Deported Veterans Legal Services Project

The Deported Veterans Legal Services Project (DVLSP) has been implemented by the California Department of Social Services and CalVets in partnership with Public Counsel to offer advice and counsel to United States military veterans who have been deported and are seeking a lawful manner to return to the United States. The DVLSP will conduct initial screenings of veterans and, if certain criteria are met, will offer legal representation.

Consistent with current grant requirements, the DVLSP only has capacity to serve veterans who:

  1. Have been physically deported from the United States
  2. Have a defined connection to California
  3. Cannot afford counsel
  4. Do not have certain types of criminal convictions.

All veterans who meet the criteria listed on the DVLSP’s Preliminary Screening Form should contact Public Counsel for a more thorough intake. Given the high number of referrals already received, it may take several weeks for a follow-up interview.


Send completed form to:

After the initial intake and to the extent necessary, the DVLSP will request documents from immigration agencies, the United States military, and/or criminal courts. Public Counsel will use these documents to determine whether the veteran is eligible for immigration status and/or post-conviction relief, which may include applying to modify, vacate, or pardon a conviction that otherwise makes the veteran ineligible for status. It can take weeks, months, or even a year to obtain all necessary documents to make this determination.

If a veteran meets the eligibility requirements and there is a viable path to lawfully return to the United States, Public Counsel, directly or through a referral to a partner agency, will apply for post-conviction relief, if necessary, and/or immigration relief. This process is likely to take several months, at minimum.