Where to find free or low-cost immigration law services

By ALLAN WERNICK | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Q. Are there free resources available to help me become a U.S. citizen? Or is there an inexpensive and fair lawyer you can recommend? I am currently out of work.

Juanita, Valley Stream, L.I.

A. Many free or low-cost immigration law services are available for you and other immigrants who cannot afford a private attorney. If your application is postmarked by Oct. 1, you may avoid paying a filing fee. Naturalization application fee waivers will end on Oct. 2, so file before then.


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Throughout New York State, get help by calling the NYS Office of New Americans, (800) 566-7636. In New York City, call 311. Nationwide, readers can get help at immigrationlawhelp.org.

Immigrants looking to hire an attorney should try their local bar association’s legal referral panel. Find a national list of local panels at americanbar.org/groups/legal_services. Or, try the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Immigration Lawyer Search at ailalawyer.com[More New York] Russians still cybermeddling in 2020 election using new techniques and same old disruptive goals »

In New York City, try the Bar Association Referral Panel at (212) 626-7373 or online at nycbar.org/get-legal-help/

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Q. I was living in the United States, but after applying for asylum, I was deported to Ghana. I am engaged to a U.S. citizen but because I was deported, I can’t return for at least 10 years. What are my chances of getting a waiver of the 10-year ban?

Jean Claude, Ghana



A. If a judge had you deported because you were in the United States without lawful status, you have a chance of returning before being abroad for 10 years. To evaluate your chances, ask your fiancée to get an immigration law expert to review your case.

First, you’ll need to marry your fiancée. Then, have her file USCIS form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approves the petition, you file USCIS form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal.


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If USCIS approves your waiver request, the U.S. Department of State will process your green card request.

Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of City University of New York’s Citizenship Now! project. Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 7th Fl., 4 New York Plaza, New York, N.Y.,10004 or email to questions@allanwernick.com. Follow him on Twitter @awernick

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