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Scroll down or click on the links below to read other common questions that members of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) have asked. Please note that often the answers to these questions depend on your location. Visit this page for links to local resources, including community organizations and attorneys.

Can I apply for a green card (permanent residence) after I win asylum?

Yes! You can apply for permanent residence by submitting a green card application (Form I-485) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

You should be able to submit a green card application any time after you win asylum. However, USCIS will not grant your green card application until at least one year after you win asylum.

You can find more information about applying for a green card after winning asylum on this USCIS website. You can also learn about applying for a work permit after winning asylum.

Do I need to include that I am a member of ASAP in my green card application?

Yes. If you are a member of ASAP, you should include information about your ASAP membership in your green card application (Form I-485). Questions 1-13 in Part 8 ask about your membership in organizations in the United States and anywhere else in the world.

If you are a member of ASAP, you should check “yes” to Question 1. Then, you can include the following information about ASAP:

  • Name of Organization: Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP)
  • City or Town: New York
  • State or Province: New York
  • Country: United States
  • Nature of Group: asylum resources and advocacy
  • Dates of membership:

From: To learn the start date for your ASAP membership, please email [email protected]. In your email, please include your ASAP member ID, your full name, your date of birth, and the phone number you included in your ASAP membership application. This will help ASAP to identify you and locate your ASAP membership information.

To: You can write “Current” if you are a member of ASAP now. However, if you are using a computer, the form may not allow you to type a word instead of a date. In that case, after you print your form, you can write the word “Current” with a black pen.

You do NOT need to attach your ASAP membership card to your green card application.

How can I find immigration legal help?

Visit ASAP’s Find Help Page!

How can I find assistance with housing, family, employment, or other issues?

Visit ASAP’s Find Help Page!

Can I get a driver’s license?

The rules about who can apply for a driver’s license and the process for applying are different in each U.S. state.  Find more information about driver’s licenses here.

How can I find food assistance in my area?

Visit this page or this page to search for food assistance near you. Find more information about food assistance here.

Can I receive government assistance if I have an asylum case pending?

Each U.S. state has different rules about what assistance asylum seekers can receive from the government. This may include benefits such as housing support, financial support, food support, and support for pregnant women, babies, and young children. For some benefits, if you have U.S. citizen children, you may be able to receive benefits on their behalf, regardless of your own immigration status. Find more information about government benefits here.

How can I find health care?

Find information about health care here.

You can also use the below resources to look for low-cost medical care in your area:

  • Visit this Free Clinic Directory and enter your zip code, or the city and state where you live, to find free and low-cost medical clinics in your area.
  • You can call 211 in many parts of the United States to get help finding local health care centers and other services.
  • This resource from United We Dream also contains links to free and low-cost clinics in different states.
  • For mental health services, you can visit the websites of Give an Hour or Latinx Therapists Action Network and enter your location. They will show lists of therapists who provide free or low-cost services to asylum seekers.

How can I find mental health care?

Visit the websites of Give an Hour or Latinx Therapists Action Network and enter your location to find lists of therapists who provide free or low-cost services to asylum seekers. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, you can call or text 988 (Lifeline) for help.

If you were separated from your child after entering the United States, you can also call Seneca Family Services at 844-529-3327 to receive free mental health services for yourself or your children.

You can also find general information about health care here.

How can I find help for domestic violence?

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or chat with someone on their website to get support and talk about your options. Their services are free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As a domestic violence survivor, you may be eligible for certain forms of immigration relief, such as U visa or VAWA. An attorney can help you understand your case. Find legal assistance here.

How and when should I file taxes?

​​If you work in the United States, you are required to file your taxes if your income was higher than a specific amount. The deadline to file your taxes is usually April 15, but it can change depending on the year.

There are benefits to filing your taxes. For example:

  • You can receive refunds. When you work in the United States, sometimes part of your income is automatically withheld by the state and federal governments. When you file your taxes, you may be eligible to receive a refund of the money that was withheld.
  • It can help you with your immigration case. For example, filing your taxes can serve as proof of the years that you have lived in the United States, which can be very important for an immigration case.
  • The process is safe. In general, all of the information that you provide when you file your taxes is confidential and should not be shared with other agencies or individuals. Neither the police nor immigration agencies should investigate you for filing your taxes.

If you do not have a Social Security Number, you can still file your taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

If you are looking for help with taxes, you can find places that help you prepare your taxes for free. All you need to do is enter your zip code to find places close to where you live. Or, you can call this free hotline for updated information: 1-800-906-9887. If you prefer someone to help you on the phone instead of in person, you can visit this website.

Read more about taxes and how to file your taxes here.

What should I do if I have questions about my Social Security card?

If you have questions about Social Security numbers, you can contact your local Social Security Administration office directly. To find your closest office, go to this website, and enter your zip code in the box that says “ZIP.”

You can also call the national toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, to request information about the Social Security Administration office in your area.

If you need to request, replace, or correct your social security card, find the instructions and application form here.

You can also find more information about work permits and social security numbers for asylum seekers here.

Can I open a bank account or a credit account if I have a pending asylum case?

Yes, you can open bank accounts and credit accounts if you have a pending asylum case.

Can I apply for unemployment benefits if I have a pending asylum case?

It depends. In general, immigrants who have a work permit may qualify for unemployment benefits, but the rules and requirements of each state are different.

Learn how to apply for the unemployment benefits in the state where you live. You can also contact organizations that might be able to help you apply for unemployment benefits in different states.

What kind of help is available for students who are seeking asylum?

Every child in the United States has the right to receive free public education regardless of their immigration status. Find more information about education here.

Below are some websites that provide useful information for students who are seeking asylum or who do not have immigration status:

Can someone seek asylum at the Mexico-U.S. border?

Maybe. On June 5, 2024, the U.S. government changed its asylum policy at the Mexico-U.S. border. The new policy makes it more difficult for people to seek asylum at the border, because the government believes that too many people are crossing. The policy does NOT affect asylum seekers who were already in the United States before June 5, 2024.

If you or a loved one are at the Mexico-U.S. border, here are some things to know about the new policy:

  • Unaccompanied children can still seek asylum at the border.
  • People in Mexico who make appointments using the CBP One application on their phones can still seek asylum at the border. There are a limited number of CBP One appointments each day.
  • Most other people who cross the Mexico-U.S. border will not be eligible for asylum, and will be turned back. If you are turned back, it could make it harder to enter the United States in the future. If you cross the border and you are afraid to return to your country of origin, you should tell immigration officials, “I am scared to return to my country of origin.” (They will not ask you if you are scared, and they might ignore you, so you should tell as many officials as possible as many times as you can.) If they listen, you may be able to apply for other forms of protection that are not asylum.
  • The U.S. government has said that if the number of people crossing the border decreases in the future, they may again let people who cross the border seek asylum.

ASAP strongly disagrees with this policy, and any policies that prevent people from seeking asylum in the United States. Many people and organizations, including ASAP, are working to fight back against it.

Because the situation at the border can change rapidly, you may want to check organizations working at the border for the latest updates, such as Al Otro Lado or HIAS Mexico.

How can I find and help someone who is detained?

If you are looking for a detained adult, you can use this ICE website. At the top of the page, you can change the language. You can enter the following information about the person — first name, last name, and country of origin — to try to find out which detention center they are in. You can find more detailed instructions here.

If you checked the ICE page and could not find your detained loved one, keep in mind that sometimes it takes a while for them to show up in the system. We recommend that you keep trying. If after a few days you still have not been able to find your loved one, you can try to contact the organization Freedom for Immigrants, which helps people who have not been able to locate their loved ones detained by immigration. You can fill out this form to ask for help or call 209-757-3733.

If you are looking for a child who is detained, this government resource explains how to do so. You can call this government line for parents trying to locate their children, 1-800-203-7001.

Here are some other resources that may be helpful once you have located your loved one:

  • These legal organizations provide legal aid to immigrants in detention in different states. You can call the organization closest to your loved one and ask for help on their behalf. If possible, be ready with the full name and the A number of the detained person when you call.
  • You can request help paying a bond for a loved one in detention.
  • These resources from other organizations have information about how to request the release of people in detention: Guide 1, Guide 2 (available in many languages), Guide 3 (Part 4 of Section IV).
  • Freedom for Immigrants may be able to help if you need to report any abuses in the detention center. You can call 209-757-3733. They also have a direct line, 9233, which your loved one can call from within the detention center.

How can I sue the government for the abuse and mistreatment that we suffered upon arriving in the United States?

This flyer explains the possibility of suing the United States government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FCTA”) for the abuse or mistreatment that you or your family suffered upon arriving in the United States. Filing a lawsuit under the FTCA is a different process than your immigration case and is completely voluntary. If you win your case under the FTCA regarding the abuse or mistreatment that you suffered, you will receive money from the United States government. You should consult with a lawyer to find out about your particular situation.

Note: This page is for adults who are interested in seeking asylum in the United States. Our hope is that you will use the information to better understand the asylum process and take control of your case. However, this information is not a substitute for legal advice about your particular case. To look for legal assistance, visit ASAP’s find help page

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