How To Find Help With Your Immigration Application When You Need Some Extra Help

In a Nutshell is a nonprofit that helps low-income Dreamers prepare their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Advance Parole application paperwork for free. With DACA, you can access immigration benefits like work authorization and protection from deportation. is not a law firm, so we cannot provide legal representation for our users. As a nonprofit, our goal is to empower you to file your DACA and Advance Parole paperwork on your own. In this article, we explain other resources you can turn to when you need a bit more help than we can provide.

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated December 13, 2022

I Need Help With a Service That Does Not Offer

As of June 2021, we offer free help with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Advance Parole applications. We do not yet help with other applications like marriage green cards, citizenship applications, or visitor visas. But we can help you check your eligibility for application types other than DACA or Advance Parole. If you decide to apply on your own, you can check out our detailed filing guides in our learning center.

You may wish to work with an attorney to file your immigration application. If so, we may be able to refer you to an experienced immigration attorney.

I Have an Issue With My Background Check

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts criminal background checks on all applicants. USCIS uses background checks to make sure that you’re admissible to the United States, meaning nothing in your background disqualifies you from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. You may be inadmissible for DACA if you have committed certain crimes.

Sometimes, you may be ineligible for our services because of something on your criminal record. This does not mean you cannot apply for DACA. It only means that you need a lawyer to walk you through your application. We may be able to refer you to an experienced immigration attorney.

The U.S. Government Denied My Application

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies applications for various reasons. Maybe it found that you have insufficient evidence to make your case or that you were ineligible for your case type. Unfortunately, we cannot help if USCIS denied your application because you’re ineligible. But we recommend that you explore your options with an experienced immigration attorney.

You should also note that denial is different from rejection. USCIS usually rejects immigration forms when you incorrectly fill out paperwork. Common reasons for rejection include not signing documents or submitting the wrong filing fees or using the wrong mailing address. We can help you re-file if USCIS rejected your Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Advance Parole application.

I Received a Complicated Request for Evidence (RFE)

Sometimes U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) needs more information about you. In this case, it will send you a Request for Evidence (RFE). The RFE will list the evidence missing from your application. The form will also give you a response deadline. You must reply with the requested documents and send them to the government by this date. 

If you receive an RFE for the application we were helping you with, please email us the RFE. We will take a look and let you know how we can help.

My Application Is Taking Too Long and I Need To File an Inquiry With USCIS

If your case takes too long, you should first confirm that there has not been a delivery issue. You should use courier tracking to make sure that you received all mail sent by USCIS and vice versa. You can then track your status on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) case status website. If online tracking doesn’t work, call USCIS at 800-375-5283 to ask about your case. Be aware that application wait times have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We can also help you determine when it is time for you to take action. But we can’t assist you further because the government only works with applicants on status inquiries. If talking to USCIS does not resolve your issue, you may also file a case inquiry with USCIS. 

If your case inquiry does not help either, you can file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. A FOIA request lets you view your USCIS immigration files. 

I Need Help From a Lawyer

Suppose you have a problem that does not fit into the boxes above. If you need legal advice, legal aid resources can help you find a local and affordable attorney.

The U.S. government maintains a guide to finding legal aid online. There, you can find low-cost legal help services and immigration law specialists. Contact immigration legal services by searching your state for free service providers.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is an organization that promotes justice and fairness in immigration law. You can search for a local attorney on the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) online directory. AILA also lets you search for attorneys based on your preferred language.


The immigration application process can be complicated, but help is available. If you are eligible, our free web app will walk you through the immigration process and help you prepare and file your application with the U.S. government. If our app isn’t a good fit, we may be able to refer you to an experienced immigration attorney to help. Click "Get Started" to see how we can help make your American dream come true!