Massachusetts law about immigration

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on immigration law.

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, or if you have a specific question, please contact our law librarians for assistance.

Table of Contents

Note

Due to continual and rapid changes in U.S. immigration policy, please check the websites of all relevant federal agencies for the most current information.

Best bets

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

At this time, (September 2023) DHS is prohibited from granting initial DACA requests and related employment authorization under the final rule.

Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Provides information on requesting Consideration of DACA.

Massachusetts legal help: Immigration, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.
Provides links to information about immigrants’ rights, planning for a family emergency, DACA, healthcare, education rights, and more.

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.90, § 8 Operator's licenses; applications; examinations
Starting July 1, 2023, eligible residents in Massachusetts can obtain a Standard (Class D or M) driver's license, regardless of immigration status, under the Work and Family Mobility Act.

MGL c.222, § 17 Notaries public not licensed to practice law; prohibition from offering legal advice or advertisement as legal specialist; immigration matters; real estate closings

MGL c.278, § 29D Conviction upon plea of guilty, nolo contendere or an admission to sufficient facts; motion to vacate
Court must tell defendants making a plea of guilty, plea of nolo contendere (no contest), or an admission to sufficient facts about potential immigration consequences of their decision.

Massachusetts regulations

121 CMR Office for Refugees and Immigrants

130 CMR 504 Health care reform: MassHealth: citizenship and immigration

Federal laws and regulations

Federal laws

8 U.S.C. Aliens and nationality

18 U.S.C. chapter 69 Nationality and citizenship

18 U.S.C. chapter 75 Passports and visas

The REAL ID Act of 2005, PL 109-13, Division B, Title II, 2005 

Federal regulations

6 CFR 37 Real ID driver’s licenses and identification cards

8 CFR Immigration regulations

28 CFR 44 Unfair immigration-related employment practices

64 FR 28689 Field guidance on deportability and inadmissibility on public charge grounds

Court and rules

Resources offered by the U.S. Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review:

Selected cases

Organizations

Immigration law help: Massachusetts
An online directory of nonprofit organizations that provide free or low-cost immigration legal help. Users can search for organizations by location, type of legal help, populations served, and languages spoken.

Berkshire Immigrant Center
The Berkshire Immigrant Center serves immigrants and their families in Berkshire County by providing direct services, referrals, legal and procedural counseling, and general support free of charge or at below-market cost.

Center for New Americans (CNAM)
CNAM helps immigrants, refugees, migrants, and asylum-seekers in Western Massachusetts. They offer free English classes for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), immigration legal assistance, and other support services.

Central West Justice Center
The Central West Justice Center provides free legal help to low-income and elderly residents of central and western Massachusetts. Focuses on cases involving humanitarian-based immigration law, employment rights, housing and homelessness issues, and access to public benefits. Information is provided in many languages.

City of Boston legal resources for immigrants
Do you need immigration advice from a lawyer? The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Advancement offers free 15-minute consultations.

  • When: First and third Wednesday of every month from 12 to 3 p.m.
  • How: Call (617) 635-2980 or email immigrantadvancement@boston.gov to schedule a 15-minute appointment.
  • Cost: Free

Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants
"ORI supports services that meet the cultural and linguistic needs of refugees and immigrants through a network of service providers in Massachusetts."

MIRA: Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
"MIRA is the largest coalition in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees."

 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly known as INS)
Administers the country's immigration and naturalization system. Their website includes forms, case status updates, e-filing, and information on green cards and citizenship. For current policies, see the USCIS Policy Manual.

U.S. Immigration and Enforcement (ICE)
ICE enforces over 400 federal laws and focuses on customs violations, immigration enforcement, preventing terrorism and combating the illegal movement of people and goods. For current information on ICE operations, see the ICE Information Library.

Web sources

Attorney General guidance:

Citizenshipworks, Immigration Advocates Network, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and Pro Bono Net.
Citizenshipworks is a resource designed to make applying for citizenship easy, safer, and accessible for everyone. It includes:

  • An interactive online interview to help individuals to understand their eligibility for naturalization
  • A self-paced interactive tutorial that explains the naturalization process step-by-step
  • An online tutorial to help applicants prepare for the naturalization tests; and
  • Links to other resources and information about citizenship and naturalization available online

Immi, Immigration Advocates Network and Pro Bono Net.
"Immi helps immigrants in the U.S. understand their legal options." Includes an online screening tool, legal information, and referrals to nonprofit legal services organizations.

Planning for a family emergency, MassLegalHelp (July 2022).
Helpful information and special advice that immigrant families can use to prepare for an emergency. 

Same sex marriage and immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Explains how to sponsor a same-sex spouse in immigration.

Understanding immigrants' eligibility for MassHealth & other subsidized coverage, Mass. Legal Services, 2023.
MassHealth eligibility rules for non-citizens.

Work and Family Mobility Act (WFMA), Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Use the information on this page to get your Standard (Class D or M) driver’s license, regardless of immigration status.

Print sources

Contact   for Massachusetts law about immigration

Last updated: November 30, 2023

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