NYC is a place of acceptance where diversity is celebrated. Check out these resources, many of which are available regardless of your immigration status.
High School & Learning English
NYC public schools are open to all, and you have the right to attend through the end of the school year in which you turn 21. The Department of Education doesn’t ask about immigration status and won’t release any student information (unless required by law).
Applying to high school The high school application process is the same for every 8th grader. But if you’re interested in English language learners (ELL) programs, consider schools that test language skills as part of their admissions process. For more info about ELL and help enrolling, contact the Department of English Language Learners and Student Support at (212) 374-6072. Learn about applying to high school
High school equivalency diploma If you’re a New Yorker 19 or older without a high school diploma, taking the TASC test can help you get a high school equivalency diploma. The test is free and offered in both English and Spanish. The Department of Education offers free TASC preparation courses through the Pathway for Graduation program. Learn more about taking the TASC
English language learners (ELL) If you’re a high school student learning English, many programs are here to support you. Public schools offer programs (in English and other languages) for improving your reading, writing, and speaking skills. Learn about ELL programs for high school students
We Speak NYC We Speak NYC features civic-focused learning tools for English language learners and teachers. The program offers lessons through an Emmy-winning television show, online and print materials, and community classes throughout NYC. Learn more about We Speak NYC
Services for recently arrived immigrants and refugees
The Resource and Referral Guide provides information about services available to recently arrived immigrants. The majority of services listed are available to anyone living in NYC, regardless of immigration status. Some services are only available to immigrants.
Regardless of immigration status, every student is welcome to apply to a City University of New York (CUNY) college by following the same steps. If you went to high school (secondary school) outside the U.S., be sure to review the application requirements carefully.
Paying for CUNY
Although as an undocumented student you’re not eligible for state or federal financial aid, as a New Yorker you may be eligible for discounted in-state tuition. Review the CUNY Undocumented Students site to see if you qualify.
Immigrant services at CUNY CUNY Citizenship Now! provides free, confidential immigration law services to help you and your family on the path to U.S. citizenship. You’ll have a one-on-one consultation with a lawyer to see if you’re eligible for legal benefits, and they’ll help you apply if you’re qualified. Learn how to access CUNY Citizenship Now!
Get help preparing for SAT/ACT college admissions tests
Students learning English may be eligible for free Kaplan SAT/ACT prep courses. These courses familiarize you with the tests, provide practice tests, and teach strategies for getting a higher score.
There are many opportunities and resources that help NYC immigrants find work and manage their money.
Help finding a job If you’re over 18 and legally allowed to work in the U.S., the City’s Workforce1 centers may be able to help you find a job. By reviewing your work experience and available jobs, staff members can assist you in taking next steps. Get started today
If you’re between 14 and 24, you may be able to participate in work programs sponsored by the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). Check out DYCD employment programs
Business courses for immigrant communities
If you want to own your own business but need help getting started, turn to NYC Small Business Services. You can take free business classes in Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Russian, Korean, and Bengali at public libraries and community organizations around NYC. Get your business going today
Managing your money
NYC has Financial Empowerment Centers in all five boroughs where you can talk to a financial counselor for free. You can get help creating a budget, opening a bank account, saving for your future, and more! Make an appointment today
Free Tax Prep NYC Free Tax Prep sites are available throughout the city, offering in-person and drop-off assistance to people who are eligible based on income. Different sites may have different requirements. Learn more about Free Tax Prep
Protection against exploitation Workers in NYC have rights—regardless of immigration status.
All workers are entitled to the right to organize, minimum wages, a discrimination-free workplace, and a safe and healthy work environment. Based on how many hours you work, you may also be entitled to paid sick leave and overtime pay. Some jobs have additional protections. Learn more about workers’ rights for specific occupations
If you’re treated differently by an employer because of the country you come from, your immigration status, your religious beliefs, or your accent, call 311 and say “human rights” to report it to the NYC Commission on Human Rights.
NYC offers all residents help in accessing health care and insurance.
Visit a doctor
NYC Health + Hospitals is the City’s public hospital system. All New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay, can get services. Make an appointment at a YouthHealth Center near you.
Health insurance NYC provides low-cost and free plans if you qualify, along with counselors to help you choose a plan. Your options depend on factors such as your immigration status, how much you earn, and your age.
Mental health & counseling NYC Well is a free and confidential mental health service for all New Yorkers. You can text (text “WELL” to 65173), talk to a counselor by phone 24/7 in over 200 languages (dial 888-NYC-WELL), or chat online.
ACCESS NYC is a site where, as a New Yorker (no matter your immigration status), you can learn if you might be eligible for over 40 benefits and programs, such as money to buy food, health care, and more.
ACCESS NYC does not ask your immigration status or ask for any personally identifiable information
The site lets you see which benefits you might be eligible for in less than 15 minutes
Most programs and benefits on ACCESS NYC let you know if you need a certain immigration status to qualify
NYC offers many legal services and assistance for immigrants.
ActionNYC Action NYC offers free, safe immigration legal help in your community and in your language. To make an appointment, call 1-800-354-0365, Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm, or call 311 and say “ActionNYC.” Learn more about ActionNYC
Office for New Americans If you’re facing deportation and need a lawyer or are looking for community resources, call the NY State Office of New Americans Hotline for a referral at 1-800-566-7636. Help is available in over 200 languages, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm. Learn more about the Office for New Americans
Avoid fraud Remember: Anyone who’s not a lawyer can’t provide legal help. Only lawyers or those with permission from the Department of Justice can give legal advice or tell you what you qualify for. To report fraud, call the NY State Office of New Americans hotline at 1-800-566-7636. Help is available in over 200 languages.