Asylee Outreach Program

HIAS Pennsylvania’s Asylee Outreach Program (AOP) works with asylees, refugees, victims of trafficking (T-visa recipients), victims of crime (U-visa recipients), and Cuban & Haitian parolees.

If you have been granted status within the past five years and you live in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia county, contact AOP today for help with legal and social services including green card enrollment, petitioning for family members, and enrolling in benefits.

HIAS Pennsylvania’s Asylee Outreach Program can help you get connected to social services and immigration legal services in Pennsylvania!

Use the AOP contact form or call (toll-free) or text (WhatsApp): (833) 344-2772

Leave a message with:

  • Your name
  • Your phone number
  • Your language
  • The best time to reach you

Note: All services provided by the Asylee Outreach Program are free.

Important Documents

What will I need to bring to have a successful office visit?

Save Time. Be prepared with necessary documents.

Asylum Grant Letter from USCIS or Court Order

The Asylum Grant Letter from USCIS or Court Order:

  • Verifies immigration status.
  • Verifies the date that asylum status was granted.
  • Is necessary in order to obtain other services, documents, and  benefits.

Note: Court orders come in many different formats.

1-94 Card

I-94 Cards:

  • Do not modify your card.
  • If you were granted asylum by the USCIS asylum office, your I-94 is automatically included with your approval letter.
  • If you were granted asylum by a judge in court, you must obtain an I-94 from USCIS.

I-94 Card for Derivatives

  • If you travelled as a derivative Asylee, you will have to download your I-94 through the Custom and Border Protection’s website or mobile app.
  • https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/I-94

How do I Obtain an I-94 If Granted Asylum in Court by a Judge?

  • You must make an in-person appointment with USCIS
  • Call the USCIS Contact Center directly: 1-800-375-5283
  • State you need INFOPASS to be connected to a live person. 
  • Once connected state that you are a newly granted asylee and need an I-94
  • Wait for USCIS to phone you back with an appointment. This usually takes less than 7 days.
  • When the Officer calls you back they will verify your Name, Date of Birth, Asylum number, and date of asylum grant. 

 

Social Security Card

Your social security card proves eligibility to work and for government benefits.

What to bring for a Social Security card appointment?

  • USCIS asylum approval Letter or Immigration Court Order and/or I-94 Card
  • Passport or photo ID
  • Asylees are entitled to receive an unrestricted social security card 
  • If you have a restricted social security card then you should make an appointment to remove the restrictions.

Find a social security office at https://www.ssa.gov/locator

  • Enter your zip code to find the phone number of  your local field office to make an in-person appointment
  • Or call the national number: 1-800-772-1213
  • Get the receipt! Wait 30 days.

Beware of Fraud!

  • Shred papers.
  • Beware of scams. The Social Security Administration will never call you!
  • Memorize your social security number (SSN)! Do not carry your card around.
Employment Authorization (EAD) Card

Employment Authorization (EAD) Card

  • Valid for 2 years 
  • If granted asylum by USCIS, the employment authorization card is automatically mailed to your mailing address. 
  • If granted asylum by the immigration court, you should apply for the Employment Authorization Card. You should seek help from an immigration lawyer or DOJ accredited representative. They can apply online at www.uscis.gov
  • You are not required to pay a fee if you are applying for the first time after the grant of asylum.

 

Long-Term Employment Authorization Documents

Long-Term Employment Authorization Documents

  • Social Security Card + Driver’s License/Identification Card + I-194 Card
  • If you obtain a new job, show only your unrestricted social security card and PA ID card or PA Driver’s license.
  • An employer does NOT need your EAD after asylum has been granted to prove work authorization.
Pennsylvania Identification or Driver’s License

How to get a Pennsylvania Identification or Driver’s License

  • Go to: PA Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV}
  • Find an Office: https://www.dmv.pa.gov
  • Bring:
    • Social Security Card
    • Proof of Asylum Approval with I-94 Card & Photo ID (such as EAD Card)
    • Two Proofs of PA residency in your name

 

Pennsylvania "Real" ID

Do I need a REAL ID?

‘Federally compliant” ID to fly  domestically or enter certain  federal facilities like USCIS by May 3, 2023.

Can I use another ID to fly or  travel domestically?

Yes. You can use an unexpired  foreign passport or your unexpired  EAD card.

To apply for a Real ID:

  • Asylum Grant letter, I-94, plus unexpired passport with a Valid Visa. OR Unexpired ED Card or  Valid/Expired ED card with Notice of action (I-797C).
  • Proof of social security number
  • Proof of PA Residency
  • DMV Cost: $33.00

Refugee/Asylee Programs and Benefits

  • You may be eligible depending on your income
  • Review the list of required documents to gather
  • You can apply in person at your local County Social Services or Human Services Agency (HS) or online
  • Some counties use the online application site
  • You can take a picture of documents on your cell phone and upload to your application.

Receiving government benefits WILL NOT affect your immigration status or green card application.

  • As an asylee, receiving public benefits will not affect your immigration status – unless you intentionally commit fraud.
  • Verify the law on the USCIS website.
  • As of March 9th, 2021 “public charge” is no longer to be applied.

Alert: USCIS stopped applying the Public Charge Final Rule to all pending applications and petitions on March 9, 2021. USCIS removed content related to the vacated 2019 Public Charge Final Rule from the affected USCIS forms and has posted updated versions of affected forms. 


Where do I apply for Public Benefits

Healthcare

  •  
Accessing Medical Care
  • When you need to see a doctor, call the doctor’s office for an appointment.
  • Request an interpreter before the appointment.
      • You have a right to an interpreter at medical offices.
  • On the day of your appointment: 
      • Arrive fifteen minutes early. 
      • Bring your insurance card and photo ID.
      • Complete given paperwork.
      • If you are seeing a specialist, you will need to bring a referral from your primary care provider (PCP).
  • If possible, do not miss an appointment,  you may have to pay a fee. 
  • Doctors have many patients, so it often takes weeks to see a doctor.
    • For immediate care, go to a walk-in clinic. 
    • For emergencies, go to urgent care or the emergency room.
Vaccination (General)
  • Everyone must receive several rounds of immunizations.
  • Keep a record of all immunizations.
      • Children must bring their records to school the day after receiving their immunizations.
  • At each immunization appointment, you must set the date for your next vaccination appointment and/or your children’s next vaccination appointments.
  • If you do not want your child to receive immunizations for religious or cultural reasons, then an exemption may be granted.
  • You will be required to show proof of immunizations in order to apply for a Green Card.

 

Dental Care

Dental Care

  • Under Medical Assistance insurance, the dental services you may receive are based on your eligibility category, age and need. 
  • To find out if you are covered for dental care, call your county assistance office or, if you are in the HealthChoices/Managed Care program, call your managed care organization (MCO).
  • You can visit any dentist that signs up with your MCO. For help finding a dentist, please visit www.enrollnow.net or call your MCO’s member services department or ask to speak to a special needs representative in your MCO’s Special Needs Unit.
  •  Recipients eligible for primary dental care should see the dentist twice a year.
Health Insurance Options in Pennsylvania

Health Insurance Options in Pennsylvania:

  • Medical Assistance (MA): Granted through free publicly funded health insurance for those within certain income limits
  • Employer Insurance: Your employer may offer you  insurance for a fee. The fee may be deducted from your paycheck each month.
  • Medicare: You are eligible if you are 65+ years old, have received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cash benefits for 24 months, and/or you have End-Stage Renal Disease
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Covers kids under age 19 who are uninsured & do not qualify for Medicaid (MA)
How to Get a Ride to the Doctor, Dentist, or Pharmacy

Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP): provides transportation to medical appointments for Medical Assistance recipients who do not have transportation available to them. 

To use this service, you first must be registered with MATP, and your health care provider needs to be enrolled in the MA program. To register and to get more information, call MATP in your county.

Mental Health and Wellness

Mental Health and Wellness

  • It is as important to be mentally healthy as it is to be physically healthy.
  • In the U.S., there are doctors for mental health, just like physical health.
  • Some amount of sadness and stress is typical as you adjust to life in the U.S.
  • If you find yourself always experiencing sadness, feeling tired or stressed, or if you continue to think about bad memories, seeing a doctor could be helpful.
  • Mental health doctors help with stress and adjustment to changes.
  • There is no shame in getting mental health services.
  • Your emotions are part of your health. Pay attention to them.

 

The United States also has phone numbers you can call if you or someone you know is going through a mental health crisis. Of course, you can always call 911 if there is an emergency, but police are often not as trained to handle mental health crises. 

Both of these numbers are available 24-7, and both offer interpretation services. You just need to request interpretation when you call. 

  • Philly 24-Hour Mental Health Line: 215-685-6440
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Emergency Medical Assistance

Emergency Medical Assistance

If you experience a medical emergency, please call 911 on your mobile phone. When the person answers the phone, you can say your language and they will get an interpreter. Once the interpreter is on the line, you can tell them the kind of emergency you are experiencing and they will send an ambulance to your home. 

 

Under the insurance you have, an ambulance *could* be free. But for future usage, they might be very expensive, so please only use them for an emergency.

 

What is an emergency?:

  • If someone in your family has a very high fever and cannot eat food, especially if it is after 5:00 pm and the doctor’s offices are closed, that is an emergency. Very sharp pain in the stomach is also an emergency. Anything that disrupts the ability for the person to function to their normal is an emergency.

 

If a member of your family is experiencing pain that is not an emergency, then there are other options for seeing a doctor without an appointment. 

 

Please do let your case manager know if you or anyone in your family is feeling unwell. 

 

911 also is the phone number for the police and the fire department. So if you are experiencing either one of these kinds of emergencies, you can dial 911. 

COVID-19/Coronavirus Resources

All Pennsylvanians age 5 years and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Information on receiving a vaccine, vaccine FAQs, and resources can be found at the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

For questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, call the PA Department of Health Hotline at 1-877-724-3258.

 

Employment

  •  
Matching Grant
What if My Employer Does Not Understand My Immigration Status?

What if My Employer Does Not Understand My Immigration Status?

    • Prove your right to work with your social security card and Pennsylvania I.D.
    • Contact the Department of Justice, Immigrant and Employee Rights Division:
      • Employer hotline: 1-800-255-8155
      • Worker hotline: 1-800-255-7688
    • Show your employer “Information for Refugees and asylees about the I-9 Form” found at this link in many languages:
I-9 Form Information

All New Jobs Require a Form I-9 Form

  • Under Medical Assistance insurance, the dental services you may receive are based on your eligibility category, age and need. 
  • To find out if you are covered for dental care, call your county assistance office or, if you are in the HealthChoices/Managed Care program, call your managed care organization (MCO).
  • You can visit any dentist that signs up with your MCO. For help finding a dentist, please visit www.enrollnow.net or call your MCO’s member services department or ask to speak to a special needs representative in your MCO’s Special Needs Unit.
  •  Recipients eligible for primary dental care should see the dentist twice a year.

In order to be hired for a job, you must fill out an I-9 form. 

  • It must be signed by both employer and employee
  • Must be completed within 3 business days of the first day of work. 
  • Must provide documentation to prove your identity. Either a List A document, or  List B + List C documents

Proof of Identity and Employment Authorization

  • Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
  • Form I-76 or Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • FORM I-94
  • Unrestricted Social Security Card

Documents for Establishing Identity

  • Driver’s License/State ID
  • School ID card with a photograph

Must contain a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address

Rights and Responsibilities in the Workplace

Rights and Responsibilities in the Workplace:

    • In the workplace, you have rights as well as responsibilities.
    • You have the right to:
        • Be paid for your work.
        • Understand how and when you will be paid and your benefits. 
        • Be safe at work. This includes:
          • Safe working conditions (physically and mentally) .
          • Protection from harassment and/or discrimination by other employees and/or your boss. 
          • Never feeling uncomfortable or unsafe. If your coworkers make you feel this way, talk to the Human Resources Department at your workplace. 
          • You may also call Community Legal Services (215-981-3700) or the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission (215-686-4670).
    • You also have many responsibilities at work. You have the responsibility to: 
      • Arrive on time.
      • Communicate your questions or problems with your boss and coworkers.
      • Complete job tasks you are assigned to the best of your ability.
Wage and Safety Rights

Wage and Safety Rights

You have the right:

  • To be paid for all of the hours that you work or are required to be at work.
  • To be paid at least $7.25 per hour for every hour that you work.
  • To be paid “overtime” for any hours that you work over 40 in a week. Overtime is 11⁄2 times your normal pay.
  • To receive a paycheck for your last weeks of work, even if you were fired!
  • To receive a pay stub each week that lists your hours worked, money earned, and deductions.
  • Most people that work for a company are employees. Don’t let your boss call you an independent contractor to avoid paying you the minimum wage or overtime!

Workplace Injuries

If you are injured at your workplace, under the law it is your employer’s responsibility to pay for your medical bills. This applies even for undocumented immigrants.

• If you are out of work for over one week because of a workplace injury, your employer is required to pay you a portion of your salary. Please consult with a workers compensation attorney if this happens to you.
• Let your employer know if you have been injured at work.
• You have the right to be in a healthy workplace. If there is a dangerous situation, or lack of safety equipment or training, call OSHA and they will investigate. You can file an anonymous complaint with OSHA.
• You can reach OSHA by calling: (215) 861-4900.

For more information

UNITE HERE! Philadelphia

215-232-3145

info@uniteherephilly.org

www.uniteherephilly.org

Philadelphia Legal Assistance – 215.981.3800

Friends of Farmworkers – 800.729.1607

Community Legal Services of Philadelphia

215-981-3700

www.clsphila.org

Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA)

(215-971-3803

info@philadelphia.coop

www.philadelphia.coop

Mental Health and Wellness

Mental Health and Wellness

  • It is as important to be mentally healthy as it is to be physically healthy.
  • In the U.S., there are doctors for mental health, just like physical health.
  • Some amount of sadness and stress is typical as you adjust to life in the U.S.
  • If you find yourself always experiencing sadness, feeling tired or stressed, or if you continue to think about bad memories, seeing a doctor could be helpful.
  • Mental health doctors help with stress and adjustment to changes.
  • There is no shame in getting mental health services.
  • Your emotions are part of your health. Pay attention to them.

 

The United States also has phone numbers you can call if you or someone you know is going through a mental health crisis. Of course, you can always call 911 if there is an emergency, but police are often not as trained to handle mental health crises. 

Both of these numbers are available 24-7, and both offer interpretation services. You just need to request interpretation when you call. 

  • Philly 24-Hour Mental Health Line: 215-685-6440
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Emergency Medical Assistance

Emergency Medical Assistance

If you experience a medical emergency, please call 911 on your mobile phone. When the person answers the phone, you can say your language and they will get an interpreter. Once the interpreter is on the line, you can tell them the kind of emergency you are experiencing and they will send an ambulance to your home. 

 

Under the insurance you have, an ambulance *could* be free. But for future usage, they might be very expensive, so please only use them for an emergency.

 

What is an emergency?:

  • If someone in your family has a very high fever and cannot eat food, especially if it is after 5:00 pm and the doctor’s offices are closed, that is an emergency. Very sharp pain in the stomach is also an emergency. Anything that disrupts the ability for the person to function to their normal is an emergency.

 

If a member of your family is experiencing pain that is not an emergency, then there are other options for seeing a doctor without an appointment. 

 

Please do let your case manager know if you or anyone in your family is feeling unwell. 

 

911 also is the phone number for the police and the fire department. So if you are experiencing either one of these kinds of emergencies, you can dial 911. 

COVID-19/Coronavirus Resources

All Pennsylvanians age 5 years and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Information on receiving a vaccine, vaccine FAQs, and resources can be found at the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

For questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, call the PA Department of Health Hotline at 1-877-724-3258.

 

Other Immigration Topics

  •  

New Responsibilities & Helpful Resources

  •  
Unleash generosity this Giving Tuesday!

This Giving Tuesday, you can change an immigrant's life!


This Giving Tuesday, you have the opportunity to be part of a worldwide effort to give back to those in need in our community and help immigrants and refugees begin new lives here in Pennsylvania!

Join us ONLINE at 12:45PM TODAY at the Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) Volunteer Appreciation Awards!

Thanking our volunteers, who, in times of crisis and calm, constantly step up to “repair the world” by supporting immigrants and refugees.

Join us at the Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) Volunteer Appreciation Awards!

The in-person Tikkun Olam Awards are sold out!

Join us online TOMORROW, Wednesday, October 19th, at 12:45PM at the virtual Tikkun Olam Awards!


Thanking our volunteers, who, in times of crisis and calm, constantly step up to “repair the world” by supporting immigrants and refugees.

TONIGHT: Join us at the table!Join us for Thankful Together!

Thankful Together, formerly known as Refugee Thanksgiving, is happening TONIGHT at 6PM!

Register here to join us tonight: https://hiaspa1.wpengine.com/event/thankful-together-2021/

Celebrate our volunteers who make this all possible!Click here at 11:45AM to join our Annual Meeting!

Click here to join our virtual Annual Meeting!

The Annual Meeting starts at noon, but join us at 11:45AM for an informal chat before the event!

POSTPONED! Speed Advocacy: Afghanistan

Today's Speed Advocacy: Afghanistan Facebook Live event has been postponed due to a worldwide Facebook outage. We will update you as soon as possible about rescheduling the event.

Join us for Thankful TogetherWatch performances from cultural groups and immigrants from around Philadelphia.
Give immigrants a brighter future

Make 2021 better for immigrants and refugees by ensuring they have the support to recover from anti-immigrant policies and the pandemic.

Double your donation this Giving Tuesday!All gifts will be matched up to a total of $11,000

Help every immigrant achieve their greatest potential by ensuring there are no obstacles like a lack of legal status or language access stand in their way.