From their first steps on American soil to the oath of citizenship, HIAS Pennsylvania helps immigrants navigate the complexities of American society and its legal system. Our work spans legal, social support, and citizenship services.
When the US government sends refugees to Philadelphia for resettlement, HIAS Pennsylvania:
- Finds a safe and secure place for the new arrivals to live and furnishes it with donated household goods and furniture.
- Greets them at the airport and brings them to their new home for a hot, home-cooked meal.
- Helps them get Social Security cards and access to public benefits.
- Ensures they receive a thorough medical screening from one of the partner refugee health clinics at PENN Center for Primary Care for adults or Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
- Orients them to the community and provides financial literacy lessons.
HIAS Pennsylvania provides the following services to current qualifying clients only. In the future, we hope to expand these programs to any immigrant who needs them:
English as a second language bi-weekly classes help current clients gain the basic language skills to function in the US. These classes are especially suited for immigrants with low literacy skills.
Partnering with local schools in Northeast Philadelphia, HIAS Pennsylvania also operates after-school and mentoring programs for refugee and immigrant youth of all grade levels. In an environment where students feel comfortable and accepted, the programs provide case management support, as well as help with academic and social skills.
Our employment orientation services introduce qualified clients to the American workplace and help them with their resumes and interview techniques. We match as many interested clients as we can with job mentors who work with them one-on-one to adapt their education and experience to the American labor market. Participants who meet the criteria of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Matching Grant Program may also have access to some financial incentives for employment.
HIAS Pennsylvania provides intensive case management support, especially to vulnerable humanitarian immigrants who have gained status, such as single mothers and individuals with major medical needs.
In addition, our Immigrant Wellness program brings together immigrants for conversation groups, women’s groups, trips to explore Philadelphia, and other group activities that improve language and social skills, confidence, and a sense of connection to one another and our city.
Our Philadelphia Neighbor program connects clients to volunteers who can provide extra mentorship and support.
At the core of our services, HIAS Pennsylvania’s legal teams help low-income immigrants and refugees in our region navigate the United States immigration system and courts. Our team encompasses experienced attorneys, many with special expertise serving the most vulnerable groups, and Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representatives.
Of special note, we do not provide assistance with employment-based visa petitions.
Humanitarian Forms of Relief
HIAS Pennsylvania fights for human rights by representing those fleeing persecution in their home countries. ¿Qué es el asilo?
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ)
HIAS Pennsylvania ensures that youth never have to return to neglect or abuse in their home countries.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petition
HIAS Pennsylvania ensures that survivors of domestic violence gain immigration independence from their abuser.
U-Visas for Victims of Crime
HIAS Pennsylvania empowers victims to report crimes by helping them stabilize their status.
T-Visas for Victims of Trafficking
HIAS Pennsylvania empowers victims of human trafficking to gain safety by stabilizing their status.
HIAS Pennsylvania helps immigrants reapply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). We also help immigrants apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), given to immigrants from certain countries affected by armed conflict or natural disaster.
Immigrant and refugee families can call us for legal assistance in filing family petitions, applying for adjustment of status and consular processing.
In addition to helping immigrants gain legal status, HIAS Pennsylvania also assists with the process to obtain:
- Green cards
- Work authorizations
- Travel documents
Many immigrants who could become citizens have not done so because they lack information about the naturalization process and the ability to pay the fees and expenses.
HIAS Pennsylvania, a leader in naturalization services for decades, helps immigrants with their applications; works with them on medical, language, and fee waivers; and provides representation at their interviews with US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Learn more about who is eligible to apply for citizenship here.
Through the Philadelphia-Citizenship Action Network (P-CAN), HIAS Pennsylvania and our partners also offer citizenship classes across Philadelphia.
See upcoming citizenship classes here.