Keep reading to search for a lawyer and other services in the United States! And visit ASAP’s resources page to find legal updates, videos, frequently asked questions, and other information for asylum seekers.
- Immigration nonprofits: Visit the Immigration Advocates Network webpage to search for important information about immigrant rights nonprofits in the United States that offer free or low-cost legal help. You can use your zip code to find local organizations, or select your state. A zip code is the 5-digit number at the end of your U.S. mailing address.
- Pro se help desks: Look over this list of organizations that provide limited scope legal assistance to asylum seekers without lawyers in immigration court. Please reach out to these organizations directly for details on their services.
- Private immigration lawyers: Look over this list of private immigration lawyers in different cities. The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) does not know these lawyers personally, but they were recommended by other local nonprofits. These offices do charge money, but you can always ask if an office can offer payment plans. Please reach out to these firms or attorneys directly for details on their services. This list is organized alphabetically by state and city. If you work for a nonprofit and have additional recommendations for local private attorneys, please email us at [email protected].
- For adults in immigration detention: The organization Freedom for Immigrants has a hotline for detained immigrants and their loved ones. The phone number is 209-757-3733, or 9233 for people calling from a detention center. You can also check out this list of organizations that provide legal assistance in immigration detention centers in various states.
- For unaccompanied minors and their sponsors: You can call or send a message to the government’s hotline at 800-203-7001 to receive help and orientation. Read more about the hotline here. You can also contact the organization KIND. Contact information for KIND’s offices in different cities is available here. You can also contact another organization called ImportaMi, which provides resources and assistance to unaccompanied children.
Here are some links to help you find other local services. If you call an office and they cannot help, ask them if they have recommendations in your area!
- 211 Help Line: In many areas of the United States, you can call the phone number 211 to get help with things like housing, food, transportation, and health care. You can read more here.
- General legal and social services: You can find local assistance by visiting the websites below! Some of the organizations listed through these websites may not provide services to undocumented immigrants. You can contact the organization to ask if you are eligible.
- Informed Immigrant: 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.
- USAHello: enter your city to find a variety of services including job advice, lawyers, and English classes.
- Las Americas: click on the name of your city to find legal and other services, including housing and food assistance.
- LawHelp: enter your state to find free legal services for housing issues, problems at work, and more.
- FindHelp: enter your zipcode to find free or low-cost services, including legal help and food assistance.
- New York Resource Page: Find information for asylum seekers who live in the U.S. state of New York.
- Food Assistance: Visit this page or this page to search for food assistance near you. Find more information about food assistance here.
- 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.
- Mental Health: 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.
- Taxes: Visit the VITA website and enter your zip code to find free help with taxes near you. You can also call VITA at: 1-800-906-9887. If you prefer to get help online, use this link. For more information about paying taxes as an asylum seeker, read this post.
- Unemployment benefits: In general, immigrants with work authorization can qualify for unemployment benefits, but the rules and requirements of every state vary. To search for information specific to your state, visit this State-by-State Unemployment Benefits Finder, from CareerOneStop. This post also has a list of local organizations that may be able to help navigate the unemployment process.
- Domestic violence: You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or chat with someone on the their website to get support and talk about your options. Their services are free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Government benefits: Each U.S. state has different rules about what assistance asylum seekers can receive from the government. Find more information about government benefits here.
- School: 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.
These are some important things you should know when searching for a lawyer:
- A notary is NOT a lawyer in the United States.
- Before you hire a lawyer, ask how much experience they have with asylum cases in the immigration court.
- There are lawyers who work pro bono (without cost) and private lawyers. All lawyers, paid or unpaid, have the same professional responsibilities.
- The lawyer should offer a contract in your language that includes the clear price and a description of the legal services that they will provide.
Also, watch these informative videos from the organization Ayuda about how to have a legal consultation, how to hire a lawyer and how to avoid notary fraud. The videos are currently only in Spanish, but you may try setting auto-generated subtitles through Ayuda’s YouTube videos.
What can I do if I call an office and no one answers?
If no one answers when you call a lawyer’s office, you can leave a voicemail with your name and phone number. And you can keep trying!
What should I do if the lawyer says they cannot help me?
If the organization or the lawyer say that they cannot help you, you can ask them if they have recommendations of other trustworthy lawyers in your area. Some offices only take certain types of cases—that is why it is important to continue your search for a lawyer and call various offices.
What are my rights and responsibilities when I have a lawyer?
Your lawyer is working for you and has certain professional responsibilities towards you and your case. Below, we listed some important points:
- Different types of lawyers: There are lawyers who work for nonprofits and private lawyers. But all lawyers, paid or unpaid, have the same professional responsibilities. Before hiring a lawyer, ask them how much experience they have with asylum cases in the immigration court. NOTE: A notary is NOT a lawyer in the United States.
- Contract: It is important to have a contract of legal services prepared by your lawyer. You should receive a copy of the contract in your language. The contract should include the clear price and a description of the legal services that the lawyer will provide in your case.
- Communication: It is important that you maintain communication with your lawyer and that you always notify your lawyer of changes in your case. Make sure that your lawyer has your current address and phone number. You should receive regular communication from your lawyer and should feel comfortable calling and asking for updates on your case.
- Documents: You should save all original documents of your case and your lawyer must save copies as well. You can ask your lawyer for copies of everything the lawyer has prepared and submitted to the government on your behalf.
- Confidentiality: All communication with your lawyer is confidential. This means that the lawyer cannot share that communication with anyone else without your permission. Therefore, it is important that you feel comfortable sharing everything that happened to you. It is also important that all the information that you share with your lawyer related to your case is correct.
- Firing your lawyer: Finally, if you are not satisfied with the work that your lawyer is doing on your case, you can always fire them. Also, if you think your lawyer has violated the professional rules, you have the right to present a complaint.
Yes. If you are a member of ASAP and you have a question about your asylum case, you can email your question to [email protected]. Please include your ASAP member ID in your email if you are able to. Once we receive your question, our team of expert immigration attorneys will answer your question by replying to your email.
What kinds of questions can ASAP answer?
Our attorneys focus on answering questions about applying for asylum and applying for work permits based on pending asylum applications. For other types of immigration questions, we may give a less detailed or helpful response. If a question is not related to immigration, we may not be able to answer it.
What information should I include in my email?
Your email should include your legal question and as much information as you feel comfortable sharing about your situation. Here is some information that could be helpful to include:
- Are you currently located in the United States or in another country? If you are located in the United States, what city and state are you living in?
- Have you begun the process of seeking asylum or do you plan to seek asylum?
Please also include your ASAP member ID in your email if you are able to.
How quickly will ASAP respond?
If we receive many questions at once, it may take us multiple weeks to send a response. We will do our best to reply as quickly as possible, but we currently serve more than 500,000 members with a small team of lawyers.
Will ASAP charge me money to answer my question?
No. We answer our members’ questions about asylum for free.
How can I become a member of ASAP?
You can become a member by filling out this membership application form. ASAP membership is free. One benefit of ASAP membership is that you can ask questions and get answers from expert immigration attorneys for free.
Can ASAP become my lawyer?
No. Unfortunately, ASAP cannot become your lawyer. We will try to answer your questions to help you apply for asylum on your own. We can also give you information about how to find legal help in your area. But due to capacity constraints, ASAP cannot provide you with a lawyer for your case. We are sorry we cannot do more.
Can I speak with someone on the phone?
No. Unfortunately, ASAP cannot answer members’ questions on a phone call or in person. We cannot do this because our team is small and we receive a very large number of member questions. We are sorry we cannot do more.