Legal help is assistance with United States laws that you can get from legal aid, legal assistance, legal counsel, an immigration lawyer, or a pro bono attorney.
Pro bono is work that is done by a lawyer for free. It is usually offered to people with low income.
Why is it important to get legal help?
Many immigration applications are complex. It can be hard to understand and file applications by yourself, especially in immigration court. You may have more success with your application if you have legal help.
Benefits of legal help
An immigration lawyer can help you:
- Explore your options
- Apply for immigration benefits
- Understand the questions on your application
- File your application and supporting documents
- Prepare for any interviews
- Find an interpreter
- Find updates about your case
- Learn about the decisions in your case
- Appeal the decision in your case
- Figure out what to do next
When should I get legal help?
You can get legal help at any time. If you are looking for help with changing your immigration status, it is best to have someone review your application before you send it in.
It is important to get legal help if you are in removal proceedings in immigration court. The government does not assign free counsel to people in immigration proceedings. Research has shown immigrants who are not detained and have legal aid are more likely to win their cases.
Who can help me with my immigration application or case?
Both private and nonprofit organizations have immigration legal clinics. Many nonprofit organizations offer free or low-cost help.
The following professionals can give legal advice and services in immigration and citizenship cases:
- Immigration lawyer: An immigration lawyer or attorney is licensed by a state bar association to offer legal help. An attorney has graduated from law school and has a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree.
- An immigration lawyer can represent you before DHS, USCIS, EOIR (immigration court), and the BIA (immigration appeals).
- DOJ Accredited Representative: A DOJ accredited representative is an individual or nonprofit organization trained to provide immigration services.
- A DOJ accredited representative can be fully or partially accredited. A fully accredited representative can represent you before DHS, USCIS, EOIR, and the BIA. A partially accredited representative can represent you before USCIS.
How can I find a legal professional I can trust?
Some businesses pretend to offer reliable legal services to keep your money. Learn how to recognize and avoid immigration scams to protect yourself.
- Ask to see a copy of their license.
- Check if an attorney is in good standing online with their State Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
DOJ accredited representatives and organizations
- Ask to see proof of their accrediting representative status.
- The DOJ Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has a complete list of accredited organizations and representatives in the U.S.
Note: The Immigrant Legal Resource Center offers important tips on how to find an attorney or representative you can trust.
Where can I find free immigration lawyers or low-cost legal help?
Inside the United States
- Online directory of nonprofit organizations that offer free or low-cost immigration legal services.
- Search for legal help by state, zip code, detention facility, area of immigration, and types of services.
- A project under the Immigration Advocates Network and Pro Bono Net.
- Offers information about various immigration benefits and a list of non-profit legal organizations.
- Search for legal help by zip code and detention facility.
- Immigo is an app with legal information and resources. It is available on the Apple Store and Google Play.
- Immi and Immigo are projects under the Immigration Advocates Network.
- Offers a list of pro bono legal service providers for each state.
- You can also find a list of accredited organizations and representatives and self-help materials.
- A directory of immigration lawyers. Immigration lawyers may charge different fees depending on your case. Contact an immigration lawyer to find out if they offer a free consultation.
- Search a map and list of legal help in your area. Available on the internet and as an app.
FindHello is an app you can use to look for help near you. It shows a map and list of services for immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and undocumented people in the USA. Search for legal help, English classes, healthcare, housing support, and more.
Outside the United States
- A directory of organizations offering free legal services around the world.
Where can I find more legal resources?
You can still get legal help if you do not have an immigration lawyer. There are resources to help you prepare if you are representing yourself (pro se) in immigration court.
- Contact your local bar association and university about free legal workshops and self-help clinics near you.
- The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project lists organizations that offer legal help to asylum seekers who represent themselves in immigration court.
The information on this page comes from trusted sources, including Lawhelp.org, National Immigrant Justice Center, UNHCR, and DOJ. We aim to offer information in plain language that is easy to understand and updated regularly. This page is for guidance. USAHello does not give legal advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal advice.