Immigration FAQ and Resources
- I am an immigrant and I don’t have health insurance, can I get tested for COVID-19?
Yes, all San Antonio residents can receive free tests for COVID-19 regardless of immigration status.
Identification is required to prove your identity, but the testing site will accept identifications issued by a foreign government such as a passport or matricula consular.
- Are interpreters available at testing sites?
The testing sites and the COVID-19 call center have staff who can speak Spanish. Interpreters for other languages are available by phone.
- If I test positive for COVID-19 will I be deported?
No. If you test positive for COVID-19 you will not be deported. The testing centers do not ask for your immigration status, and the privacy of your health care information is protected by law.
Legal Permanent Residency and the Public Charge Rule
- If I take a COVID-19 test will this keep me from getting legal permanent residency (green card)?
No. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says that they want all immigrants to go to the doctor if they think that they may have the coronavirus. USCIS says that getting medical treatment and preventative care, such as vaccines or tests for COVID-19 will not cause a problem with the public charge rule.
- If I go to the doctor without insurance will this keep me from getting legal permanent residency (green card)?
No. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says that normally under the public charge rule they will look at whether an immigrant received public assistance as part of the green card application process. Nevertheless, at this time USCIS is not going to apply the public charge rule to any medical treatment programs that are paid for by the government for COVID-19 testing, treatment, or any future vaccines.
If you have concerns about how seeking medical help for COVID-19 will affect your immigration case, please talk to an attorney or non-profit immigration legal services provider.
- If I seek help to pay my bills because I can’t work or run my business due to COVID-19 will this keep me from getting legal permanent residency (green card)?
No. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says that even though they normally will consider receipt of assistance from the government under the public charge rule, at this time they understand that people need assistance because they lost their job, their business, or can no longer attend school due to COVID-19. Any assistance received at this time can be explained to USCIS when you make an application for legal permanent residency.
You should also know that the public charge rule affects people that received government assistance for 12 months during the last 3 years. Most of the government programs that assist people during the COVID-19 pandemic will not offer assistance for 12 months, and will not cause an automatic denial of a green card under the public charge rule.
Additional Resources about the Public Charge Rule
Help with Food, Rent, and Utility Bills
If you still have questions you can call the City of San Antonio Information line at 3-1-1, or the United Way at 2-1-1. You can also call the City’s COVID-19 hotline at 210.207.5779.