Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Free Workshop Will Help Eligible Seattleites Become U.S. Citizens

Twenty-eight countries were represented at a citizenship ceremony at the downtown branch of the Seattle Public Library on April 12, 2011.
Paula Wissel
KNKX File Photo
The city of Seattle is looking for volunteers to help people become citizens.

Cuc Vu remembers the day her mom became a U.S. citizen.

“To see her coming out of that naturalization interview — that day was one of the happiest days that I’ve ever seen her,” Vu said. 

Vu became a citizen 20 years later. Now she is the director of the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

Vu said there are around 200,000 people eligible to become U.S. citizens in Washington, meaning they are legal permanent residents. Two-thirds of them are in the Seattle metro area. Vu said many of them have low incomes, are elderly or have a disability and cannot afford the cost of an immigration lawyer.

For the first time, the city of Seattle will be organizing a citizenship workshop to provide naturalization services for free. This is an opportunity for those eligible to become U.S. citizens to meet with volunteer lawyers, translators and trained staff.

But they need volunteers, especially those who are bilingual or immigration lawyers. The spoken languages most needed are Spanish, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Somali, Tagalog and Korean. They are also expecting to provide interpretation for Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromo, Russian and Ukrainian.

Other jobs include helping with registration.

“The beauty of this is that you do not have to know anything about naturalization to volunteer,” Vu said. “We will train anybody who has the time and interest to do this.”

The workshop is on Oct. 15 at the Georgetown campus of South Seattle College. Volunteers are expected to arrive at 8 a.m. and stay until 5 p.m.

If you would like to attend the free workshop, see this flyerfor more information and what to bring.  

If you would like to volunteer at the workshop, register here. You can also visit the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs websiteor call (206) 386-9090 for more information.