If you’re an immigrant living in California, here is what you need to know to protect yourself, your family, and your community from coronavirus. Services and public benefits are available to you, some regardless of immigration status.
COVID-19 and the public charge rule
Effective July 29, 2020, a federal court ruling prohibits the application and enforcement of this new public charge rule in Connecticut, New York, and Vermont. However, the policy may be applied in California, although the federal government has not released additional guidance and this may change. Please visit the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) website for updated information.
If you have questions about your specific case, please consult qualified immigration assistance.
Testing and treatment
Don’t let fear stop you from getting necessary treatment, as the effects of avoiding health care services may be very serious. This will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy.
If you’re undocumented or don’t have insurance, you can still get needed COVID-19 testing and treatment at no cost. Medi-cal care for COVID-19 related testing or treatment alone DOES NOT count under the public charge rule.
See who can get tested.
Uninsured? Have Medi-Cal, but no regular doctor? Call Medi-Nurse
Medi-Nurse is a free, 24/7 nurse advice line available at 1-877-409-9052. You can speak directly with a health professional about your symptoms, get advice for further treatment in your area, or ask how to apply for health insurance.
Find out more about how to get testing and treatment.
Guide for Immigrant Californians
The Guide for Immigrant Californians (PDF) will help you stay safe and informed.
The guide includes:
- Stay-at-home order considerations
- Ways to protect yourself and others
- Immigration help
- Public charge information for accessing public benefits
- Testing and treatment
- Information on jobs, wages, and benefits
- Small business support
- Food and bills
- Community safety
- Protection against scams and bad information
Learn more in the Guide for Immigrant Californians (PDF).
The California Earned Income Tax Credit and Young Child Tax Credit are now available to taxpayers who do not have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). These tax credits can be claimed on 2020 individual tax returns (which are filed in 2021). People filing with an ITIN also no longer need to have a child under the age of six to claim the California Earned Income Tax Credit.
Hotel rooms for agricultural workers
The Housing for the Harvest program offers temporary hotel housing to agricultural and food processing workers who need to isolate due to COVID-19. It helps exposed agricultural workers protect their loved ones by giving them a place to self-isolate.
Visit Housing for agricultural workers to find out more.
Avoid utility power shut-offs
Many utility companies are not shutting off services due to non-payment.
The Water Board restricts shut off to water services during the COVID-19 crisis. Please fill out this form to report any water shut off or reconnection issue. Language assistance is available (en español) for Spanish speakers to report water shut-offs by calling 916-445-5617.
Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants
On April 15, Governor Newsom announced one-time disaster relief assistance for undocumented Californians impacted by COVID-19, who are ineligible for most other forms of pandemic assistance, including direct assistance under the CARES Act and unemployment insurance.
Eligible Californians received one-time COVID-19 disaster relief assistance at a value of $500. Here’s how the funds were distributed (PDF).
This program ended June 30, 2020. No more applications are being accepted. More information can be found on the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Program Information page.