Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance

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Washington welcomes people from more than 30 different countries every year. To help people get information in their language, the Washington Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance has created a COVID-19 Translated Resource Document. This document provides all the resources available in different languages.

Below are also Stop the Germs posters translated in a variety of languages.

  • Arabic
  • Burmese
  • Dari
  • Farsi
  • French
  • Kinyarwanda
  • Pashto
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Somali
  • Swahili
  • Tigrinya
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu​
Update Feb. 5, 2020: The federal government has finalized a "public charge" rule that may impact immigrants' applications for visas, permanent residency or admission to the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the rule to be implemented and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will implement the new rule on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020.

Changes to immigration rules on public benefit use

The State of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services has reviewed the rules and wants to provide accurate, reliable information for individuals and families who may be impacted by changing policies. Here is what we know:

  • Programs and services administered by the Department of Social and Health Services will remain in place and are accessible to people who are eligible.
  • DSHS continues to protect the confidentiality of clients’ personal information and does not share this information unless required by state or federal law.
  • Public charge does not apply to all immigrants. Every family is different and people should make the right choice for them and their families, based on their specific situation.
  • The rule does not impact lawful permanent residents applying for U.S. citizenship or naturalization.
  • This new rule does not apply to people who are refugees and asylees, Amerasian immigrants, Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa Holders, Cuban/Haitian Entrants, humanitarian parolees, victims of human trafficking (T- Visa), victims of criminal activity (U-Visa), Special Immigrant Juveniles or VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) self-petitioners.
  • It may impact those applying for lawful permanent residency (“green cards”) or admission to the United States — including diversity visa immigrants and applications to renew, change or extend visas in the United States.
  • Many public benefits are not part of the new rule. Families should feel comfortable continuing to use benefits they are eligible for that are not implicated under the new rule.
    • The new rule will consider cash assistance programs, long-term medical institutionalization and some federal health care, nutrition and housing benefits.
    • The new rule will not consider any other federal benefits. That includes WIC, CHIP, school lunches, food banks, shelters and many more.
    • No changes are being made to non-cash state and local benefits.
  • The rule will apply to applications for adjustments of status, extensions of stay or permanent residency postmarked on or after Feb. 24, 2020.
  • The rule will consider benefits received on or after Feb. 24, 2020. It does not apply retroactively and cannot consider benefits received prior to this date.
  • It does not count the use of benefits by a person’s family members. The use of benefits by children or other household members would not be counted against an individual applying for permanent residency or admission to the United States.

Those with questions or concerns about the impact of using public benefits on their immigration status should contact an immigration attorney. Resources may be available through one of the organizations listed on the Governor’s website. Additionally, you may contact one of the following organizations for help:

  • CLEAR Hotline: 1-888-201-1014
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP):
    • NWIRP Seattle Office: 206-587-4009
    • NWIRP Yakima Valley (Granger) Office: 509-854-2100
    • NWIRP Wenatchee Office: 509-570-0054

Expansion of Refugee Elders Program

The Washington Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance is pleased to announce an expansion of our Refugee Elders Program.  By the end of September 2019, ORIA will invest $250,000 in services to refugees and other eligible immigrants who are 60 years of age or older.  Services can offer a variety of assistance, including helping refugee elders access mainstream aging services, providing education workshops and other direct services, developing opportunities for refugee elders to connect with their communities and much more.  ORIA is now accepting Letters of Interest from organizations wanting to participate in this program.  Letters are due on August 15, 2019, and can be submitted via email to ORIAInfo@dshs.wa.gov.  Questions may be submitted to that email address as well.   For more information, please refer to the attached announcement.


New pilot Refugee Youth Mentoring Program

The Washington Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance is now accepting applications from community partners to participate in the new pilot Refugee Youth Mentoring Program.  With this application, ORIA will invest $425,000 of federal funding into one or more organizations to engage refugee youth ages 18 to 24 in meaningful mentorship opportunities. The full application is due on August 7, 2019 at 5:00 pm.  There is an information session scheduled for July 9, 2019 at 1:00 pm, details are in the application packet

On Tuesday, July 9, 2019, the Washington Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance hosted an information session to answer questions related to our open application for the new Refugee Youth Mentoring Program.  We want to thank everyone who participated.  As requested, ORIA has compiled a list of all of the questions asked and provided the most accurate answers possible at this time.  With this email, we share with you the Q&A and the PowerPoint presentation from the information session.

Community leaders kick off year-long census 2020 efforts

We’re one year away from the start of the 2020 census and leaders in Tacoma, Seattle, Pasco and other Washington cities are part of the all-out effort to deliver one crucial message: Fill out the census form because your voice counts. Read More

What We Do

About ORIA

The Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA) is located within the State of Washington, Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Economic Services Administration (ESA), Community Services Division (CSD). Our goal is for refugee and immigrant families and individuals to succeed and thrive in Washington State.

Can We Help You?

Washington Welcomes Refugees

Washington is home to a very large, diverse and dynamic refugee and immigrant community and has historically ranked as one of the top ten resettlement states in the U.S.

We have strong community partnerships and provide culturally appropriate services through contracts with community-based organizations, voluntary refugee resettlement agencies, local community colleges, and government agencies.

Access Our Services

Complete an application online. Find out if you are eligible and apply for services on-line using our Washington Connection portal.

Visit your local DSHS Community Services Office (CSO). If you are receiving public benefits, ask your DSHS Caseworker about ORIA services.

The Department of Social and Health Services has many other programs and services to help you. To learn more about DSHS services and how to apply for public benefits click here.

Self-sufficiency through support, education and training.