Other Topics

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.

How can I find legal and social services in my area?

Visit Informed Immigrant and enter your zip code to find lawyers, social workers, and community organizations that serve immigrants.  A zip code is the 5-digit number at the end of your U.S. mailing address.

Visit HelloUSA and enter your city to find a variety of services including job advice, lawyers, and English classes.

You can also view a map of services and support for people who recently left immigration detention from the organization Freedom for Immigrants (but you can only see it on a large screen, not on a cell phone).

If you are looking for an immigration lawyer, please visit this page or watch this video.

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

Yes – receiving aid from government programs (also known as public benefits) does not affect your asylum case. If you are approved for asylum and want to adjust your status to permanent resident after one year, using public benefits will not affect you.

The public benefits that an asylum applicant can receive depend on the state. You can try to find community aid organizations in your area that may be able to help you.

If you have another type of immigration process ongoing, using certain public benefits can affect your immigration case. You may want to speak with a lawyer about your specific situation. Find legal assistance here. You can also visit this page to learn whether using public benefits could impact your immigration case in the future. 

How can I find health care?

Visit this Free Clinic Directory and enter your zip code, or your city and state, to find free medical clinics in your area. This resource from United We Dream also contains links to free and low-cost clinics in different states.

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 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.

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 can I find assistance with a housing, family, or employment issue?

Visit LawHelp and enter your state to find free legal services for housing issues, problems at work, and more.

You can also visit this page and find free legal and other services by entering your zip code. A zip code is the 5-digit number at the end of your U.S. mailing address.

Some of the offices listed through these websites do not provide services to undocumented immigrants, so you will have to call to ask if you are eligible.

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.

Can I apply for a driver’s license if I have a pending asylum case?

In some states, asylum applicants can apply for a license, and in other states they cannot. For example, if you live in the state of New York, you can apply for a driver’s license regardless of your immigration status. Each state is different, so you need to be sure to meet the requirements of your state in order to apply for a license. You can try to find community organizations in your area that may be able to help you.

Applying for a driver’s license as an asylum seeker should not affect your asylum case.

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

Yes, you can open savings 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 benefits in your state. 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?

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

How can I find and help someone who is detained?

If you are looking for a detained adult, you can use this ICE website. 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. At the top of the page, you can change the language. 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, 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

Menu