, call Michael Mathewson at 206-386-1017 or e-mail

For information about our partners and related programs contact the agencies listed above or the 211 Community Information Line by dialing 211 or 1-800-621-4636.

For more information about housing for low-income Seattle residents, go to the Seattle Housing Authority.

Seattle Human Services Department
Street address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 5800, Seattle, WA 98104
Mailing address: PO Box 34215, Seattle, WA 98124-4215

Phone: 206-386-1001
Fax: 206-233-5119
TTY/TTD: 206-233-2778

Accommodations for people with disabilities provided upon request.