Novel Coronavirus Preparedness and Information
Information for Immigrants
Please check back often as new information is added to this page on an ongoing basis.
The information on this page does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Instead, all content below is provided for general informational purposes only.
Money and Job Help
I think I have COVID-19. What should I do?
Any Somerville resident who wants to be tested can call 1-617-665-2928 to make an appointment. You do not have to have symptoms. You will not be asked your immigration status.
**Important** If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, please do your best to isolate yourself from other members of your household until you get your test results. Wear a mask and gloves if possible. If you need these or other supplies, please call 3-1-1 and we will help you. We have a set of hotel rooms at The Inn at Revere for people who cannot isolate themselves at home. The rooms are free and you will receive 3 meals a day plus medical care and other support. You will not be asked about your immigration status. For more information or to sign up, call 617-819-4528.
What if I don’t have health insurance?
If you can, sign up for health insurance - MAHealth Connector has extended insurance enrollment through April 23: 877-623-6765 to gain access to the enrollment period, and go to MAhealthconnector.org to complete an application.
If you are not sure if you can apply for health insurance, you can call Health Care For All at 800-272-4232. This is a safe number and everything you say is confidential.
Do hospitals or clinics share citizenship or immigration status with ICE?
No. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prevents anyone from sharing patient information without the patient’s consent. Additionally, health care providers are not legally required to report to federal immigration authorities about a patient’s immigration status.
Will getting tested or treated for COVID-19 threaten my ability to apply for a green card or citizenship under the new public charge rule?
No. USCIS has specifically said it will not consider “testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID-19” as a negative factor in the public charge test, “even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits.” Emergency Medicaid – MassHealth Limited – is also specifically exempted from being considered under the rule.
I am having a hard time coping with everything. Who can I call for help?
The Disaster Distress Helpline offers support in Spanish and in 300 other languages through an interpreter. You can call them at 1-800-985-5990.
I am undocumented and am having a hard time supporting myself and my family. What programs or services can I turn to for help?
Food- The following resources are available to anyone in need of food, regardless of immigration status:
Housing- Mayor Curtatone and the City Council have blocked evictions from taking place until a public health emergency no longer exists. For housing questions, call 3-1-1 to be connected to the Office for Housing Stability.
Utilities- National Grid and Eversource have temporarily agreed not to shut off service for nonpayment.
Will I receive a check from the stimulus bill/CARES Act?
It depends. Only immigrants with social security numbers can receive a check but if they filed taxes with their spouse or children who have an ITIN instead of a social security number, the entire household will not receive one. We understand this puts many of you in a very difficult situation. The following organizations in the area are working to help immigrant families with financial assistance, click here.
If I receive a check from the stimulus bill/CARES Act, will that count against me for the public charge rule?
No, checks received from the CARES Act will not be counted against you in the public charge rule.
I just lost my job. Do I qualify for unemployment assistance?
If you have work authorization and a valid social security number, you can apply for unemployment here.
Will receiving unemployment count against me under the public charge rule if I apply for a green card?
No, unemployment assistance does not count under the public charge rule.
I received a P-EBT card in the mail because my child was receiving free or reduced lunch. Will this count against me under the public charge rule?
No. P-EBT, or Pandemic-EBT, is granted regardless of your immigration status and is not counted under the public charge rule.
I was supposed to have an immigration interview for naturalization, greencard, asylum, or fingerprints. What do I do?
USCIS suspended all in-person services until June 4, meaning all adjustment, naturalization, affirmative asylum, and other interviews have been cancelled, as well as all Infopass appointments, biometrics appointments at Application Support Centers (ASCs), and all naturalization oath ceremonies. Interviews and biometrics appointments will be automatically re-scheduled once USCIS offices reopen, however applicants must reschedule Infopass appointments with the USCIS Contact Center once field offices reopen. On May 27, USCIS announced that they will begin reopening offices on or after June 4, 2020.
I was supposed to report for a check-in at the Burlington ICE office. Should I still go?
You should only go if this is your first check-in or for bond issues. If this is not your first check-in, you can call instead of going in person. The number is (781) 359-7500. If they don’t answer, keep trying until someone answers the phone. Try at different times of day.
My visa expired or is about to expire. What should I do?
For people who have unexpectedly stayed in the United States due to COVID-19, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends applying for an extension of status or change of status. You can find more information at their website here. Before filing any forms, you are strongly encouraged to speak with an immigration attorney.