Welcome to Illinois is a project created by The Resurrection Project (TRP), a nonprofit organization in Chicago that helps immigrants navigate the immigration system in collaboration with other immigrant-serving nonprofits. Welcome to Illinois supports recently arrived immigrants in accessing immigration legal services
The State of Illinois and the City of Chicago, in partnership with local community organizations, provide assistance to help eligible immigrants apply to stay or work in the US legally.
| Immigration Application Workshops for Recent Arrivals
Certain recently arrived immigrants are eligible to participate in centralized application workshops. Workshops are free of charge. Follow the below steps to learn if you are eligible and to sign up to participate:
Step 1: Determine if you are eligible to attend a workshop – complete a screening form to determine if you are eligible: Click here to complete.
Step 2: If eligible, you will be sent a workbook by mail. Complete the workbook and prepare your documents. You may also download the workbook here. You can print the workbook at any Chicago Public Library using your CityKey Chicago ID.
Step 3: Once determined eligible to attend a workshop, you will be sent a link to schedule a workshop appointment by text and/or email. Respond to the invitation and sign up for a workshop appointment. Workshop appointments are first-come first-served, every Tuesday – Friday.
Step 4: Attend the workshop according to the instructions texted or emailed to you.
Step 5: At the workshop, a legal representative will review your eligibility for TPS or a work permit based on parole. If you are eligible, your immigration application will be prepared. You will be scheduled for a second appointment to have your application submitted to USCIS (Immigration) and your fingerprints taken.
Step 6: Attend your USCIS Appointment at which point you will be issued a receipt number, and you may have your photo or fingerprints taken.
Step 7: Wait to receive notices from USCIS by mail. USCIS will generally process your application in ~30 days and mail you a decision. If approved, you will receive your work permit and social security number via mail.
Have questions? See the FAQ Section.
Need assistance with registration? Call 312-668-0114 Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm for assistance.
| Am I eligible to attend an immigration application workshop?
In order to attend a workshop, you must:
- Be a recently arrived immigrant to Illinois
- Currently or in the past have received city or state-funded rental assistance (ASERAP) OR have resided in a city shelter
- And qualify for TPS OR a work permit (EAD) based on parole
| What is TPS?
TPS (Temporary Protected Status) is a temporary immigration status that provides protection from deportation and the ability to apply for a work permit.
To be eligible for TPS, you must:
- Be from a country on the current TPS designation list
- Have entered the United States by a certain date
- Pass security and background checks
|Must have entered the U.S. on or before:
|September 25, 2022
|October 20, 2022
|November 6, 2022
|July 28, 2022
|December 29, 2022
|September 20, 2023
|October 5, 2023
|January 11, 2023
|September 4, 2023
|August 16, 2023
|August 16, 2023
|July 31, 2023
| What does TPS provide?
- Work permit
- Protection from detention and deportation
- May travel outside the U.S. with permission (seek legal advice)
- TPS does NOT lead to permanent residency or citizenship
| TPS vs Asylum
- TPS is a temporary immigration relief for people from certain countries the U.S. Government decides to designate.
- Asylum is permanent legal protection for people who have been persecuted in the past or fear harm in the future in their home countries.
- Many people who qualify for TPS may also be afraid of returning to their home countries and qualify for asylum.
- Visit http://bit.ly/asylum-tps if you are deciding whether to seek asylum, TPS, or both.
| What is Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?
Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) are work permits. There are many ways to qualify for an EAD. Many southern border arrivals who are processed by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are given parole and allowed to lawfully enter the United States. Depending on the type of parole, an individual may be eligible to apply for an EAD.
If you currently have unexpired parole, you may be eligible for a work permit and to attend a workshop. Generally, individuals who entered with the CBPOne App will have parole.
| How do I know if I have parole?
Sometimes, the US government grants a person parole when they enter the United States. Parole is a type of discretionary permission to enter the United States. It is only given to some people in certain situations.
Individuals who have unexpired parole are able to apply for a work permit or “Employment Authorization Document” (EAD).
There are various documents that show an individual may have parole. Below are examples of documents that tell you if someone entered via parole, along with the parole expiration date. Below are some examples of parole documentation:
If you do not have a photo or physical document such as the above examples, you can look up the applicant’s latest entry details online:
I-94 LOOKUP INSTRUCTIONS
Follow these instructions to print or take a screenshot of your I-94 Form:
- Visit https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94
- Scroll to “Already Visiting & Need Proof of Visitor Status?” and Select GET MOST RECENT I-94
- Read and agree to Terms of Service. Select I ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE.
- Enter your traveler information as it appears on your immigration paperwork. Under “Document Number,” enter your A NUMBER. Select NEXT when finished:
- If your entry returns a result, select PRINT from the next page. If not, double check your information.
- Either print or take a screenshot of your I-94 Record.
| Who decides if I am eligible for an immigration benefit?
Federal immigration laws allow certain immigrants to stay and/or work legally in the US.
In the United States, immigration laws are established by the Federal government, NOT the state or city government.
| How can I sign up for an upcoming Immigration Application Workshop?
If you are staying in a shelter, talk with your case manager to find out more about upcoming Immigration Application Workshops.
If you have moved out of shelter or are currently or in the past have received state or city rental assistance, complete this screening form to determine if you are eligible to participate in an upcoming workshop: Click here to complete.
| Where can I find a legal service provider to assist me if I do not qualify for a workshop?
Visit ilaccesstojustice.com/get-help/ for a list of free legal service providers.