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Citizenship and Immigration Program

Our impact

In one year, the IRC assisted:


The IRC immigration network assisted 14,098 clients in applying for a historically high 17,081 applications in FY18.

Ready to apply for citizenship? Need assistance sponsoring a family member? The IRC can help.

Make an appointment today.

The IRC can help you to petition to bring your family members to the U.S., apply for citizenship, green cards, work authorization, travel documents, and more. 

Book an appointment online today

Oakland: (510) 852-8915

Sacramento:  (916) 473-5950

San Jose: (408) 277-0255

Turlock: (209) 667-2378 x1

Who We Are

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is an international non-profit organization founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein. The IRC is at work in more than 40 countries and each year our programs serve 23 million people worldwide. The American Institute of Philanthropy CharityWatch gives the IRC an A+ rating and Charity Navigator awarded the IRC its highest rating. 

The IRC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide immigration legal services. Our comprehensive immigration services are available in 23 U.S. cities and are provided by accredited immigration staff. We can provide eligibility consultations, full case management services, and legal representation.

Quick Links

Photo: IRC / Harkin

Click on any of the links below to be directed to more information on those topics.


Citizenship Workshops

Community Partnerships

Weekly Immigration Clinic

Green Cards

Family Sponsorship

Volunteer Opportunities

Contact Us

News and Features

Community Resources



Apply for U.S. Citizenship 

Are you ready to become an American citizen? The IRC can help all eligible legal permanent resident to apply for naturalization. You do not have to be a refugee or asylee client to take advantage of our services. Make an appointment today or learn more about our citizenship workshops. Your case will be expertly managed by a Department of Justice accredited representative who will complete and file your naturalization application, serve as your legal representative with USCIS, alert you to updates in your case, and provide you trusted advice throughout the entire process. 

Learn more about...

Benefits of U.S. Citizenship

Eligibility for Citizenship

Citizenship Workshops

Documents & Information Needed to Apply

Preparing for the Test

Fee Waivers & Reduced Fees

USCIS Forms 

What to do After You Become a Citizen


Benefits of Naturalization

Becoming a U.S. citizen opens the door to many new opportunities. Start your naturalization application today so you can have access to all the privileges and protections that come along with being an American citizen including:

Forced to flee violence in Iraq, Bushra Naji and her family came to the U.S. in 2008. Five years later with the help of IRC, Bushra became an American citizen. Photo: IRC / Donna Alberico
  • Voting and running for office
  • Security against deportation
  • Bringing more family to the U.S.
  • Increased job opportunities
  • Traveling with a U.S. passport
  • No more paperwork and fees
  • Access to public benefits

Ready to apply? Start your application online on Citizenshipworks or register to attend a Citizenship Workshop. At workshops, IRC will prepare your N-400 application, fill out your fee waiver or reduced fee form (I-912 or I-942, as applicable), and provide you study materials for the naturalization test. At most workshops, legal service fees are waived!


Eligibility for Naturalization

In general, individuals may be eligible for citizenship if they:

  1. Are at least 18 years old;
  2. Have had lawful permanent resident status (“Green Card”) for at least five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen;
  3. Have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the last five years;
  4. Have continusouly resided in the U.S.;
  5. Have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you're applying; 
  6. Are able to pass the English proficiency and American civics test (See exceptions); 
  7. Demonstrate good moral character;
  8. Are willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Depending on your situation, there may be different requirements that may apply. Not sure if you are eligible? Schedule a consultation or come to our weekly walk-in immigration clinics


Naturalization Through Military Service

The naturalization requirements may be diminished or waived for qualifiying U.S. military service members and certain veterans. Qualifying service is generally in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and certain components of the National Guard and the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. Spouses and children of military members may also be eligible for expedited or overseas naturalization. Get detailed guidance on naturalization through military service on the USCIS website or contact your local IRC office to receive an eligibility screening.


Citizenship Workshops

Take the hassle and worry out of applying for citizenship: let IRC's experienced staff handle all the paperwork, forms, and follow-up. Registration is required.

  • Every 1st Wednesday of the month, 3:30–6:30pm | Alum Rock Library, 3090 Alum Rock Ave, San José, 95127  Register online
  • Every 1st Thursday of the month, 1–5pm | IRC Sacramento 2020 Hurley Way, #420, Sacramento, 95825  Register online
  • Every 2nd Tuesday of the month, 9am–2pm | Monument Crisis Center, 1990 Market Street, Concord 94520  Register online
  • Every 3rd Monday of the month, 5–7:30pm | Santa Clara Central Library, 2635 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara 95051 Register online
  • Every 4th Tuesday of the month, 4–7pm | Assyrian American Civic Club, 2618 N Golden State Blvd, Turlock 95382  Register online


What You Need to Apply

Below is a list of documents and information that you will need in order to complete your N-400 application. To help, IRC has made a citizenship application worksheet that you can fill in and print. 

  1. Your Legal Permanent Resident Card ("Green Card")
  2. Your Social Security Card (or a copy)
  3. Your Driver's license or State-issued ID
  4. List of all trips you took outside of the U.S. since you became a permanent resident
  5. List of all your addresses for the last 5 years (with dates of move in and out)
  6. List of all your employers or schools for the last 5 years (with addresses and dates of starting and ending)
  7. List of all your children (including adopted, missing, deceased, and step children) with current addresses, Alien numbers (if applicable), dates of birth, and countries of birth
  8. List of all your marriages and your current spouse's prior marriages (if applicable), including names of spouses, dates of marriage, and dates of termination of marriage
  9. Information about your parents, if they are U.S. citizens
  10. If you've ever been arrested, been to court, had a conviction, had immigration problems, or traffic violations, bring a list of incidents and obtain your Certified Court Dispositions (or DMV records for traffic offenses)
  11. Payment to USCIS: check, cashier's check, or money order for $725 payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security." Credit card payment is also accepted. However, if you receive public assistance such as SSI, Medi-Cal, Cal-Fresh (SNAP/ "Food stamps"), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), CalWORKs, Healthy Families (SCHIP) or your household earns is very low income, you qualify to request a full fee waiver or reduced fee. Learn about fee waivers.
  12. For Fee Waiver or Reduced Fee requests, bring a "Verification of Benefits" or "Notice of Action" letter from the county Department of Human Services or bring proof of low income (recent tax returns and pay stubs for all working members of the household). 


Fee Waiver & Reduced Fee Requests

The USCIS application fee for naturalization is currently $725. However, if you receive public assistance such as SSI, Medi-Cal, Cal-Fresh (SNAP/ "Food stamps"), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), WIC, CalWORKs, Healthy Families (SCHIP) or your household earns at or less than 150% of HHS Poverty Guidelines, you qualify to request a full fee waiver. If your household income is between 150% and 200% of the federal poverty level guidelines, you qualify to request a reduced application fee. To request a full fee waiver or reduced fee, you must show supporting documents like a Verification of Benefits Letter or Notice of Action or your most recent tax returns. To get help determining your eligibility for a Fee Waiver or Reduced Fee, register for a citizenship workshop.

USCIS Fee Waiver Request Form (I-912)

USCIS Reduced Fee Request Form (I-942)

USCIS Fee Waiver Guidance

USCIS Reduced Fee Guidance



Application for Naturalization (Form N-400)

Document Checklist for Form N-400

Fee Waiver Request Form (I-912)

Reduced Fee Request Form (I-942)

Medical Certification for Disability Exemptions (N-648) 

Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (N-426) 


    English and Civics Exceptions

    You are exempt from the English language requirement if you are age 50 or older and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 20 years (“50/20” exception), or if you are age 55 or older and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 15 years (“55/15” exception). If you are age 65 or older and have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years, you may also be given special consideration regarding the civics test.

    You may also qualify for an exception from the English language or civics requirements if you have a physical or developmental disability or a mental impairment. To request an exception on these grounds, you must submit the Form N-648 Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions.


    Naturalization Test Preparation

    Many libraries and community organizations offer free U.S. civics classes, mock interview evenings, and ESL classes to help you prepare for the citizenship interview.

    Citizenship & ESL Classes in SF / Clases de Civica e Ingles en SF

    Citizenship & ESL Classes in San Jose / Clases de Civica e Ingles en San Jose

    Free Online Citizenship Test Class

    Reading Vocabulary List 

    Writing Vocabulary List

    Flashcards for Writing Vocabulary Test

    Flashcards for Reading Vocabulary Test

    U.S. Civics Questions for the Naturalization Test

    Preguntas de educación cívica del Examen de Naturalización

    Mga Katanungan sa Sibika (Kasaysayan at Pamahalaan) para sa Iksamen para sa Naturalisasyon

    Các Câu Hỏi về Công Dân (Lịch Sử và Tổ Chức Công Quyền) cho Trắc Nghiệm Nhập Tịch


    미국 시민권 시험 인터뷰 질문 (역사와 정부)


    After You Become a Citizen

    Now that you're a citizen, make sure that you apply for your U.S. passport, register to vote, update your Social Security record, obtain a certificate of citizenship for your children, and learn how to sponsor your family members to join you in the U.S.

    Rights & Responsibilites of U.S. Citizens

    Get Your Passport

    Register to Vote at the DMV

    Sponsor a Relative to Come to the U.S.


    Community Partnerships

    The International Rescue Committee (IRC) partners with many schools, libraries, labor unions, and other community organizations across Northern California to provide accessible immigration services. Request a free training or educational event about immigrant rights, naturalization, family petitioning, and other immigration processes by emailing Kayla Ladd at Kayla.Ladd [at] Rescue.org or calling (408) 277-0255 extension 202. 

    The IRC is a nationwide partner of the New Americans Campaign (NAC), a diverse nonpartisan national network of respected immigration organizations, legal services providers, faith-based organizations, immigrant rights groups, foundations and community leaders. The Campaign transforms the way aspiring citizens navigate the path to becoming new Americans. In Santa Clara County, the NAC collaborative members include: Asian Law Alliance; Center for Employment Training (CET); International Rescue Committee (IRC); International Institute of the Bay Area; and Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN). In the East Bay, the NAC collaborative includes API Legal Outreach; Catholic Charities of the East Bay; East Bay Sanctuary Covenant; Filipino Advocates for Justice; International Rescue Committee; Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay; and Korean Community Center East Bay.

    The IRC in San Jose is also a member of SBLISN (South Bay Legal Immigration Services Network) which includes: Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN), Asian Law Alliance, Catholic Charities of SCC, Center for Employment Training, International Rescue Committee, Step Forward Foundation, Pangea Legal Services, and Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto.


    Weekly Walk-in Immigration Clinic

    Get a legal consultation at our weekly immigration clinics. 

    Oakland: Every Monday from 1-4pm at 440 Grand Ave, Suite #500, Oakland, CA 94610. $30 Consultation Fee. Book now

    San Jose: Every Tuesday from from 10am-12pm & 1:30-4:30pm at 1210 S. Bascom Ave., Suite #227, San Jose, CA 95128. $30 Consultation Fee. Walk-ins welcome.

    Sacramento: Every Wednesday from 10am-4:30pm at 2020 Hurley Way, Suite #420, Sacramento, CA 95825. $25 Consultation Fee. Walk-ins welcome.

    Turlock: Every Wednesday from 9am-12pm at 2925 Niagra St, Suite #6, Turlock, CA 95382. $25 Consultation Fee. Walk-ins welcome.


    Apply for a Green Card

    Photo: IRC / M Cohen

    The IRC helps individuals to apply for legal permanent residency (green cards) through the adjustment of status process. To detemine if you or a family member are eligible to apply for an adjustment of status, book an appointment online today



    Petition for Family Members

    Photo: IRC / Goncalves

    U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) may bring their eligible family members to live in the United States by filing an immigrant visa petition on behalf of their qualifying relative. Among other requirements, petitioners must show that the relationship with their family member satisfies immigration law and that they are able to financially support their relative in the United States. To receive an eligibility consultation and detailed guidance on sponsoring your family member, make an appointment today.

    Which family members can I bring to live in the United States? 

    U.S. citizens may petition to bring children, spouses, parents, and siblings. Legal Permanent Resident may only petition to bring spouses and unmarried children. 

    How long will the process take? 

    Processing times vary based on a number of factors, including the beneficiary's legal/family relationship to the petitioner, status of the petitioner (U.S. Citizen vs. Legal Permanent Resident), and the beneficiary's country of origin. 


    Volunteer Opportunities

    In Northern California, the International Rescue Committee helps refugees, asylees and immigrants to become permanent residents, apply for citizenship, and petition on behalf of family members, and volunteers are needed in all locations to support immigration caseworkers and ensure the effective management of our offices. To learn more about how you can help IRC provide high quality, low cost immigration services while gaining experience with casework, client follow-up, database management, and community outreach and education, click on your local office below:

    Volunteer in San Jose

    Volunteer in Oakland

    Volunteer in Sacramento

    Volunteer in Turlock


    Contact Us

    To get in touch with an IRC immigration caseworker, call your local IRC office or reach out directly to a caseworker listed below. 

    IRC in San Jose (408) 277-0255

    1210 S. Bascom Ave., Suite #227, San Jose, CA 95128

    IRC in Oakland (510) 852-8915

    440 Grand Ave #500, Oakland, CA 94610

    IRC in Turlock (209) 667-2378

    2925 Niagra St, Turlock, CA 95382

    IRC in Sacramento (916) 473-5950

    2020 Hurley Way, Ste #420, Sacramento, CA 95825


    Vivien Jacob

    Immigration Manager for Northern California

    (209) 667-2378 ext 209

    Vivien.Jacob [at] Rescue.org


    Ketaki Srivastava 

    DOJ Accredited Representative in San Jose

    (408) 277-0255 Ext. 203

    Ketaki.Srivastava [at] Rescue.org


    Emmir Escorcia

    *Se habla español

    DOJ Accredited Representative in San Jose

    (408) 277-0255 Ext. 208

    Emmir.Escorcia [at] Rescue.org 


    Manal Ali 

    DOJ Accredited Representative in Oakland

    (510) 852-8914

    Manal.Ali [at] Rescue.org


    Grecia Sandoval

    *Se habla español

    Immigration Caseworker in Oakland

    (510) 852-8915

    Grecia.Sandoval [at] Rescue.org


    Monica Contreras

    *Se habla español

    DOJ Accredited Representative in Turlock 

    (209) 667-2378 ext 1 

    Monica.Contreras [at] Rescue.org


    Assadullah Hanif

    *Speaks Farsi/Dari & Pashtu

    من فارسی/دری صحبت میکنم

    زه پشتو خبری کولای شم

    DOJ Accredited Representative in Sacramento

    (916) 473-5950

    Assadullah.Hanif [at] rescue.org


    Kevin Woldhagen

    *Speaks Spanish, Arabic, & German

    Se habla espanol

    يتكلم بالغة العربية

    Spricht Deutsch

    Immigration Caseworker in Sacramento

    (916) 473-5950

    Kevin.Woldhagen [at] rescue.org


    Kayla Ladd

    Community Outreach Coordinator for Northern California

    (408) 277-0255 ext 202

    Kayla.Ladd [at] Rescue.org



    News and Features


    USCIS fee increase

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service increased the fees required for many immigrant applications and petitions, including the application for U.S. citizenship on Dec 23, 2016. Read the article.


    Stay connected

    Keep up-to-date with IRC's work both locally and internationally by connecting with us on social media.

    Like us on Facebook

    Follow us on sanjoseimmigration [at] rescue.org (subject: Immigration%20Inquiry) (T)witter

    Follow us on Instagram


    Other Resources

    • USCIS Website
    • San Jose Public Library Events 
    • Palo Alto City Library Events 
    • Santa Clara County Library Events
    • ImmigrantInfo.org: A collaborative project, sponsored by the Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations and the South Bay Consortium for Adult Education (SBCAE) to support successful integration of immigrants and refugees into the community. The website contains a searchable database of current ESL and citizenship classes, public events, and government as well as non-profit educational resources in Santa Clara County.
    • Have friends or family living outside of Northern California? Visit the general IRC Immigration Website to find an immigration specialist in another U.S. city!
    • The International Rescue Committee is a member of the New Americans Campaign, a nonpartisan, innovative and unprecedented effort led by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center that brings together a coalition of funders, leading national immigration and service organizations, and over 100 local service providers to help aspiring Americans reach their dream of citizenship. Visit the NAC events site to find nationwide citizenship and immigration workshops near you!
    • Foothill Community Health Center is a non-profit 501© Federally Qualified Health Center serving all individuals regardless of ability to pay or legal status. They provide primary Medical, Dental, Behavioral Health and Optometry services at their 12 Community Clinic locations. Open seven days a week with extended hours of operation. Call 408-729-9700 for appointments or more information.