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What We Do

Legal, Citizenship, and Immigration Services

According to the American Immigration Council and subsequent studies, children, adults, and families with representation are more likely to succeed and fare better at every stage of the immigration process. Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA) offers eligible LSSNCA program participants legal assistance thanks to the generous support of our community as well as grants from the State Department, the Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees (MORA), and the Virginia Office of New Americans (ONA). We maximize our legal services offerings through partnerships with the Asian American Center of Frederick (AACF), ReactDC, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS), and private law firms.

LSSNCA also provides limited legal services to the community, for a fee, through our Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).

Looking forward, we hope to expand our offerings to include a Vulnerable Migrants Initiative which will allow us to hire and mentor attorneys to take on asylum and other vulnerable cases, allowing us to reach all those on their migration journey.

Legal Services for LSSNCA Clients

LSSNCA originated local pro se asylum workshops for Afghan Allies thanks to volunteers, helping hundreds of individuals – representing on average a family of four – fill out asylum declarations. Our nimble legal team has since also hosted Asylum Declaration workshops, as well as Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) workshops for Afghan Allies at our Resource Center. They also assist Ukrainians with EADs and other populations seeking support. We're looking to expand our reach through a Vulnerable Migrants Initiative.

LSSNCA serves children and parents in the State Department's Central American Minors (CAM) program through a subcontract with LIRS. CAM is designed for minors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who have a parent or legal guardian living in the United States with certain forms of immigration status. Through CAM, eligible minors can resettle in the U.S. as refugees or with Humanitarian Parole.

If you're interested in volunteering with the legal services team, please fill out this form

Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) for the Community

LSSNCA's Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) helps those seeking legal assistance with USCIS forms and applications for a fee. Services are provided by multi-lingual experienced staff accredited by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP) as well as attorneys.

Individuals we cannot serve are referred to other service providers and resources in the area. Fees vary depending on the extent of services needed and are separate from those established by USCIS.

Services Include:

  • Consultation: general immigration consultation to review your immigration history and potential forms of relief
  • Naturalization/Citizenship Application including application for medical waiver for disability or impairment (Forms N-400 and N-648)
  • Family reunification: relative petitions for family members in the United States or overseas (Forms I-130 and I-730)
  • USCIS forms preparation and completion, including Adjustment of Status (Form I-485); Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) (Form I-765)
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applications (Form I-821)
  • Refugee Travel Document (Form I-131)
  • Renewal or replacement of Lawful Permanent Residency card
  • Various waivers
  • Liaison between clients and USCIS offices
  • Counseling 

The Safe Release Program helps unaccompanied children (under 18 years old) who are seeking safety and refuge at our borders reunify with non-parent sponsors (i.e., family members, family friends) in the United States. Sponsors complete background checks through the program, which allows for the release of the children from federal custody. This program allows children to live safely in the United States in a family setting while pursuing immigration relief. LSSNCA accommodates individual appointments for fingerprinting, as well as appointments scheduled by accredited organizations and agencies through Agendize.