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Immigration Status

Under federal law, residents in many Seattle Housing Authority programs must declare whether they are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or have eligible immigration status.

If you and all of your household's members are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or have eligible immigration status, you can continue in the program. If you or one or more of your household members cannot, or do not, fall into one of these categories, you will not necessarily lose your housing, but the amount of assistance you receive may be reduced or terminated.

If you have questions about your immigration status as it applies to your housing assistance, contact a staff member for help.

Eligible immigration status

Non-citizens may have eligible immigration status in one of six categories:

1. Immigrants and special agriculture workers

A non-citizen lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined by Section 101(a)(20) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as an immigrant, as defined by Section 101(a)(15) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(20) and 1101(a)(15) respectively)(immigrants). This category includes a non-citizen admitted under Section 210 or 210A of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1160 or 1161), special agriculture workers, who have been granted lawful temporary resident status.

2. Non-citizens residing in U.S. prior to 1972

A non-citizen who entered the United States before January 1, 1972, or such later date as enacted by law, and has continuously maintained residence in the United States since then, and who is not eligible for citizenship but who is deemed to be lawfully admitted for permanent residence as a result of an exercise of discretion by the Attorney General under Section 249 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1259).

3. Refugee or asylum status

A non-citizen lawfully present in the United States pursuant to an admission under Section 207 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1157)(refugee status); pursuant to the grant of asylum (which has not been terminated) under Section 208 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1158)(asylum status); or as a result of being granted conditional entry under Section 203(a)(7) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1153(a)(7)) before April 1, 1980, because of persecution or fear of persecution on account of race, religion, or political opinion or because of being uprooted by catastrophic national calamity.

4. Parole status

A non-citizen lawfully present in the United States as a result of an exercise of discretion by the Attorney General for emergent reasons or reasons deemed strictly in the public interest under Section 212(d)(5) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5))(parole status).

5. Deportation asylum

A non-citizen lawfully present in the United States as a result of the Attorney General’s withholding deportation under Section 234(h) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1253(h))(threat to life or freedom).

6. Amnesty granted

A non-citizen lawfully admitted for temporary or permanent residence under Section 245A of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1255a)(amnesty granted under INA 245A).

Verifying immigration or citizenship status

For U.S. citizens

Verification consists of a signed Declaration of U.S. Citizenship.

For non-citizens 62 years or older as of June 19, 1995

Verification consists of a signed Declaration of Eligible Immigration Status and a proof of age document.

For all other non-citizens

Verification consists of three items—a signed Declaration of Eligible Immigration Status, a signed Verification Consent Form, and one of the following from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS):

  • Form I-551 (Alien Registration Card)
  • Form I-94 (Arrival Departure Record) *

*The Form I-94 (Arrival Departure Record), if submitted, must be annotated with or accompanied by one of the following:

  • Admitted as a Refugee pursuant to Section 207
  • Section 208 or Asylum
  • Section 243(h) or Deportation stayed by Attorney General
  • Paroled pursuant to Section 212(d)(5) of the INA
  • A final court decision granting asylum
  • A letter from the INS asylum officer, or from the INS
  • A court decision granting withholding of deportation
  • A letter from an INS asylum officer granting withholding of deportation
  • A receipt from INS indicating the application for issuance of a replacement document for one of the above.

When one or more family members cannot claim to be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or have eligible immigration status

The law includes help for keeping together "mixed" families, where some members have eligible immigration status and some do not. Mixed families may be eligible for "proration" assistance". That is, if the mixed family was not receiving housing assistance as of June 19, 1995, Seattle Housing Authority will prorate assistance based on the number of eligible family members, rather than on the total number of household members.

Important notes

Other rules may apply to households with members that do not have eligible status, and have been receiving assistance since before June 19, 1995. Contact a staff member for help.

Tenants are able to request an appeal to the INS, or an informal hearing with Seattle Housing Authority, upon any notice that terminates housing assistance in these ways.

Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals, or who lack eligible status, do not qualify for any of the above.

Other agencies that can help

The Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a group of local service agencies helping people with naturalization and English as a second language instruction, screening for citizenship eligibility, and assessing English skills. They also help people with Seattle Housing Authority applications, and prepare them for the INS citizenship review.

Contact these agencies for help: