Editor's note: The above video is from a February 2019 story on immigrant populations in King County. 

The City of Seattle announced a new partnership with rideshare companies Lyft and Uber to provide free transportation to immigrants living in the city looking to continue their path to citizenship. 

In June of this year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that Seattle-area immigrants applying for citizenship would have to travel hours away to offices in Yakima and Portland for their naturalization interviews and even oath ceremonies. 

Previously, applicants could participate in these steps at the USCIS Seattle Field Office in Tukwila. USCIS implemented the policy despite strong opposition from nonprofits that provide naturalization services to low-income residents. 

To assist eligible green card holders who lack resources to travel several hours away for their interviews, Lyft and Uber are each donating $10,000 to support:

  • The purchase of train or bus tickets for immigrant applicants

  • To subsidize mileage costs for applicants

  • Community-based organization staff accompanying applicants to interviews

Lyft and Uber are also each providing 700 unique $10 ride codes, which can be used for rides to and from the bus or train station in Seattle and between the station and the USCIS office in Portland and Yakima. 

Currently, Seattle-area immigrants face wait times of 16 to 18.5 months for their applications to be processed.

This new partnership will provide an estimated 400 Seattle community members with free transportation to their naturalization interviews.