How to find out if someone is a legal immigrant

Learn about the deportation process, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and other related issues.

On This Page

  • Deportation
  • Locate a Person Held for an Immigration Violation
  • Report an Immigration Violation
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Deportation

Deportation is the formal removal of a foreign national from the U.S. for violating an immigration law.

The Deportation Process

The United States may deport foreign nationals who participate in criminal acts, are a threat to public safety, or violate their visa.

Those who come to the U.S. without travel documents or with forged documents may be deported quickly without an immigration court hearing under an order of expedited removal. Others may go before a judge in a longer deportation (removal) process.

The foreign national may be held in a detention center prior to trial or deportation. See a map of ICE detention facilities or use the ICE Online Detainee Locator System.

An Immigration Court of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) hears the related case.

If a judge rules that the deportation proceeds, the receiving country of the person being deported must agree to accept them and issue travel documents before the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) carries out a removal order.

The majority of removals are carried out by air at U.S. government expense, although some removals may use a combination of air and ground transportation. Learn more about the removal of deported foreign nationals by air.

Criminal non-citizens who have committed nonviolent crimes may be subject to Rapid REPAT.

If You Are Facing Deportation (Removal)

Before completing removal proceedings, you may be able to leave the U.S. on your own, also known as voluntary departure.

Contact a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office near you for questions about deportation.

If you feel that your civil rights have been violated in the immigration, detention, or removal proceedings process, you can file a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security.

If you are an undocumented immigrant facing removal proceedings, you may be able to go through the adjustment of status process to get a green card and become a lawful permanent resident. This is usually done

Through asylum or through withholding of removal if you fear danger or persecution if you return to your home country

This interactive map of pro-bono legal service providers from the Department of Justice can help you find free legal assistance with your immigration, deportation, or other citizenship matters.

Appeal a Deportation Order

You may appeal certain deportation rulings. Seek legal advice before making an appeal; there are nonprofit organizations that can help. Contact the USCIS if you have questions about filing an appeal.

Apply for Readmission After Deportation or Removal

If you are deported, you may be able to file an I-212 form to apply for readmission to the U.S. Contact the USCIS for more information about applying for readmission after deportation.

Locate a Person Held for an Immigration Violation

You can locate someone who:

Is currently detained for possible violation of immigration laws

Was released within the last 60 days from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility

To do so, use the Online Detainee Locator System. Or, contact the field offices of the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations. If you know the facility where the person is being held, call that immigration detention facility directly.

For information about the status of a particular court case, contact the immigration court.

Report an Immigration Violation

To report a person you think may be in the U.S. illegally, use the Homeland Security Investigations online tip form or call 1-866-347-2423 (in the U.S., Mexico, or Canada) or 1-802-872-6199 (from other countries).

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

On December 7, 2020, in compliance with a U.S. District Court order, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting eligible first-time requests and renewals for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Do you have a question?

Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They’ll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.

People with the following immigration statuses qualify for Marketplace coverage.

Immigrants with the following statuses qualify to use the Marketplace:

  • Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR/Green Card holder)
  • Asylee
  • Refugee
  • Cuban/Haitian Entrant
  • Paroled into the U.S.
  • Conditional Entrant Granted before 1980
  • Battered Spouse, Child and Parent
  • Victim of Trafficking and his/her Spouse, Child, Sibling or Parent
  • Granted Withholding of Deportation or Withholding of Removal, under the immigration laws or under the Convention against Torture (CAT)
  • Individual with Non-immigrant Status, includes worker visas (such as H1, H-2A, H-2B), student visas, U-visa, T-visa, and other visas, and citizens of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)
  • Deferred Action Status (Exception: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is not an eligible immigration status for applying for health insurance)
  • Lawful Temporary Resident
  • Administrative order staying removal issued by the Department of Homeland Security
  • Member of a federally-recognized Indian tribe or American Indian Born in Canada
  • Resident of American Samoa

Applicants for any of these statuses qualify to use the Marketplace:

  • Temporary Protected Status with Employment Authorization
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • Victim of Trafficking Visa
  • Adjustment to LPR Status
  • Asylum (see note below)
  • Withholding of Deportation, or Withholding of Removal, under the immigration laws or under the Convention against Torture (CAT) (see note below)

Applicants for asylum are eligible for Marketplace coverage only if they’ve been granted employment authorization or are under the age of 14 and have had an application pending for at least 180 days.

People with the following statuses and who have employment authorization qualify for the Marketplace:

  • Registry Applicants
  • Order of Supervision
  • Applicant for Cancellation of Removal or Suspension of Deportation
  • Applicant for Legalization under Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
  • Legalization under the LIFE Act

Remember: Information about immigration status will be used only to determine eligibility for coverage and not for immigration enforcement.

Learn whether you qualify for government programs to help you afford food, housing, and more.

  • Call 311 NYC Human Resource Administration (HRA) Immigrant Resources page.
  • Find out what programs exist in NYC, and whether they may require U.S. citizenship or immigration status, by using the NYC Immigrant Services Manual (available to download in Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Bengali, Creole, and Korean). Please be aware that some information in this 2013 guide may have changed. You can call 311 or one of the hotlines below if you need additional help.
  • You can also get legal help to understand what benefits you may qualify for.
    • Call The Legal Aid Society at 1(888) 663-6880 (Tuesday – Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m) or
    • Legal Services NYC’s Government Benefits Hotline at (917) 661-4500 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

    Help & Support for Crime Victims/Survivors

    Get help if you or someone you know is the victim/survivor of a crime. Help is available no matter what your immigration status is or what language you speak.

    • The New York City Family Justice Centers offer legal and social services to victims/survivors of abuse and their children.
      You can walk in Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Find your nearest location on the Family Justice Center website.
    • Learn more about resources for immigrant crime victims/survivors on the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs website.

    Immigration Help

    Find free or low-cost immigration legal help

    • Learn more about Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a form of immigration help for children under 21, and find an attorney in NYC who can help you figure out if you might qualify. Download brochure in English. Descargar folleto en español.
    • In NYC, get free, safe immigration help in your community form ActionNYC. Call the ActionNYC hotline at 1(800)354-0365 to make an appointment or visit the ActionNYC website.
    • Call the New York State Office of New Americans Hotline at 1(800) 566-7636 to find a provider near you who speaks your language.
    • Find updated information about the President’s executive action on immigration (also known as “deferred action”) on the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs website.

    Parents and caretakers in immigration detention

    Learn more about how to stay in contact with your child if you are a parent or caretaker in immigration detention.

    • Read about the “Parental Interests Directive,” a set of federal government policies related to staying in touch with your children while you are in immigration detention.

    For Service Providers

    Working with immigrant youth and families

    Learn more about working with immigrant youth and families as a provider of child welfare or family support services.

    A new scheme to allow people who have no immigration status in Ireland to apply for legal residence opened for applications on 31 January 2022. The scheme is open for applications until 31 July 2022.

    The scheme is for people who have been undocumented in Ireland for at least 4 years at the start of the scheme, or for at least 3 years for families with children under 18.

    You apply online, upload documents to prove your identity and residence history, and pay an application fee. If your application is approved, you will get a Stamp 4 residence permission.

    You can apply just for yourself, or you can apply as a family.

    International protection applicants

    In addition, international protection applicants, who have been waiting for a decision for 2 years or more, can apply through a separate application process. Applications opened on 7 February 2022 and will close on 7 August 2022.

    Who can apply?

    You may qualify for the scheme if:

    • You are undocumented in Ireland, or you are an international protection applicant
    • You meet the residence rules
    • You have the documentation and identification needed
    • You have not been convicted of serious criminal offences
    • You are not a threat to national security
    • You pay the application fee (if required)

    Undocumented

    You are undocumented if you are from outside the EU or EEA and you do not have permission to be in Ireland. You may have had permission previously and it expired, or you may never have had legal residence in Ireland.

    You can apply for this scheme if you are undocumented (and meet the other criteria) regardless of the reason why or how you became undocumented.

    You can apply if you have been issued with a Deportation Order, or you are in the ‘Section 3’ process. The Section 3 process is when you have been sent a notification that the Minister for Justice intends to make a Deportation Order, and gives you the chance to set out reasons why you should be granted residence.

    The scheme also applies to former student visa holders.

    International protection applicants

    International protection applicants are not undocumented, but can apply for residence through the scheme. You are eligible if it is at least 2 years since you made your international protection application. The International Protection Office will write to people who are eligible to apply. If you are not contacted by the IPO, you can still apply if you meet the qualifying criteria.

    If your application is approved:

    You do not have to withdraw your application for international protection, but you can choose to withdraw it if you want to.

    Residence rules

    Undocumented applicants

    You can apply for yourself, or you can make a family application. You, as the primary applicant, must have been undocumented for at least 4 years on 31 January 2022, unless you have dependent children.

    You can include your family on your application. If you have children under 18, the length of time that you must be undocumented is reduced to 3 years.

    You can include your spouse/partner and dependent children aged 18-23 on your application if they have lived with you for at least the last 2 years. You must have proof that they have been undocumented for the past 2 years.

    Children aged 24 and over must make their own application and cannot be included in a family application.

    For children aged 24 and over who cannot live independently because of a mental or physical disability, you may be able to include them in your application. You should contact [email protected] before making your application.

    International protection applicants

    You can only apply if you are currently an international protection applicant. Each member of your family must be an international protection applicant. Each member of your family must make a separate application.

    You must have been in the international protection process for at least 2 years on 7 February 2022.

    You do not qualify for the scheme if you have a deportation order.

    Documents you need

    You must be able to prove your identity and that you have lived in Ireland for the required period.

    You do not need to prove that you have a particular level of income or savings.

    Criminal record and national security

    You could be refused if you have been convicted of serious criminal offences. You must declare all criminal convictions as part of your application.

    Your application could be refused if you are deemed a threat to national security.

    Application fee

    The application fee is:

    • €700 for a family
    • €550 for an individual
    • No fee for international protection applicants

    You must pay the full fee at the time when you make your application.

    How to apply

    Undocumented applicants

    You apply online. Guidance on how to complete the online form for single people (pdf) and for family applications is available. You can also watch a video to help you complete your application.

    You can upload your documents as part of the online application.

    International protection applicants

    Decisions and appeals

    If your application is approved, you will get a letter granting you permission to remain in Ireland for 2 years. This can then be renewed. Each member of your family that was part of your application will get a separate letter.

    You must register your permission and get an Irish Residence Permit. You will get a Stamp 4, which means you can work without an employment permit. Children under 16 do not have to register.

    Refusals

    If your application is refused, you will get a letter which will tell you the reasons why it was refused. You can appeal this decision. If your appeal is successful, you will be granted permission to remain in Ireland.

    If your appeal is not successful, your case will be referred to the Repatriation Unit of ISD. If you have a current outstanding application for international protection, or some other residency, that will still be processed if you are refused residence under this scheme.

    You can read more about the Scheme on the ISD website.

    The International Protection Office has frequently asked questions about the scheme for international protection applicants.

    Speak ONLY with a reputable attorney or accredited representative for legal advice.

    Please be aware of immigration scams and/or notarios! Only seek legal help from reputable legal providers. People may attempt to offer immigration benefits or protections that do not exist.

    To report immigration fraud, contact the Montgomery County’s Office on Consumer Protection at (240) 777-3636.

    Montgomery County's Immigrant Resources

      English- updated 2/12/2021)(Spanish/Español)(Chinese) (additional languages coming soon) By the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center. (7/11/2019)
    • Immigration FAQs- In order for immigrant communities to be prepared in any emergency situations that may arise, we have updated our Immigration FAQs to include Know Your Rights resources, information on how to prepare for possible ICE raids, where to get legal help, and more. (English)(Spanish/Español : coming soon) (3/5/2020) : Chart containing information on Montgomery County Immigration Legal Service Providers. (7/10/2019) (Spanish/Español). A useful tool to keep track of your family's important information so you can be prepared for any emergency. By Montgomery County Health and Human Services.

    Know Your Rights Information How to find out if someone is a legal immigrant

    ICE Emergency Hotlines:

    • Click here for a flyer (English)(Spanish/Español) containing all local Emergency Hotlines.
    • If you know someone in ICE detention who needs information or assistance, call the CAIR Coalition at: 202-331-3329. See flyer (English)(Spanish/Español) for more information .
    • If you are a victim of an immigration raid or know of a raid in the area, call CASA de Maryland's ICE Emergency 24/7 hotline at: 240-650-1012 or 1-866-678-2272.
    • In case of an ICE raid or emergency, or if you want a trained group of volunteers to go with you to an ICE check-in or immigration court, call Sanctuary DMV's ICE Emergency Hotline at: 202-335-1183 . See flyer (in English and Spanish/Español) for more information.
    • Call United We Dream's national hotline at: 1-844-363-1423 to report ICE activity.

    Montgomery County Immigrant Rights and Resources Handout (English) (Spanish/Español) (additional languages coming soon). By the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center. (7/11/2019)

      in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hmong, Korean, Spanish/Español and Vietnamese. By the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC). (in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, Haitian Creole, Korean, Spanish/Español, and Vietnamese). By the Catholic Legal Immigration Nework (CLINIC). in multiple languages (including Arabic, Spanish/Español, Farsi, and Somali). Print and carry with you. By National Immigration Law Center. (11/10/2016)

    Family Preparedness

    • Immigrant Legal Resource Center's Family Preparedness Plan (English) ( Spanish/Español)(Chinese) (updated 6/2018) , ( Spanish/Español) ( French), created by Steptoe & Johnson (2017) (Spanish/Español). A useful tool to keep track of your family's important information so you can be prepared for any emergency. By Montgomery County Health and Human Services. . By ILRC. (3/2017)
      : Provides free family safety planning assistance for parents in danger of being detained, deported, or who have serious health issues

        (Spanish/Español) (7/2019)

        • Learn how to designate a standby guardian, and help prevent your child from entering the foster care system if you are unable to care for them if you are picked up by ICE.

        Update: Frequently Asked Questions How to find out if someone is a legal immigrant

        In order for immigrant communities to be prepared in any emergency situations that may arise, we have updated our Immigration FAQs to include Know Your Rights resources, information on how to prepare for possible ICE raids, where to get legal help, and more. (English) (Español)

        Find reputable legal providers How to find out if someone is a legal immigrant

          : At-a-glance chart containing information on Montgomery County's nonprofit immigration legal service providers. (7/10/2019) . Booklet containing information on Montgomery County's nonprofit immigration legal service providers. (April 2017) . By CAIR Coalition. : Search the interactive map for Legal Immigration Service Providers in your area. . You can search by zip code or detention facility. By Immigration Advocates Network and Pro Bono Net.
        • Department of Justice, Executive Office of Immigration Review’s Recognized Organizations and Accredited Representatives.
        • American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Immigration Lawyer Search. For assistance in locating a private immigration attorney.

        Upcoming Immigration-related Workshops and Clinics How to find out if someone is a legal immigrant

        • Ongoing: Free Legal Advice Clinics (including immigration and other legal issues). By Montgomery County County Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program.
          • Must be Montgomery County resident and meet certain income guidelines.
          • Various dates/locations throughout County. Click here for more info.
          • 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month, from 6pm to 8:30pm
          • Location: Gaithersburg Library- 18330 Montgomery Village Ave.,1st Floor, Gaithersburg, MD 20879
          • 3rd Wednesday of each month, from 2:30 – 4:30pm
          • Location: Gilchrist Immigration Resource Center- 11002 Veirs Mill Rd, 5th Floor, Wheaton, MD 20902

          Legal Resources How to find out if someone is a legal immigrant

          This information is posted for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

          In other countries, a notario público, notary public, or notario can be someone who has a lot of legal training. But in the United States, a notary or notario público is a witness to the signing of official documents. Notarios in the U.S. are not licensed attorneys and can’t give you legal advice. If you need legal advice about your immigration status, you need to speak with an attorney. People who are designated as accredited representatives also can help. But if you go to a notario, and the notario is not an accredited representative, that person is just taking your money. Sometimes, that will hurt your chance to immigrate lawfully. Read this graphic novel to see a few ways a notario scam can happen. You can order free copies to distribute in your community.

          What to know:

          • Don’t go to a notario for immigration or legal help. See the tips below on how to get real help.
          • Don’t sign blank immigration forms, or forms that have false information about you or your situation. A dishonest notario may ask you to do this.
          • Don’t pay for immigration forms. The official forms from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are free.
          • Don’t let a notario or anyone else keep your original documents.

          Fake Immigration Websites

          When you’re looking for immigration help, you may find websites that look like they’re connected with USCIS — but they’re not. They may use names like “U.S. Immigration” and show pictures of American flags or the Statue of Liberty. But if the website address doesn’t end in .gov, that means it’s not a federal government website and not connected with USCIS. The site might charge you for forms that are free from the government, and might steal your personal information.

          What to know:

          • Real U.S. government website addresses end with .gov.
          • USCIS forms are free. If you have to pay to download government immigration forms, you’re not on a legitimate website.
          • You’ll find real immigration information at the USCIS website.

          Diversity Lottery Scams

          The U.S. Department of State manages the Diversity Visa Immigrant Program. Some people call this program the “visa lottery.” It’s free to enter. The winners, picked at random, win the chance to apply to become lawful permanent residents. But scammers try to trick people by charging money to apply to the program, promising special access, or promising to increase someone’s chances of winning the lottery.

          What to know:

          • You can enter the visa lottery:
            • only once a year
            • only at dvlottery.state.gov
            • only if you’re from an eligible country and meet the educational or work requirements.

            Scams Against Refugees

            Refugees — people who are forced to leave their country to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster — also are targets for scams. Refugees have a different legal status than other immigrants, but scammers don’t care. They tell refugees, for example, that they’re eligible for a special government grant. But, to get the money they have to pay a fee first. Or scammers say they’re from the IRS and need the person’s bank account number to deposit the grant money. But there is no special grant. You know this is a scam because the government doesn’t call, text, or email to ask for your bank account number. And if someone tells you to pay them by gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency — to help you with your immigration status or for any reason — that’s also a scam.

            What to know:

            • If you are a refugee and someone reaches out to you about government aid, talk to the case manager at your resettlement agency immediately.
            • Don’t pay anyone who asks you to pay by gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency for immigration help. You’re probably dealing with a scammer.
            • Get more information for refugees from the USCIS website: Questions and Answers: Refugees.

            Get Real Help

            Choosing the right person to help you is almost as important as filling out the right form, or filling it out the right way. Even people who mean well, like a friend or a family member, and want to help you with the immigration process can cause problems for you later. For example, they should only write or translate what you tell them to and should not give you advice on what to say or which forms to use.
            To get the help you need, use the information below to find people who are authorized by the U.S. government to help you. Working with them also will help protect you from people who might cheat you

            Who can help:

            Only an attorney or an accredited representative working for an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) can give you legal immigration advice.

            • An attorney must be a member of the professional association in their state. Be sure the attorney you choose is in good standing with the association.
              • To find a free or low-cost immigration attorney, check out this state-by-state list from the U.S. Department of Justice.
              • You also can see this list from the American Immigration Lawyers Association to find an immigration attorney in your area.

              An accredited representative is not a lawyer but is authorized to give immigration advice.

              • The accredited representative must work for an organization recognized by DOJ.
              • Find the recognized organizations in your area on the Recognition & Accreditation Program page on DOJ’s website. The organization may charge you a fee.

              Do It Yourself

              You can represent yourself in immigration proceedings, if you choose. You may want to start by reviewing the section, Explore My Options, on the USCIS website.

              There are an estimated 65,000 undocumented students — children born abroad who are not U.S. citizens or legal residents — who graduate from U.S. high schools each year. These children are guaranteed an education in U.S. public schools through grade 12, but may face legal and financial barriers to higher education. What can you tell undocumented students about their options for college?

              There are three main areas on the path to higher education where undocumented students may have special concerns or face obstacles: admission, tuition and financial aid.

              College admission policies

              Undocumented students may incorrectly assume that they cannot legally attend college in the United States. However, there is no federal or state law that prohibits the admission of undocumented immigrants to U.S. colleges, public or private. Federal or state laws do not require students to prove citizenship in order to enter U.S. institutions of higher education. Yet institutional policies on admitting undocumented students vary.

              For example, many four-year state colleges in Virginia (following a 2003 recommendation by the state attorney general) require applicants to submit proof of citizenship or legal residency and refuse admission to students without documentation. This policy is not, however, a state law. In many other states, public institutions accept undocumented students but treat them as foreign students; they are therefore ineligible for state aid and the lower tuition charged to state residents.

              College tuition policies

              An issue generating controversy today is the question of whether undocumented students residing in a U.S. state should be eligible for the lower tuition rates that state residents pay for their state’s public institutions. Many state institutions charge undocumented students out-of-state tuition fees (even if the student is a longtime resident of the state), and this policy can put college out of their reach financially.

              Some states have passed laws that permit undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates under certain conditions. Counselors should familiarize themselves with their state’s specific prerequisites. The Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students (.pdf/1,068KB) provides a good starting point.

              In 2011, the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act was introduced into the 112th Congress. If passed, this legislation would permit undocumented students to begin a six-year process leading to permanent legal status if, among other requirements, they graduate from a U.S. high school and came to the U.S. at the age of 15 or younger at least five years before the legislation is signed into law. To complete the process they would, within the six-year period, be required to graduate from a community college, complete at least two years toward a four-year degree, or serve at least two years in the U.S. military. These individuals would qualify for in-state tuition rates in all states during the six-year period.

              Federal, state and institutional financial aid policies

              Undocumented students cannot legally receive any federally funded student financial aid, including loans, grants, scholarships or work-study money.

              In most states, they are not eligible for state financial aid. Some states do grant eligibility for state financial aid to undocumented students who qualify for in-state tuition. This has proven a contentious issue, so the situation is subject to change.

              Most private scholarship funds and foundations require applicants to be U.S. citizens or legal residents, but there are some that do not. The Resources section on this page links to a list of scholarships that may be available to undocumented students.

              Private institutions set their own financial aid policies. Some are willing to give scholarships and other aid to undocumented students.

              The counselor’s role

              Legally, K–12 school personnel cannot inquire about the immigration status of students or their parents. Therefore, you may learn that a student is undocumented only if the student chooses to share this information. Undocumented students may not even be aware of their legal status.

              There are many commercial or private websites that offer immigration or citizenship services. Some promote legitimate representatives’ services that you will need to pay for. Others will offer false guarantees to take your money or steal your private information.

              A website might be a fake or a scam if:

                you are asked to pay to access application forms and guides. IRCC only charges fees to process your application.

                  are free on the IRCC website.

                • This means they are a member in good standing of the designated body for their group.

                To avoid website scams:

                • Do a Web search to see if anyone has reported any problems with that site.
                • Contact the website owner by telephone or email before you do anything.
                • Make sure your browser is up to date.
                  • Browser filters can help detect fake websites.

                  If you come across a fraudulent website, report it to:

                  • your local police, and
                  • the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

                  You do not need to hire a company, a representative, a consultant or a lawyer to help you with your application. It is your decision. Doing so will not get your application special attention or guarantee it will be approved.

                  You can get all the application forms and guides you need to apply on this website. If you follow the instructions in the application guides, you will be able to fill out the forms and submit them on your own.

                  Avoid getting scammed. Find out more about using a representative or consultant to help you with your application.

                  The SNAP eligibility rules for immigrants and refugees are very complicated. The SNAP eligibility rules affecting immigrants are different from cash assistance and MassHealth rules. See the chart in Appendix D.

                  If you fall into one of the three groups below, you may qualify for SNAP. See 106 C.M.R. §§362.220-362.240.

                  GROUP 1: Refugees, asylees and others who have fled persecution

                  You qualify under the SNAP eligibility requirements if you are:

                  ■ A person who entered the U.S. as a refugee,

                  ■ A person granted asylum after entering the U.S.,

                  ■ A person granted withholding of deportation or removal,

                  ■ A Cuban/Haitian entrant—defined as a national of Cuba or Haiti who has legal status, a pending application for asylum or an application for certain other statuses,

                  ■ A Vietnamese Amerasian immigrant (e.g., the offspring of a U.S. citizen conceived during the Vietnam war),

                  ■ A victim of trafficking in persons—such as slavery or sex trafficking— who has applied for status under a special process with the Department of Health and Human Services, or

                  Nationals of Iraq or Afghanistan granted a “Special Immigrant Visa” (SIV) designation. SIV holders are lawful permanent residents, many of whom worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq or Afghanistan.

                  If your immigration status falls under one of the above, there is NO five-year waiting period. There is also no 5-year waiting period if you got your green card (LPR status) after you had one of these refugee-type statuses.

                  GROUP 2: Lawful permanent residents (“green card” holders), parolees and battered immigrants

                  You may qualify under the SNAP rules if you are:

                  ■ A lawful permanent resident (LPR), often called a “green card holder,”

                  ■ Granted parolee status for one year or longer, a status generally based on humanitarian or public interest reasons, or

                  ■ A battered immigrant who meet the requirements seen here What are the special immigrant rules for battered immigrants?

                  There is a five year waiting period to qualify for SNAP for some immigrant adults above. But, there is NO five year wait if you are:

                  ■ An immigrant child under age 18,

                  ■ You are blind or have a severe disability and you are receiving a state or federal disability benefit. See How do I show DTA I am disabled?, or

                  GROUP 3: Immigrants with other special statuses

                  You meet the SNAP eligibility requirements, without the 5-year waiting period, if you:

                  ■ are a Native American born in Canada or Mexico (Native Americans born in the U.S. are already U.S. citizens),

                  ■ were a Hmong or Highland Laotian tribe member during the Vietnam war or are the spouse, surviving spouse or unmarried dependent child of a tribe member, or

                  ■ are a veteran of the U.S. military, an active duty service member, or the spouse, widow or dependent of a veteran or active duty service member lawfully residing in the U.S. (even if not an LPR). See 106 C.M.R. § 362.240(A) for a list of immigrants considered to be lawfully residing in the U.S.

                  Immigrants who are not SNAP eligible

                  Unless you fall within one of the above three groups, you are not eligible for SNAP for yourself. See 106 C.M.R. §362.220(D)-(G). You may still file an application for U.S. citizen or qualified immigrant dependents who meet the SNAP eligibility rules. Your income will count in determining their benefits, but you will not receive any benefits for yourself.

                  Examples of ineligible immigrants include:

                  ■ Immigrant adults with LPR or parole status with less than 5 years in qualified status who are neither disabled nor have 40 quarters of countable work history. See Am I eligible if I am a legal immigrant?

                  ■ Immigrants lawfully present or have work authorization under other provisions of federal immigration law but are not “qualified” immigrants. This may include applicants for asylum, applicants for adjustment (a relative or employer petition), immigrants granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or other statuses.

                  ■ An immigrant who is out-of-status or is undocumented, or

                  ■ An immigrant with a “non-immigrant visa” such as a college student, visitor/tourist, diplomat or business visa.

                  See Can my children get benefits if I am an ineligible immigrant? for how ineligible immigrant parents can apply for eligible children, and How does DTA count the income of an ineligible immigrant? for a description of how income of ineligible immigrants is counted to the rest of the household.

                  The Justice Center is not a traditional legal aid program and develops most of its cases internally or through referrals from other attorneys. NOTE: Except for specific services related to immigration law, the Justice Center cannot provide legal advice or representation to individuals calling about a particular case .

                  The North Carolina Justice Center provides the following types of legal services for immigrants in North Carolina:

                  • Civil Litigation. We focus on impact cases that will positively affect a large number of people by creating changes in policy, practice, or law. These cases include housing, consumer, public benefits, access, and workers’ rights.
                  • Immigration Law. We provide free representation to immigrants with low incomes seeking lawful immigration status and relief from deportation. We can only assist individuals who currently live in North Carolina.

                  INTAKE LINES

                  If you need help with a civil matter such as housing, consumer, public benefits, or workers’ rights, please call 919-856-2162, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

                  LÍNEAS DE ADMISIÓN
                  Si necesita ayuda con un caso civil como asuntos de vivienda, consumidores, beneficios públicos o derechos de los trabajadores, llame al 919-856-2162, de lunes a viernes, de 9:00 a.m. a 5:00 p.m.

                  If you need immigration help , please call us on Tuesdays at 1-888-251-2776 (toll free) from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This phone number is for immigration legal assistance only. Due to the large demand for our services, we can only accept calls from possible new clients on Tuesdays. If no one answers the phone when you call, please continue calling until you are able to reach a live person. Please do not call other staff members as you will only be directed to contact the toll free number. We cannot accept “walk-in” clients.

                  If you are a current or former DACA recipient and would like to be screened for alternative forms of immigration relief, please call our DACA-specific intake line on Wednesdays between 2:00-5:00 p.m. at 1-888-251-2776 (toll-free).

                  All intake lines are answered in English and Spanish. We also have a telephone interpreting service and can accept calls in approximately 150 languages.

                  Migrant Worker Rights. For immigrants seeking assistance with employment cases in agriculture, please see our Workers’ Rights page.

                  CASE GUIDELINES

                  If you qualify for our services based on your income, the next step is to see if your case is of the type we generally accept.

                  The NC Justice Center cannot help those who are trying to get legal immigration status through their employer OR those seeking to apply for a temporary or non-immigrant visa such as a visitor’s or student visa – though staff may be able to refer such people to others who can help.

                  The NC Justice Center CURRENTLY ACCEPTS the following cases (due to limited resources, these categories do sometimes change):

                  • Asylum
                  • Cuban Adjustment Act
                  • Family-based petitions and Naturalization
                  • Families of Asylees
                  • NACARA 203 (for Salvadorans and Guatemalans)
                  • Persons in Removal Proceedings
                  • Special Immigrant Juvenile
                  • T and U Visa
                  • TPS (Temporary Protected Status)

                  If you are unsure as to whether or not your problem fits into one of these categories, please feel free to contact us by telephone to find out. Please note, however, that we can only receive calls from prospective clients on Tuesdays.

                  The North Carolina Justice Center DOES NOT ACCEPT cases in the following areas:

                  • Family law
                  • Workers compensation
                  • Personal injury and traffic accidents
                  • Criminal law

                  OTHER RESOURCES

                  The following websites may assist you in locating legal resources in your community:

                    provides civil legal help in civil (not criminal) matters for people with low incomes provides legal representation to farmworkers who come to North Carolina via the H-2A program. for workers’ compensation assistance. website provides useful links to the North Carolina Lawyer Referral Service.

                  We strive to keep information on our website current and accurate; however, you should not rely on this information and attempt to pursue any legal action on your own without first consulting a licensed attorney. Use of this website or sending us an email inquiry does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Justice Center and users of this web site. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established by written agreement.