Resident Helps Fellow Arlingtonians with Citizenship Scholarship

Published on January 27, 2018

  • Scholarship Fund established to pay application fees

  • Funds available to qualified Arlingtonians

The Arlington County Board today accepted a resident's anonymous donation for a Citizenship Scholarship to help Arlingtonians pay the $725 federal application fee charged to those seeking to become U.S. citizens.

"This act is an inspiring example of the compassion that Arlingtonians have for their neighbors," Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said. "With this gift, one of our community members will improve the lives of others who may have had trouble paying the USCIS application fee to become a citizen. I hope others follow this anonymous donor's lead and serve others in whatever ways their own passions and resources allow."

The Board voted unanimously to accept the $7,000 donation. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 29 on the agenda for the Saturday, January 27 Regular County Board Meeting. 

The United State Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) charges $725 to process an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400), waiving the fee for applicants whose income is below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and reducing the fee for applicants whose income is between 151% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. 

However, some applicants who qualify for the reduced fee, and other applicants who are required to pay the full fee, still have difficulty paying for their application, and therefore delay applying for naturalization even when they are eligible and prepared for their interview.

Scholarship eligibility

To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must live in Arlington and demonstrate proof of Arlington residency. Applicants' gross household income must fall in one of the following two categories:

  • 151- 200 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines: $200 scholarship

  • 201- 250 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines: $360 scholarship

The Department of Human Services' Community Outreach Program will manage the scholarship fund with existing staff and resources; no new expenses will be incurred.

How to apply for a scholarship, donate to fund

Interested scholarship applicants must call (703) 228-1198 to make an appointment and meet in person with the designated DHS Human Services Specialist at the Arlington Mill Community Outreach Program, 909 S. Dinwiddie St., Suite 523, Arlington, VA 22204. The specialist will determine at the meeting whether the applicant has met the requirements. Applications will not be considered until all supporting documents have been submitted.

[caption id="attachment_14854" align="alignright" width="300"]Naturalized Americans being sworn in 2017 Citizenship Ceremony in Arlington[/caption]

For information on the necessary documentation, including proof of residency in Arlington (such as a valid Department of Motor Vehicles identification with their current address, a current lease in their name or a recent utility bill in their name), visit the County website.

Scholarships will be awarded until the grant has been fully expended. Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund can do so by check, made out to Treasurer-Arlington County (Citizenship Scholarship) and sent to Department of Human Services — Citizenship Scholarship, 2100 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor, Arlington VA 22204.

The Arlington County Board approved $100,000 in one-time funding to the Legal Aid Justice Center in September, 2017 to provide immigration legal aid services for County residents. It was the first jurisdiction in Virginia to create a specific funding source for legal representation for its immigrant residents facing deportation proceedings.

Visit the County website for more immigration resources.