COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for Immigrants

The City of New York is committed to assisting New Yorkers affected by the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic due to illness, quarantine, job loss, or other challenges. We provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below.

This information is up to date as of September 22, 2020. We will continue updating information.

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

Healthcare

I suspect I have COVID-19, what should I do?

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested now.
  • People with COVID-19 have reported many different types of symptoms, including:
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    This list does not include all possible symptoms.
  • Most people with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms and recover on their own. Less commonly, COVID-19 may lead to pneumonia, other severe complications, hospitalization or death.
  • If you have mild to moderate symptoms, stay home. Do not leave home except to get essential medical care (including testing for COVID-19) or to get basic needs such as groceries, if someone can't get them for you.
  • You should call your health care provider if you have symptoms and one of the following applies to you:
    • You are 50 years of age or older, pregnant, or have other health conditions, such as:
      • Lung disease
      • Moderate to severe asthma
      • Heart disease
      • A weakened immune system
      • Obesity
      • Diabetes
      • Kidney disease
      • Liver disease
      • Cancer
    • You do not feel better in 3-4 days
  • If you need help finding a doctor or getting medical care, call Health + Hospitals' hotline 844-NYC-4NYC (844-692-4692). The City of New York will provide medical care no matter what your immigration status is and regardless of your ability to pay.
  • If you have any of the following symptoms, go to an emergency room or call 911 immediately:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to stay awake
    • Bluish lips or face
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Sudden face drooping
    • Numbness in the face, arm, or leg
    • Seizure
    • Any sudden and severe pain
    • Uncontrolled bleeding
    • Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
    This list is not all inclusive. If you have any concern about a medical emergency, consult your health care provider immediately or call 911.
  • A face covering can help prevent you from spreading COVID-19 to other people. All New Yorkers must wear a face covering whenever they need to be outside their home and cannot maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others. A face covering is any well-secured paper or cloth (like a bandana or a scarf) that covers your nose and mouth. For more information about what type of face covering should be used and how, visit nyc.gov/health/coronavirus. To learn about how to obtain a face covering, visit nyc.gov/facecoverings.
  • New Yorkers can report their health status to the City if they have symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19, have come into contact with someone who may have COVID-19, or are currently in quarantine. Visit the NYC COVID-19 Engagement Portal at cv19engagementportal.cityofnewyork.us for more information.
  • The City's guidance on what you should do regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is frequently updated. To stay up to date with the latest information, visit nyc.gov/health/coronavirus. Information is available in over 20 languages.
    • For real-time text updates on COVID-19 in English, text COVID to 692-692.
    • For real-time updates in Spanish, text COVIDESP to 692-692.
    • Real-time updates can also be found in Spanish and Chinese on Twitter. Follow @NNYCSpanish and @NNYCChinese.

Should I get tested for COVID-19 and how should I get tested?

  • All New Yorkers should get a COVID-19 diagnostic test, whether or not they have symptoms or are at increased risk. Tests are free. You should look for a testing site near your home.
  • If you have already been tested and were found to be negative, you should get another test if:
    • You have symptoms of COVID-19.
    • You or your provider is concerned by a possible exposure, such as:
      • Spending time in large crowds
      • An exposure to someone with confirmed or possible COVID-19
      • Breaches in wearing a face covering or maintaining physical distancing
    • You work in a residential congregate setting, such as a nursing home or shelter.
    • You are planning to visit someone at highest risk for severe COVID-19 illness, including people 65 or older and people with serious underlying medical conditions.
      • Try to maintain strict physical distancing and other precautions for at least 10 days before you get tested. If you have had COVID-19 symptoms within the last 14 days, no matter how minor, postpone your visit.
  • Free testing, regardless of immigration status or whether you have insurance, is available at community sites operated by NYC Health + Hospitals throughout the five boroughs.Visit the MOIA COVID-19 immigrant resource guide webpage to learn about the testing site locations.
  • CityMD offers testing at all of its New York City sites on a walk-in basis, seven days per week. Visit CityMD for locations and hours throughout the five boroughs.
  • Health + Hospitals developed a fact sheet on how to interpret the COVID-19 testing results, which can be found below:
    English | Español | Shqip | االعربية | বাংলা | Français | Kreyòl Ayisyen | हिंदी | 한국어 | Polski | Русский | 简体中文 | 繁體中文 | اُردُو
  • When seeking care at these facilities, you will not be asked about immigration status. COVID-19 testing and care services are not a public benefit under the public charge rule.
  • For more information and to find a testing site near you visit nyc.gov/covidtest

I don't feel sick. How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19?

  • Stay home. Even if you feel well and have no symptoms, you should stay home as much as you can.
  • New Yorkers working together and staying home can help slow the spread of COVID-19. When you go out for essential needs, essential work or to get fresh air, wear a face covering, keep at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others and take the following precautions.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not shake hands. Instead, wave.
  • Monitor your heath more closely than usual for fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat and other symptoms.

I have been advised to stay home. How can I see a doctor? What is telemedicine and how does it work?

  • Telemedicine means that your provider uses phone calls or video conferencing to provide clinical services to patients in real time without an in-person visit. Using telemedicine, you can receive a diagnosis, learn your treatment options and get a prescription (for some types of medication) without visiting a provider in person.
  • The same privacy law that protects your personal health information applies to telemedicine. Under federal law, hospitals and clinics do not share patient information without patient authorization, unless required to do so by law.  
  • During this time, use telephone, text, telemedicine (video conferencing), or a patient portal to speak with your doctor rather than going to your doctor in person. You and your doctor will decide if you need to seek medical care outside of your home.
  • Telemedicine isn't appropriate for emergency situations like heart attack, stroke, or broken bones that require x-rays, splints, or casts. If it is an emergency, call 911.

Will getting tested and treated for COVID-19 or receiving care at a hospital or a clinic threaten my ability to apply for a green card or citizenship under the public charge rule?

  • No. Getting care, treatment, or testing for COVID-19 will NOT make you a "public charge" or hurt your ability to apply for a green card. Getting charity care or discounted medical care from a hospital or health clinic will not hurt your ability to apply for a green card.
  • The Trump Administration has expanded the public benefits that may be counted against certain individuals applying for a green card by issuing a new Public Charge rule. There is an ongoing litigation to challenge the new rule. Visit nyc.gov/publiccharge and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website page on the “public charge” rule for more information.
  • There is no "public charge" test when green card holders apply for citizenship.  
  • If you have questions about public charge, and how accessing certain public benefits may affect immigration status, call the free, confidential ActionNYC hotline at 1-800-354-0365, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday, and say ‘public charge' for information and connections to legal help.

Is it safe to get health care services when I am undocumented? Do hospitals and clinics share citizenship or immigration status information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?

  • NYC Health + Hospitals welcome all NYC residents to get care no matter what your immigration status is.
  • There are strong privacy protections in place for all patients regardless of your immigration status. Under federal law, hospitals and clinics do not share patient information without patient authorization, unless required to do so by law.  
  • While ICE arrests continue, ICE has said that during the pandemic they will implement some limitations on who they will arrest and that they will not carry out arrests at or near health care facilities except in extraordinary circumstances.

Rights and Resources for Workers

What are my rights as a worker during the COVID-19 crisis?

  • Workers are entitled to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. What this means varies from job to job. Federal standards and directives that may apply to worker exposure to COVID-19 can be found on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 webpage.
  • The COVID-19 best practices for business and non-healthcare settings as well as cleaning and disinfection guidance can be found under the Business and Other Facilities page of nyc.gov/coronavirus. The CDC has also provided guidance on best practices, and OSHA has published a guide for preparing workplaces for COVID-19.
  • The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) created a summary of City labor laws for employers and employees as you deal with the impact of COVID-19 on your workplace. These include the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, Fair Workweek Laws for fast food and retail workers, and the Freelance Isn't Free Act. Visit the DCWP website to download the summary in your preferred language. These City workplace laws apply to workers regardless of immigration status.
  • The City issued social distancing guidance to stores to protect essential workers. Stores should require customers to wear face coverings to protect employees and customers, and business owners should post signs to help enforce this guidance. Employers should call 311 or visit nyc.gov/coronavirus for updates.
  • The Mayor recently announced that all essential workers employed by the New York City would receive face coverings and would be required to wear face coverings while interacting with others. City agencies are submitting requests for their employees. City workers who have questions should reach out to their agency.

How can I file a complaint if my employer is not keeping the workplace safe or violating other workers' rights?

  • DCWP enforces the City's workplace laws and may initiate investigations against a business in response to worker complaints. File a workplace complaint if you believe a business is not in compliance with the City workplace laws mentioned above. DCWP will treat all information received as confidential and will not disclose it without your permission or unless required by law. For more information and questions about the process, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/workers. You can also email OLPS@dca.nyc.gov.
  • New York State also has regulations to protect workers during this pandemic. If your employer does not comply with this law, you have the right to file a complaint. Find out more by visiting the New York State Department of Labor's website and the NYS Attorney General's website.
  • You have the right to file a confidential safety and health complaint and request an OSHA inspection of the workplace if you believe there is a serious hazard or if you think your employer is not following OSHA standards. You can file a complaint anonymously. It is illegal for an employer to fire, demote, transfer or otherwise retaliate against a worker for using their rights under the law. Visit the OSHA website for more information.

What happens if I am injured or get sick while working?

  • You may be eligible for compensation to cover some portion of your lost wages and cost incurred for medical treatment if you suffer an on-the job-injury, no matter who is to blame and no matter what your immigration status is. More information about workers' compensation is available on the New York State Workers' Compensation Board website.

How can I get help receiving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

  • The City is distributing facial coverings free of charge in public parks, Grab & Go Meal Hubs, NYCHA buildings, some Mitchell-Lama buildings, grocery stores, and during social distancing enforcement. To learn about how to receive a free facial covering, visit nyc.gov/facecoverings.
  • NYC Department of Small Business Services and NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection are working with business-serving partner organizations throughout the five boroughs. If you are a small business with fewer then 100 employees looking to secure free face coverings for your employees, click on the interactive map to find a distribution partner located near you.
    • You should contact these partner organizations in advance to coordinate mask pick-ups or drop-offs, as most organizations have varying hours and abilities to distribute.

I am undocumented. I am missing work because I am sick, or because a family member is sick. Can I still get paid or will I lose my job?

  • Even if you are undocumented, you can take sick leave and still get paid so long as you meet other eligibility requirements. The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) created a fact sheet providing an overview of different types of paid leaves relating to COVID-19 available under City, state, and federal laws and eligibility for each. Visit the DCWP website to download it in your preferred language.
  • If you work in NYC for more than 80 hours a year, you can earn up to 40 hours of safe and sick leave each year to use for yourself or to help anyone you consider family under NYC's Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law. You have these rights no matter what your immigration status is. Visit the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection's Worker Rights webpage to find out more.
  • You may also be eligible for emergency paid sick leave for COVID-19 under New York State's law no matter what your immigration status is. Some employers in New York State are now required to provide at least five days of job protected, paid sick leave to employees who need to take leave because they or their minor dependent child are under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Find out more by visiting the New York State Department of Labor's New Paid Leave for COVID-19 webpage or call the state's COVID-19 hotline at 888-364-3065. The City has issued Frequently Asked Questions about obtaining an order of quarantine
  • Under the federal law, some employers are required to provide all employees with two weeks of paid sick time for specified reasons related to COVID-19. For the qualifying employers, employees who have worked for at least 30 days are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child under certain circumstances related to COVID-19. Undocumented immigrant employees may also qualify. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor website.
  • If you believe an employer is violating City labor laws, call 311 and say "Paid Safe and Sick Leave" or visit the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection website for more information on how to file a complaint. For New York State labor law complaints, visit NYS Department of Labor website. For federal labor law complaints, visit the U.S. Department of Labor website.

My job or work hours have been reduced due to COVID-19. What benefit am I eligible for?

  • Laws and benefits are quickly changing in response to COVID-19. ACCESS NYC published a chart to help you understand which benefits you may be able to get in your situation. To ensure you get the most up-to-date information, visit this FAQ or the ACCESS NYC site.
    Download the chart

Unemployment Insurance

I am not a citizen. Do I qualify for unemployment insurance?

  • You may qualify if you have work authorization and meet the other eligibility requirements.
  • Those seeking unemployment insurance must generally meet the following requirements:
    1. have lost employment through no fault of your own;
    2. have enough prior earnings from employment to establish a claim;
    3. be ready, willing and able to work immediately;
    4. and be actively seeking work.
    For more information about unemployment insurance eligibility, application process, and payment options, visit the New York State Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Assistance webpage and the ACCESS NYC Unemployment Insurance webpage.
  • If you believe you are eligible, apply online at labor.ny.gov/signin. You may also call the New York State Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Telephone Claim Center at 888-209-8124 if you do not have access to a computer.
  • Make sure you have the following information with you:
    • Your Social Security number
    • Your driver license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if you have either one)
    • Your complete mailing address and zip code
    • A phone number where we can reach you from 8 am - 5 pm, Monday –Friday
    • Your Alien Registration card number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen and have a card)
    • Names and addresses of all your employers for the last 18 months, including those in other states
    • Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (FEIN is on your W-2 forms)
    • Your copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you were a federal employee
    • Your most recent separation form (DD 214), for military service
    You can file a claim without all of these documents. However, missing information can delay your first payment.

Do I qualify for unemployment insurance if I am a sole proprietor/freelancer/gig worker?

Can domestic workers get unemployment benefits?

  • Yes, domestic workers can receive unemployment benefits provided you have work authorization and meet the other eligibility requirements.
  • If you believe you are eligible, apply online at labor.ny.gov/signin. You may also call the New York State Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Telephone Claim Center at 888-209-8124 if you do not have access to a computer.

Would getting unemployment insurance affect my eligibility for public benefits like SNAP and Medicaid?

  • Medicaid: It depends. The cash received through unemployment insurance is typically counted as income under the Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). However, the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), i.e. $600 weekly additional payment enacted by the CARES Act, is not taken into account when determining eligibility for Medicaid.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Yes. Both unemployment insurance and the PUC are counted as unearned income for the purpose of SNAP eligibility.
  • Cash Assistance: Yes. Both unemployment insurance and the PUC are taken into account as unearned income when applying for Cash Assistance.
  • For more information, visit Access HRA or call Human Resources Administration (HRA)'s Infoline at 718-557-1399.

Is unemployment insurance included in the public charge test? Will receiving an unemployment benefit affect my ability to apply for a green card or citizenship?

  • No. Getting unemployment insurance benefits will NOT make you a "public charge" or hurt your ability to apply for a green card. In addition, the "public charge" test does not apply to U.S. citizenship applications.

I am undocumented. Do I qualify for unemployment insurance?

  • Only certain immigration statuses are able to receive unemployment benefits, and in all cases work authorization is required to receive those benefits.

I am undocumented and have been financially affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. What benefits and services can I apply for and access?

  • There are a number of services provided for free to all New Yorkers no matter what your immigration status is. Please check the MOIA COVID-19 Immigrant Resource Guide at nyc.gov/immigrants/coronavirus. The guide will be regularly updated as more benefits and services become available.

Is it true that the unemployment benefit has been cut off? Does this mean I can no longer receive the weekly benefits?

  • No. Under New York law, you can receive benefits for 26 weeks. Under the federal law, this has been extended to 39 weeks. Also note, if you are only receiving partial unemployment (meaning you are still working part-time), you receive benefits for a longer period, based on the period of time it takes for you to receive the total amount of money you would receive in 39 weeks of full unemployment benefits.
  • What expired is the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Under another federal law, the federal government added $600 extra payment to the weekly unemployment insurance benefits. Those payments were only paid for up to four months and ended on July 31, 2020.
  • FEMA is allowing states to provide weekly $300 supplemental payments in addition to unemployment benefits (named Low Wage Assistance (LWA) Program). New York State has now been approved for six weeks of the $300/week payment for the total of six weeks. Visit the New York State Department of Labor website for more information. Per federal regulations, your unemployment must be related to COVID-19 to be eligible for LWA benefits.

Cash Assistance

I am not a citizen. Do I qualify for cash assistance?

  • It depends. Even if you are not a citizen, immigrant New Yorkers or their children may be eligible for cash assistance in New York if you meet the eligibility requirements. Visit ACCESS NYC, Access HRA, or call Human Resources Administration (HRA)'s Infoline at 718-557-1399.
  • NYC Financial Empowerment Centers provide free financial counseling over the phone. Work with counselors to manage sudden changes to your household budget or income, access local, state, and federal emergency resources, and more. Book an appointment at nyc.gov/TalkMoney.

I am undocumented. Do I qualify for cash assistance?

  • Certain immigrants may be eligible for cash assistance in New York if you meet other eligibility requirements. Visit ACCESS NYC or call HRA's Infoline at 718-557-1399.
  • Undocumented immigrants can also apply on behalf of their children who may be eligible.
  • If you have questions about whether accessing certain public benefits may affect your immigration status, you can get free, confidential legal information by calling the ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

I applied for asylum but do not have work authorization yet. Can I receive cash assistance?

  • People who have been granted asylum are eligible for cash assistance. Those with pending asylum applications may also be eligible, depending on other criteria.
  • New York State Department of Education (DOE) issued a guide to community-based organizations in NYC that offer a variety of services that may be of use to immigrant New Yorkers, including public benefit referrals and support for asylum seekers. Check the latest version on the NYS DOE website.
  • To learn more about your eligibility for cash assistance in New York, visit ACCESS NYC, Access HRA, or call HRA's Infoline at 718-557-1399.

Do I have to look for a job in order to get cash assistance?

  • Typically, there are employment and training requirements for recipients of cash assistance. However, for the time being, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this requirement has been temporarily lifted.
  • If you do have a job or other income, you must report it.
  • To learn more about cash assistance in New York, visit ACCESS NYC or call HRA's Infoline at 718-557-1399.

I heard that the federal government is providing stimulus checks to all Americans to help address the coronavirus crisis. Am I eligible for the payment?

  • It depends.  On March 25th, 2020, the federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). As part of the CARES Act, the government is sending Economic Impact Payments to many people in the United States who make less than a certain amount of money. You may be eligible for the Economic Impact Payment if you:
    • Are a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien;
    • Cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return;
    • Have a Social Security number (SSN) that is valid for employment (valid SSN); and
    • Have adjusted gross incomes up to $99,000 individually or $198,000 jointly.
  • In the case of a family, both parents must have valid Social Security Numbers and children claimed as dependents must also have valid Social Security Numbers. (Exception: If either spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the taxable year, then only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN.)
  • If you're eligible for a one-time coronavirus pandemic payment and haven't received your check yet, you can track your payment with the IRS Get My Payment Tool. Payments are automatically deposited into your bank account if you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and received a refund via direct deposit.
  • For more information, visit the IRS website or visit ACCESS NYC.

Would getting a stimulus check affect my eligibility for public benefits like SNAP and Medicaid?

  • Medicaid: Mostly no, but it depends. The Economic Impact Payment provided under the CARES Act is not taxable income and therefore not counted in MAGI based eligibility determinations. For non-MAGI determinations, rebates are not countable as income and are an exempt resource for 12 months. After the 12-month period any portion of the stimulus payment remaining is a countable resource.
  • SNAP: No. The Economic Impact Payment is not counted for the purpose of SNAP eligibility.
  • Cash Assistance: No. The Economic Impact Payment is not counted for the purpose of cash assistance eligibility.

Is cash assistance going to hurt my chance of getting a green card? Is it included in the public charge test?

  • Federal, state, local or tribal cash assistance for income maintenance is one of the public benefits considered for the purpose of the public charge rule. However, many immigrants do not face a "public charge" test in their immigration applications. To learn more about public charge, visit nyc.gov/publiccharge or call the ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365.
  • There is no "public charge" test for green card holders applying for citizenship.
  • If you have questions about whether accessing certain public benefits may affect your immigration status, you can get free, confidential legal information by calling the ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Help for Small Businesses

What grants/loans can I apply for if I am an immigrant business owner?

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a number of loans and grants for small businesses. Visit the SBA Coronavirus Relief Options webpage and the NYC Small Business Services website for updates.
  • SBA COVID-19 relief loan programs include the Payment Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance, SBA Express Bridge Loans, SBA Debt Relief. PPP and EIDL Emergency Advance are forgivable. This means you do not have to pay back if you meet certain requirements. Immigrant business owners may be eligible for these loans. For more information, visit NYC Small Business Services' COVID-19 Relief webpage, and ACCESS NYC SBA Loan Announcement.
  • NYC Financial Empowerment Centers offer free financial counseling over the phone to help small business owners separate personal and business finances. Book an appointment at nyc.gov/TalkMoney.

Immigration

I have a case pending before the immigration court. Is there still a hearing?

  • All immigration court hearings are postponed for people who are not detained. For people who are detained, hearings will continue for now. Visit Justice.gov/EOIR or call the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) hotline at 800-898-7180 or 304-625-2050.
  • If a loved one is detained, you can get general legal information online at EOIR's website. Visit www.justice.gov/eoir/self-help-materials for more information.
  • The Legal Orientation Program is funded by EOIR and educates detained immigrants about their rights and the immigration court process so that they can make informed decisions about their legal cases. Visit the Vera Institute website to check if the program is available in your loved one's detention facilities and download the Legal Orientation Materials, which are available in multiple languages, from their virtual library.

If I filed an application with USCIS, will they still process it?

  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had previously cancelled all face-to-face services including interviews and naturalization ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, on June 17th, USCIS resumed in-person naturalization oath ceremonies, with social distancing guidelines. Interviews and biometrics appointments are being rescheduled. All applicants and legal representatives will receive reschedule notices by mail. Visit USCIS.gov/Coronavirus (for Spanish, visit the Respuesta de USCIS al Coronavirus 2019 webpage). If you have questions (including re-scheduling of your appointment), call the USCIS hotline 800-375-5283, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Additionally, the USCIS New York asylum office began a phased reopening on June 15th and will be conducting in-person interviews. Reschedule notices will be sent to asylum applicants. The Newark asylum office remains closed.
  • For more information, visit USCIS.gov/Coronavirus (en Español) or call 800-375-5283.

I have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) and I need to renew. What are my options?

  • USCIS is still accepting renewals applications. Although biometrics appointments are suspended, USCIS announced that it will reuse previously submitted biometrics to process employment authorization applications.
  • If you live in New York City and you have DACA, call ActionNYC at 800-354-0365, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday, for help renewing your application. We may even be able to help you out with the renewal fee.
  • Stay informed by checking USCIS.gov/Coronavirus

Can I renew my Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

  • It depends. The federal appellate court issued a decision on September 14, 2020 to allow DHS to terminate TPS El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. However, The Ninth Circuit ruling does not take effect immediately. New deadlines for the termination of TPS vary by country. For nationals of Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, the soonest TPS could end is March 5, 2021; for nationals of El Salvador, the earliest is November 5, 2021. A separate lawsuit in New York challenging the Haiti designation alone has also blocked Haiti’s TPS designation and could afford those TPS holders more time. Check the USCIS TPS webpage regularly for updates.
  • If you live in New York City and need legal assistance, you can get free, confidential legal information by calling the ActionNYC hotline at 1-800-354-0365, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Stay informed by checking USCIS.gov/Coronavirus and the USCIS TPS webpage.

Is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) still carrying out arrests and requiring check-ins?

  • ICE has said that enforcement will continue, but that they will implement some limitations on who they will arrest and that they will not carry out arrests at or near health care facilities except in extraordinary circumstances.
  • ICE has cancelled all in-person check-ins for people who are not detained. Telephonic check-ins are still happening.
  • Visits to people in ICE detention are currently not allowed for family and friends, but attorney visits are still permitted. Facilities should be contacted directly for specific requirements.
  • For more on ICE policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit ICE.gov/COVID19.

I am a foreign national here on a temporary visa but no longer able to depart due to COVID-19. What are my options?

  • The Department of Homeland Security has not issued any automatic extensions of peoples' temporary periods in U.S. However, USCIS stated that they "may excuse a non-immigrant's failure to timely file a request for an extension of stay (EOS) or change in status (COS) if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances such as those that may be caused by COVID-19." For more information visit the USCIS website.
  • Visa Waiver:
    • For individuals who are in the United States on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) through Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), within 14 days of the end of the 90 days allowed, a traveler may contact the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Deferred Inspection Unit to request up to 30 days of extension for "satisfactory departure."
    • Individuals who were admitted to the U.S. through John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY (JFK) or Newark Liberty International Airport, NJ (EWR) can contact the Deferred Inspections office at JFK, Monday – Friday, 9am to 4pm at 718-553-3683 or 718-553-3684.
    • For those VWP entrants already granted satisfactory departure and unable to depart within this 30-day period because of COVID-19 related issues, USCIS has the authority to temporarily provide an additional 30-day period of satisfactory departure. To request satisfactory departure from USCIS, a VWP entrant should call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283.
  • Temporary Visas:
    • For those who entered on temporary visas such as for business or pleasure, to request visa extensions travelers must file the I-539 application to extend/change nonimmigrant status. There is a filing fee of $370 (certain people are exempt). An additional biometrics service fee of $85 is required for some applicants. For more information on how to complete and file the application, visit USCIS.gov/i-539  The website is also available in Spanish.
    • For those on student visas, ICE's SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) has issued a comprehensive Q&A document about the implications of COVID-19 on F-1 student programs, which is available on ICE's SEVP website.
  • USCIS will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow the CDC guidance. Please visit USCIS.gov/coronavirus for the latest updates.
  • Those who have additional questions or who are in need of a further legal assistance can call the ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

I am a foreign national here on a work visa and was laid off during the COVID-19 crisis. What are my options?

  • It depends. Different visas entail different required or recommended courses of action.
  • The Department of Homeland Security has not issued any automatic extensions of peoples' temporary periods in U.S. for COVID-19. However, USCIS stated that they "may excuse a non-immigrant's failure to timely file a request for an extension of stay (EOS) or change in status (COS) if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances such as those that may be caused by COVID-19." For more information visit the USCIS website.
  • Those who have additional questions or who are in need of a further legal assistance can call the ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Education and Childcare

What is happening with public education for K-12?

  • In-person learning start dates vary by students’ grades and choices of learning models. Children who are enrolled in fully remote programs will still begin full-day instruction on Monday, September 21. Children in blended learning will be learning remotely on Monday, September 21 until their in-person start date as outlined below. Students should report to school according to their specific blended learning schedules – check with your child’s school to see when they should report.
    • Students in Grades 3K and Pre-K: in-Person Learning begins on Monday, September 21
    • All grades in District 75 schools: In-Person Learning begins on Monday, September 21
    • All Elementary Schools (K-5 and K-8) including students in Grades 6-8 in K-8 schools: In-Person Learning begins on Tuesday, September 29
    • Middle Schools (Grades 6-8): In-Person Learning begins on Thursday, October 1
    • High Schools (Grades 9-12): In-Person Learning begins on Thursday, October 1
    • Secondary Schools (Grades 6-12): In-Person Learning begins on Thursday, October 1
    • Transfer Schools, Adult Education, Evening Schools: In-Person Learning begins on Thursday, October 1
    • K-2 and K-3 Schools: In-Person Learning begins on Tuesday, September 29
    • K-12 Schools:
    • Grades K-8: In-Person Learning begins on Tuesday, September 29
    • Grades 9-12: In-Person Learning begins on Thursday, October 1
  • Visit schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020 for more information.
  • Public schools will offer “blended learning,” with most students attending in-person instruction in their schools between one to three days a week and enrolling in remote education during the rest of the week. At any point of the school year, students have the option to enroll in full-time remote learning by filling out a form at https://www.nycenet.edu/surveys/learningpreference .

What if we do not have an electronic device or access to the internet? How can my child participate in distance learning?

My child is an English language learner. What supports are available for them? What supports are there for parents if they have limited English proficiency?

  • Every school is required to create a remote learning plan to ensure that English language learners and former English language learners receive targeted instruction in English with the appropriate amount of supports in their home language. The DOE and schools are translating and delivering printed activity packets to students' homes.
  • The DOE and schools continue to work to connect all parents, including those who do not speak English well, to the appropriate resources they need to help their child. If you have not received any information about remote learning plan accommodating your child's need for language support, contact the teacher or the principal.

What if I need to go to work because I am an essential worker? Is daycare available?

  • Regional Enrichment Centers are available for children of essential workers. View the full list of eligible workers. Eligibility may expand in the future.
  • Centers provide children with three daily hot meals, remote learning time with their teachers, activities like art, music, and physical education, and social and emotional support.
  • Regional Enrichment Centers are open from Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 6:00 pm.
  • To learn more about the program and apply for a placement, visit the Department of Education Regional Enrichment Center webpage.

How will students who regularly receive additional services such as occupational therapy and physical therapy, continue to receive those services?

  • If your student is recommended for integrated co-teaching, special class, or special education teacher support services, your school will make every effort to have them continue to receive instruction from the same special education teacher(s) and/or teacher team(s) and classroom paraprofessional(s) that usually teach them.
  • Families of students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) should receive a Special Education Remote Learning Plan, developed by the student's special education teacher and other school-based staff with knowledge of the student. If you have not received your child's Special Education Remote Learning Plan or discussed it with your school, or if you would like to discuss the plan or request a change at any time, please reach out to your child's teacher and/or related service provider. You can also email specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov if you need help contacting your child's school.
  • IEP meetings will be conducted over the phone. The school will send you copies of any documents that will be discussed before the meeting.
  • Families can refer their child for special education evaluations by emailing the principal or specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov, or by calling 311 and saying "special education evaluation." Assessments may be conducted remotely.
  • Services for students with IEP will be provided via tele-therapy or video-conferencing where clinically appropriate. Providers and schools will contact families to discuss the service plan for each student. Providers will also give families information about activities that can be done at home to reinforce the related services work.
  • Schools will work with families to ensure that students have access to devices recommended for Assistive Technology, and will contact families to make those arrangements. If you have not received any information from your school, contact the special education teacher or principal.

Food

How do I get meals for my children, my family, or myself?

  • Meals Hubs operate for children and families from 7:30 am to 11:30 am, and from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm for adults.
    • Three meals a day are available for all New York residents at more than 400 meal hubs citywide.
    • All three meals a day may be picked up at the same time. Vegetarian and halal options are available at all sites. Kosher meals are available at a number of sites. Find out more at schools.nyc.gov/freemeals.
    • No registration, ID, or documentation is required. Parents or guardians may pick up meals for their children.
    • Visit schools.nyc.gov/freemeals or call 311 to find a Meal Hub location near you. You can also text FOOD to 877-877 to communicate in English. Text COMIDA to 877-877 for Spanish.
  • New York City's food pantries provide groceries, and community kitchens provide hot meals. There is no income limit. Find locations near you and hours using the interactive maps of FoodHelpNYC or Food Bank NYC. You can also call 311 and say "food pantries."
  • If you want to purchase fresh produce but cannot leave home, numerous local and national businesses now offer home delivery options. The list of businesses can be found on the NYC COVID-19 Food Assistance Resources website (go to the "Grocery Delivery Options").
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, helps people with limited income buy food. Benefits are provided on an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card that is used like an ATM card and accepted at most grocery stores. Some immigrants may be eligible for the program. Online application and renewal can be done via ACCESS HRA, the city's online portal that allows you to apply for and manage your public benefits case.
    • For more information about SNAP benefits and eligibility, visit the Human Resources Administration (HRA)'s webpage on SNAP or call HRA's Infoline at 718-557-1399.
    • Undocumented immigrants can also apply for SNAP on behalf of their children who may be eligible.
    • If you have questions about immigration and public benefits such as SNAP, call the free, confidential ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., or call 311 to access timely and trusted information and connections to legal help.
  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides free healthy food and other services to low-income women and children.  Visit ACCESS NYC (for Spanish, visit ACCESS NYC Español) for more information. Online application and renewal can be done via ACCESS HRA, the city's online portal that allows you to apply for and manage your public benefits case.

What is P-EBT and how can I get it?

  • New York State’s Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a new benefit that gives up to $420 per child in money for groceries to all NYC public school families. No sign-up is required. All families of NYC public school children, regardless of immigration status, income, or employment, will receive this money. Visit the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance P-EBT FAQ webpage for more information.
    • Most families that receive SNAP and/ or TA (Cash) benefits already received the P-EBT food benefits for each eligible child sometime in May or June. The P-EBT food benefits were issued directly to your household's existing EBT card and added to your SNAP balance.
    • Most families with children who receive Medicaid, who are between the ages of 3 and 18 and who are eligible for P-EBT food benefits will have their P-EBT food benefits issued either to the Medicaid Common Benefit Identification Card (CBIC) of the parent or to the CBIC of the oldest child in your household who has been certified for free or reduced-price school lunches. Households with children in this group received a letter in July telling them how to access their P-EBT food benefits using their Medicaid CBIC.
    • The parents/guardians of eligible children who did not receive their P-EBT food benefits on a SNAP, TA (Cash) or Medicaid card are receiving a P-EBT 2020 food benefit card in the mail. A card is being sent for each eligible child. These cards are mailed in each school-aged child’s name, not a parent’s or guardian’s name, through the month of September.
  • You can check your family's SNAP/P-EBT food benefits balance (but not your eligibility for P-EBT food benefits) by visiting www.connectebt.com or by calling 1-888-328-6399. Call center agents at this number can only answer questions about your SNAP balance. They do not have information about P-EBT food benefits and cannot answer any questions about whether you are eligible and when you will receive them.
  • If you are concerned that the State of New York may not have your correct address, please call 833-452-0096 or email otda.sm.eisp.PEBT@otda.ny.gov.
  • NYC P-EBT flyers are available in multiple languages here.

Is receiving SNAP or WIC going to hurt my chance of getting a green card? Is it included in the public charge test?

  • SNAP is one of the public benefits considered for the purpose of the public charge rule, however many immigrants do not face a "public charge" test in their immigration applications, including refugees, asylees, and more.
  • WIC is not counted as public benefits under the federal public charge rule.
  • There is no "public charge" test for green card holders applying for citizenship.
  • If you have questions about whether accessing certain public benefits may affect your immigration status, you can get free, confidential legal information by calling the ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday, or call 311 and say "Public Charge" to access timely and trusted information and connections to legal help.

Will accessing a food pantry or picking up a "grab and go" meal or receiving food delivery hurt my ability to apply for a green card or make me a "public charge"?

  • No. These services are not part of the public benefits considered under the public charge rule and will not hurt your ability to apply for a green card.
  • If you have questions about public charge, and how accessing certain public benefits may affect immigration status, call the free, confidential ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365 and say 'public charge' for information and connections to legal help.

I cannot go outside to pick up food or groceries. How can I get the food I need?

  • The City of New York is providing assistance to New Yorkers during the COVID-19 crisis by delivering meals to those who cannot access food themselves. For more information about this option and other options, visit nyc.gov/getfood.
  • The City currently only delivers meals and certain shelf-stable food items. However, some food pantries offer mobile pantry services where they deliver groceries to families in need. Contact pantries near you using FoodHelpNYC or call 311 for more information.

Housing

What do I do if I need to isolate because of COVID-19 but cannot do it at home or afford to find temporary housing for myself?

  • The City is operating a temporary hotel accommodation program to the following individuals:
    • If you tested positive for COVID-19 or think you might have it because of your symptoms and cannot safely self-isolate in their current living space. This can mean:
      • Your home does not have space for you to stay six feet away from others
      • You share rooms or a bathroom
      • You live with someone who is vulnerable
    • If you do not have COVID-19 but live with someone who has COVID-19
  • Call the Health + Hospitals hotline at 844-NYC-4NYC (1-844-692-4692) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. A medical provider will assess your situation and then refer you to a hotel if appropriate.
  • In addition, if you are employed or volunteering to provide care and/or services (clinical or nonclinical) in a healthcare, community-based or home-based setting within New York City where you are at risk of being exposed to or contracting COVID-19, you may be eligible for the services. Visit nyc.gov/covid19hotel to get more information or make a reservation.
  • This program, including food, linens, and local phone service, is free for eligible New Yorkers and provides up to 14 days of free hotel accommodation.
  • Receiving this service will NOT make you a “public charge” or hurt your ability to apply for a green card. In addition, the “public charge” test does not apply to U.S. citizenship applications, so getting testing or treatment related to COVID-19 will not affect your ability to apply for citizenship.

I have trouble paying rent because of COVID-19. Will I be evicted?

  • No eviction cases filed on or after March 17, 2020 can move forward until October 1, 2020, due to the order of the New York State courts. Eviction cases filed on or before March 16, 2020 (pre-COVID) may proceed, but if you received an eviction notice before March 16, 2020, your landlord must file a motion and get permission from the court to evict you.
  • On and after October 1, 2020, there are still other laws that protect many tenants from being evicted.
    • Under a new state law called the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, tenants who have experienced financial hardship any time from March 7, 2020 to the date when all COVID-related safety restrictions are lifted in the region may not be evicted for failing to pay rent first owed during that period. Although protection under the Tenant Safe Harbor Act may prevent your landlord from evicting you, a court can still allow your landlord to take action to collect unpaid rent from you.
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order effective Sept. 4, 2020, which prohibits landlords from evicting some tenants for nonpayment of rent through Dec. 31, 2020. Therefore, if you qualify under this order, you cannot be legally evicted for falling behind on your rent until after Dec. 31, 2020. In order to be protected by this order, tenants must meet the following criteria:
      • Renters must meet one of the following qualifiers: They will earn $99,000 or less this year (or $198,000 if filing jointly), they did not have to report income to the IRS last year, or they received a federal stimulus payment; AND
      • Renters must provide the landlord with a signed declaration swearing that 1. They will make $99,000 or less this year (or $198,000 if filing jointly), they did not have to report income to the IRS  last year, or they received a federal stimulus payment; 2. They are unable to pay rent due to substantial lost income, loss of hours or wages, a layoff, or “extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses,” 3. They have used best efforts to obtain government assistance for rent or housing; 4. They’re using best efforts to pay partial rent, and 5. Eviction would force them into homelessness or shared living conditions.
    • To learn more about how these eviction moratoria might apply to you, contact the City’s Tenant Helpline by calling 311 and saying “Tenant Helpline.”
  • Until further notice, NYC Housing Court is not scheduling conferences or hearings in pending eviction cases where the tenant is not represented by a lawyer. All eviction cases in which a tenant is unrepresented by legal counsel are stayed for the time being.
  • Free legal advice and counseling are available for New York City residential renters. To access these services, please call 311 and ask for the "Tenant Helpline", or fill out the Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants' Contact Us form.
    • The hotline provides guidance on how to access city benefits or apply for assistance, free legal advice, and other resources available to help all New Yorkers—regardless of ZIP code, income, or immigration status—address tenancy issues during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • Call 311, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, to receive over-the-phone legal assistance with legal questions or issues about tenancy, eviction or landlord-tenant disputes.
    • You can also visit the HRA Legal Services for Tenants webpage or email civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov
  • For more information, visit the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants website.

I have trouble paying rent because of COVID-19. How can I get help?

  • If your work schedule was reduced as a result of the coronavirus and you are unable to pay your rent, you can apply for Emergency Cash Assistance. Some immigration restrictions apply. Visit ACCESS NYC (for Spanish, visit Access NYC Español) or call HRA's Infoline at 718-557-1399
  • The Homebase program can help NYC residents at imminent risk of losing their housing and entering the shelter system regardless of immigration status. Homebase offers:
    • Services to prevent eviction
    • Assistance obtaining public benefits
    • Emergency rental assistance
    • Education and job placement assistance
    • Financial counseling and money management
    • Help relocating
    • Short-term financial assistance
      The service is available to all NYC residents no matter what your immigration status is. Visit HRA’s webpage on Homebase or call 311 and say “homebase” to find a Homebase provider near you.
  • If you use an NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Section 8 voucher and are having trouble paying rent because of income loss, email DTRAI@hpd.nyc.gov to receive assistance.
  • NYCHA residents experiencing income loss may qualify for NYCHA’s rent hardship program. A complete loss of income may qualify for NYCHA’s Zero Income Policy. To learn more, call the NYCHA Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771.
  • The New York City Tenant Resource Portal is an online tool to help renters in New York City navigate public and private resources that can stabilize their housing situation. A tenant seeking help will be taken through a series of questions and directed to the most useful resources, including rental assistance, non-payment and holdover options, as well as the rights and protections they have based on their responses.

My landlord is trying to force me/my family out of the house because we cannot pay rent. How do I get help?

  • It is illegal for landlords to try to evict you themselves without going to court.
  • There is a state court order blocking eviction cases filed on or after March 17, 2020 from moving forward at least until October 1, 2020.
  • If you received a notice of eviction due to non-payment on or before March 16th, that notice is no longer valid. Your landlord must go back to the housing court and receive permission to serve you a new notice. The cases originally filed on or before March 16th are moving forward. However, the court will not default tenants who do not respond to an eviction petition.
  • Until further notice, no Housing Court can proceed if the tenant is not represented by a lawyer. All eviction cases in which a tenant is currently unrepresented by legal counsel are stayed for the time being.
  • We expect more changes on how Housing Court operates and handles eviction cases. You can call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline to get the latest updates, receive legal counseling, and learn about the resources.
  • If a landlord locks you out or tries to evict you illegally, you should call 911 and show the police officer identification, lease or public utility bill with your name and address. If you are unable to get back into your apartment, you should contact the Court system at (833) 503-0447 to find your closest emergency court. In NYC, you will be allowed to go to Housing Court in your borough to file an emergency petition to be restored to your apartment.
  • For more information, visit the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants website or the NYS Attorney General’s page on COVID-19 and housing rights.

My landlord is trying to force me/my family out of the house because they suspect I (or my family member) have COVID-19. What should I do?

  • This is illegal. Your landlord cannot evict you, kick you out, or ask you to leave your apartment for having COVID-19. In addition, it is illegal for landlords to try to evict you themselves without going to court.
  • Being under isolation or quarantine in a hospital or other facility does not change your tenancy – your apartment remains your primary residence.
  • You are still obligated to pay rent during quarantine or any time spent in a medical facility, as is the case for any illness.
  • The City provides all New Yorkers with access to free legal assistance in housing cases. For more information, you can call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline to learn about the latest updates and get connected with legal help.
  • Protections against discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law remain in effect.
    • A landlord cannot retaliate or discriminate against you because they learn or believe you or a family member have COVID-19 by, for example, seeking to remove you, or charge additional fees to disinfect the building.
    • Not only can your landlord not remove you, but they also have an ongoing obligation to continue providing reasonable accommodations to you. For example, if a landlord implements a policy that limits visitors or deliveries because of COVID-19, they must allow for reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities who may require a visitor to assist with basic needs or to carry deliveries to a person’s door, rather than leaving them in a lobby.
    • If you are being harassed or discriminated against due to your race, national origin, immigration status, disability, or other protected identities, call 311 or file a complaint online with the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

Can my landlord withhold essential services over failure to pay rent?

  • No. A landlord’s failure to provide essential services such as hot water or electricity is a breach of the warranty of habitability.
  • Free legal advice and counsel is available through the Human Resources Administration’s Office of Civil Justice for New York City renters with questions or issues related to their housing. All NYC tenants can access this service, regardless of their immigration status, zip code, or income level. For access to these services, call 311, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, to receive over-the-phone legal assistance with legal questions or issues about tenancy, eviction or landlord-tenant disputes. You can also visit the HRA Legal Services for Tenants webpage or email civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov. Visit the HRA Legal Services for Tenants webpage and the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants website for more information.

Do I have to go to court if I receive court papers for a Housing Court case?

  • No. Your eviction notice should include information about how a tenant can respond to the petition by phone. You can also visit the Housing Court Answers website or call their hotline (212) 962-4795, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, who will provide you with basic legal information and connect you with free legal services through HRA’s Office of Civil Justice.
  • If you would like to read the eviction notice in non-English languages, visit the NYC Marshals website. You can also call (212) 709-7900 to hear the notice in top 10 languages.

I don’t have a lawyer to help me with my Housing Court case. How can I get help?

  • For now, no Housing Court cases can proceed if the tenant does not have a lawyer.
  • Free legal advice and counsel is available to New York City renters with questions or issues related to their housing. All NYC tenants can access this service, regardless of their immigration status, zip code, or income level. For access to these services, call 311, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and ask for Tenant Helpline to receive over-the-phone legal assistance with legal questions or issues about tenancy, eviction or landlord-tenant disputes. 

Mental Health

I feel anxious, stressed or nervous. What should I do?

  • New Yorkers can connect with counselors at NYC Well, a free and confidential mental health support service. NYC Well staff are available 24/7 and can provide brief counseling and referrals to care. For support, visit nyc.gov/nycwell to chat online, text "WELL" to 65173, or call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355).
  • New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/health/coronavirus and select the "Coping and Emotional Well-being" page for more information, or visit thrivenyc.cityofnewyork.us/mental_health_support_while_home for mental health support at home.  
  • Call New York State's COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline at 844-863-9314 to talk to specially trained volunteer professionals. They are available to listen, support and offer referrals from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

Discrimination and Harassment

What do I do if I am the target of discrimination or harassment?

  • Discrimination against anyone on the basis of their race, national origin, immigration status, disability, or other protected status is never tolerated in New York City. The NYC Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has been responding to reported incidents of discrimination related to COVID-19. Discrimination happens when a person is treated less well than others because of their identity.
    • If you have been harassed or discriminated against by a business, employer, or landlord because of your race, national origin, immigration status, disability, or other parts of your identity, contact the Commission by filling out the CCHR online form, or call 311 and ask for "human rights."
  • Check out CCHR's community events relating to COVID-19 and human rights, including townhalls and bystander training, on their Community COVID-19 Resources webpage.
  • Please also check out CCHR's webpage on COVID-19 for other guidance in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Public Safety

What do I do if I am the target of a hate crime or bias incident?

  • The Mayor's Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes and NYPD are monitoring and responding to reported bias incidents and hate crimes related to COVID-19 because of fear and stigma.
    • If you or someone you know has been physically harassed or assaulted because of your identity or otherwise experienced what you believe to be a hate crime, call 911. NYPD officers will not ask about the immigration status of anyone seeking help.
  • Visit nyc.gov/StopCOVIDHate for information on how to report hate and bias incidents related to COVID-19, and access victim and mental health support.
  • You can also call ActionNYC hotline for free, safe, immigration legal help if you need immigration assistance. Call the ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365, or call 311 and say, "Action NYC."

What if I am facing domestic or gender-based violence at home?

  • You are not alone. We understand home is not always safe. For services visit nyc.gov/nychope.  
  • NYC Family Justice Centers are available by phone to provide assistance to domestic violence survivors, including immediate safety planning, shelter assistance, legal assistance, mental health and counseling services, and other vital resources. You may be asked to leave a message, and someone will get back to you as quickly as possible.
  • From Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, you can call the center location near you.
    • For NYC Family Justice Center, Bronx, call 718-508-1220
    • For NYC Family Justice Center, Brooklyn, call 718-250-5113
    • For NYC Family Justice Center, Manhattan, call 212-602-2800
    • For NYC Family Justice Center, Queens, call 718-575-4545
    • For NYC Family Justice Center, Staten Island, call 718-697-4300
  • In the evenings or weekends, call NYC's 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-621-HOPE (4673). Call 911 for emergencies.

I received a phone call/text/social media post from a stranger about getting tested for COVID-19. Is this legitimate?

  • While New York City is increasing efforts to contact those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive (called "contact tracing"), you should always be careful of scams. There have been reports of unscrupulous individuals using the COVID-19 crisis to scam individuals out of personal information and/or money. Never give your personal information or financial information out to someone unless you are absolutely sure who they are.
  • For more specific information about how to be aware of COVID-19-related scams and learn about safety tips, download the fact sheet from the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection website.
  • If you suspect fraud related to COVID-19, call New York State Attorney General's Office at 800-771-7755 or call New York State Division of Consumer Protection at 800-697-1220.
  • If you feel you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
  • For more information about scams, visit the NYS Attorney General's Office website about COVID-19 and consumer protection tips.

I received a phone call/text/social media post from a stranger about the government paychecks for COVID-19. Is this legitimate?

  • Be careful of scams. Never give your personal information or financial information out to someone unless you are absolutely sure who they are.
  • If you are eligible for a payment, you will receive a payment directly from the IRS. Do not pay anyone who promises that they can expedite or obtain a payment or a loan for you. If you are eligible for relief, you will not need to make any up-front payment or pay any fee to receive a stimulus payment. You will not be charged any "processing fees."
  • For more specific information about how to be aware of COVID-19-related scams and learn about safety tips, download the fact sheet from the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection website.
  • If you suspect fraud related to COVID-19, call the New York State Attorney General's Office at 800-771-7755 or call New York State Division of Consumer Protection at 800-697-1220.
  • For more information about scams, visit the NYS Attorney General's Office website about COVID-19 and consumer protection tips.

Funerals and Burials

Can I get help paying for a funeral or burial costs?

  • Yes. New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) has a program to help low-income people help pay for the burial costs of a loved one. The program is open to all low-income New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.
  • To address the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, DSS/HRA issued an emergency rule:
    • Increasing the burial allowance from $900 to $1,700 and increasing the cap on burial costs from $1,700 to $3,400.
    • Extending the timeframe for when you can apply to 120 days from the date of the individual's death.
  • Applications received on or after March 12, 2020 will be considered for the increased burial assistance allowance. All applications received will be reviewed regardless of immigration status.
  • For more information, visit HRA's Burial Assistance page, which includes the application form, instructions, and Frequently Asked Questions in multiple languages.

I called 911 because a loved one died at home. Who do I contact for next steps?

  • After emergency management services (EMS) pronounces the death of someone on site, you can hire a funeral director, or New York City's Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) can collect and temporarily store the body. If OCME transported the body, you can follow up by calling OCME at 212-447-2030. When prompted, choose the option for "families" which will direct you to the correct department.
  • OCME's Family Services Centers are located in all five boroughs of NYC. Families may be asked to visit a Family Services Center to complete a visual identification when required, or to provide or receive additional case information. Family Services Centers are open every day of the week, including weekends and holidays, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Call the OCME main line at 212-447-2030 to find out more.

What do I do if a loved one died in the hospital or in a nursing home?

  • Hospitals and nursing homes are responsible for notifying family and coordinating transfer of the deceased to funeral homes. With unusually high numbers of deceased, NYC is providing temporary solutions to support hospitals as they properly care for and transfer the deceased.
  • If your loved one passed away at NYC Health + Hospitals, you can contact the Patient & Guest Relations department to seek assistance in identifying their bodies and planning the next steps. The direct phone number for each facility can be found below.

    Bronx

    • NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi
      718-918-5245
    • NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
      718-579-5537
    • NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx
      718-519-4747

    Brooklyn

    • NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island
      718-616-4164
    • NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County
      718-245-7418
    • NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull
      718-963-8465

    Manhattan

    • NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue
      212-562-6071
    • NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem
      212-939-1790
    • NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan
      212-423-7232

    Queens

    • NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst
      718-334-3690
    • NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens
      718-883-2058
  • In the event that a family cannot make arrangements directly with a funeral home, hospitals and nursing homes can transfer the deceased to New York City's Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) which will work with families to ensure their loved one is properly buried. For more information, visit nyc.gov/ocme and search for City burial, or call OCME at 212-447-2030.

Who do I contact for funeral options?

  • Funeral director services are seeing unprecedented requests and the City is working with them to help increase capacity and decrease delays. Families of loved ones who have passed away from COVID-19 should call the funeral home of their choice which can oversee the transfer, burial or cremation, and services.
  • New York State Department of Health provides a list of NYC funeral homes at health.ny.gov/professionals/funeral_director/reports.
  • In the event that a family desires a City-provided burial, New York City's Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) is in charge of that process. For more information, visit nyc.gov/ocme and search for City Burial, or call OCME at 212-447-2030.

Am I allowed to hold a funeral?

  • Yes, but guests must continue to practice physical distancing precautions, including remaining at least 6 feet apart from others and wearing a face covering. This means you should not hug, kiss, hold hands or otherwise touch others in attendance.
  • Funerals should be limited to immediate family and as few people as possible. Many funeral homes have created attendance limits based on these requirements so please check in advance.
  • Many funeral homes are offering live-streaming, video conferencing and other remote options for people who cannot attend in person.
  • Similarly, funeral directors and religious leaders can also provide recommendations on how to safely observe religious or other customs, rituals and traditions during this time.
  • For more information, visit the Help Now NYC Funeral and Burial Guidance.

Do I need to get a death certificate to hold a funeral?

  • Yes. You may also need a death certificate to ship remains to a different country.
  • You can request a NYC death certificate online at vitalchek.com or by mailing a copy of the certificate application. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person ordering of NYC death certificates is suspended until further notice.

I want to find the body of a loved one. How do I do that?

  • New York City's Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) is responsible for caring for the remains of victims of COVID-19 whose remains are unidentified or unclaimed.
  • For unclaimed remains or for loved ones who may need additional time to coordinate funeral home services, the OCME will provide temporary storage of the remains for a minimum of 15 days.
  • In order to follow up with OCME, you can call 212-447-2030, and when prompted, choose the option for "families" which will direct you to the correct department. 

I want to send the remains of a loved one to a different country. How do I do that?

  • You should speak with funeral directors and work with them to speak with the specific consulate of the country that you want to send the remains to.
  • Funeral directors have received guidance from their associations and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding transporting remains to other countries. 
  • However, each country has their own requirements surrounding remains of people who were COVID-19 positive.
  • Some consulates, like the Mexican Consulate, have produced lists of funeral directors that they are working with. Contact the relevant consulate office for more information.

Volunteering

I want to help. What can I do?

Reopening

What phase of reopening is New York City currently in?

  • New York City is currently in Phase Four of reopening. This phase includes reopening for low-risk outdoor arts & entertainment, media production, and professional sports competitions with no fans.
  • Gyms are allowed to open at a reduced capacity starting September 2nd, 2020.  Some of the low-risk indoor arts and entertainment, such as museums, are also allowed at reduced capacity.
  • Indoor food services may resume with reduced occupancy starting September 30th, 2020. Restaurant reopening guidelines and safety plan templates can be found on the NYC Business webpage and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Restart FAQ page.
  • In addition, the following businesses were already open: offices, in-store retail, outdoor dining, hair salons and barbershops, real estate, commercial building management, and retail rental, repair and cleaning, vehicle sales, leases, and rentals.
  • For business guidance on reopening, visit the NYC Business Reopening Guide.
  • For guidance on how you can safely navigate the reopening as a consumer/individual, including how to get together with friends, visit an outdoor restaurant, get some exercise and make your voice heard on the streets, visit the NYC Health Department’s website.

Does that mean that I do not need to worry about COVID-19 anymore?

  • No. The COVID-19 crisis is not over. There is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19 yet.
  • Stay home. Even if you feel well and have no symptoms, you should stay home as much as you can.
  • New Yorkers working together and staying home can help slow the spread of COVID-19. When you go out for essential needs, essential work or to get fresh air, wear a face covering, keep at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others and take the following precautions.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not shake hands. Instead, wave.
  • Monitor your heath more closely than usual for fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat and other symptoms.

My workplace is open again. How can I protect myself?

  • The City has guidance for businesses that are reopening on its website about Resources for Businesses and Non-profits.
  • For more information about your rights as a worker, see the “Rights and Resources for Workers” section above.

Traveler Health Form and Checkpoint FAQ

What are New York City’s travel restrictions?

  • New York State law requires anyone entering New York State who has spent more than 24 hours in any state on New York’s Restricted State List to:
    • Register by completing the New York State Traveler Health Form.
    • Quarantine (remain in your home or the place you are staying except for emergencies, to seek medical care, or to leave the State) upon arrival for 14 days from the last day of travel within a state on the restricted list.
    • Essential workers coming to work in New York from a restricted state must follow the guidance of the State Department of Health.

Who is subject to New York City’s travel restrictions?

  • Any individual who has spent more than 24 hours in any state on New York’s Restricted State List in the last 14 days. This includes New Yorkers who have traveled to other states, as well as people visiting New York.

Where can I find out if a state I traveled to is on the New York Restricted State List?

  • Visit New York’s Restricted State List.

I am a New York City resident. Do I have to complete the New York State Traveler Health Form and quarantine for 14 days?

  • Yes, you are required to fill out the form if you are entering New York from a state on the Restricted State List, and you traveled to any state on New York’s Restricted State List and spent more than 24 hours in that state. Essential workers must follow the guidance of the State Department of Health.

Why has New York City enacted random checkpoints?

  • These checkpoints are an educational tool designed to ensure travelers understand and comply with New York State’s travel restrictions.
  • Through enormous sacrifice and perseverance, New York City has reduced COVID-19 transmission and positive test rates to among the lowest in the country. We cannot afford to let our guard down now.

What will happen at the checkpoints?

  • Individuals will be asked whether they have spent more than 24 hours in any State on New York’s Restricted State List in the last 14 days.
  • If yes, the individual will be required to complete a New York State Traveler Health Form. The form is available online and can be filled out at the earliest, one day before arrival in New York City, or at the checkpoint.

How long will I be stopped?

  • Just a couple of minutes. The registration form takes less than 5 minutes to complete. You can avoid that delay by filling out the form online at the earliest, one day before your arrival in New York City.

Who is conducting the checkpoints?

  • The New York City Sheriff in coordination with other law enforcement agencies.

What proof can I show that I completed the New York State Traveler Health Form?

  • You should take a screenshot of the confirmation page once you have completed the form. As a reminder, the form must be completed at the earliest, one day before your arrival in New York City.

What if I am only passing through New York City and not stopping?

  • You are still required to complete the New York State Traveler Form if you spent more than 24 hours in any state on New York’s Restricted State List in the last 14 days.

What happens if I do not comply with State law and fail to register and/or quarantine?

  • We know that everyone will cooperate in the interest of public health and slowing the spread of COVID- 19. However, for truly exceptional cases of noncompliance, pursuant to State law, individuals may be subject to significant fines.

What happens if I refuse to complete the Traveler Health Form?

  • New Yorkers have made enormous sacrifices to contain the spread of this virus, and we expect them to cooperate. All travelers will be provided every opportunity to complete the form. Only in truly extreme circumstances would individuals receive a fine.

What, if any, identification will I be asked to show?

  • These stops will be quick and educational. At most, travelers may be asked to show documents necessary to drive a car under New York State law (like a car registration).

Will immigration status be asked/registered?

  • No.

Will the person who pulls me over speak my language?

  • Language interpretation services will be available at the checkpoint.

Where will the checkpoints be?

  • The Sheriff will be posting checkpoint locations daily on Twitter: @NYCSHERIFF.

What are some helpful resources?

  • FAQs Re: Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in NYS Following Out of State Travel NYS COVID-19 Travel Advisory
  • Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel