If you are living in the United States and are not a U.S. citizen, it is important to understand your legal rights and what options you may have to get legal status if you are currently undocumented.
How can LSC help you?
If you are under age 21 and live in Northern California, LSC can do a free legal screening with you and advise you about your legal options. If you qualify for SIJS, DACA, T Visa, or U Visa (lawful immigration relief options) and live in San Francisco county, we may be able to represent you in your case for free. We offer services in English and Spanish, and can access translators for some other languages. Call our Warmline at (415) 863-3762 to learn what legal options are available for you. You can also find more information about immigration under Frequently Asked Questions.
What are my options for living in the U.S. legally?
There are many ways to obtain lawful immigration status. Each one depends on the facts of your case. Go to our Relief Options Overview page for more information about some of the most common ways to get lawful immigration status. It’s important to talk to an attorney about your individual case so they can advise you about your options and what the risks and benefits are.
Information about Legal Rights
For general information about your rights as an immigrant youth in the U.S., see this guide by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (available in English and Spanish); www.ilrc.org/resources/living-in-the-united-states-a-guide-for-immigrant-youth.
Good to Know… Even without lawful immigration status, you have the same right to education as all other youth. However, many non-U.S. citizens are not eligible for federal financial aid for college. In California, you may be eligible for in-state tuition for college under AB540 and may be able to obtain state financial aid through the California Dream Act (www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp).\
Action Guide for Family Preparedness
Every family should have a plan, regardless of immigration status, in case a parent is unavailable to take care of their children. This video provides some basic guidance and steps that a parent may take now to prepare in case they are unavailable to care for their child.
For a downloadable version of the action guide referenced in this video, please CLICK HERE.
This Action Guide has been a joint effort and LSC would like to thank the Immigrant Legal Resource Center for their collaboration and extensive guidance and materials referenced throughout this guide and in the PSA video. We would also like to thank the Multilingual Online Access to Justice Initiative for supporting this project.
What services does LSC provide for undocumented youth?
Detained Immigrant Children’s Project
LSC provides legal screenings and “Know Your Rights” presentations to youth who are detained by immigration. We also represent these minors in San Francisco Immigration Court and make referrals for youth who have reunified with family in other areas. If you or another minor you know was detained by immigration, click here for more information.
Immigration Court/In Removal Proceedings
LSC represents children and youth who are eligible for certain kinds of relief who are in removal (deportation) proceedings before the San Francisco Immigration Court. We also appear in immigration court as attorneys of the day on the juvenile dockets to help screen youth who do not yet have an attorney and make referrals to organizations that might be able to help them. If you are already in proceedings and have an upcoming immigration court hearing, review our Immigration Court Guide for information about what to expect at court.
Do you live outside of the San Francisco and Alameda Counties?
LSC is unlikely to be able to represent you but if you live in Northern California, we may be able to do a screening by phone and give you some referrals. Feel free to call our Warmline at (415) 863-3762.
You can also find other organizations nationwide that provide free or low cost immigration representation on the Immigration Advocates Network: www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/legaldirectory