New to America
Are you a newcomer to America or Maryland trying to learn a new language and culture? Are you helping a newcomer establish a home here? This guide can help you start your new life and build a community for yourself and your family. Find out how to get the help you need living in the United States and in Maryland.
Translating This Page
This Web page offers its information in English.
The Internet does provide some services that translate Web pages into other languages. Below we provide links to the sites that offer free Web site translation services. Note that these services use computers, not people, to translate the text, so the translation may not be exact – but it is at least a start.
The Pratt Library/State Library Resource Center does not endorse any of these services, their products, or their advertisers, and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any translations you may obtain from these sites.
Translation services on the Internet
Babelfish (Alta Vista): Translates English into:
Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish
FreeTranslate.com: Translates English into:
French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish
InterTran: Translates English into:
Filipino (Tagalog), Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Welsh
Prompt: Translates English into:
French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Bureau (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service), is the government agency that processes all immigrant and non-immigrant benefits provided to visitors of the United States , including:
- Family-based petitions – assisting the process for close relatives to immigrate, gain permanent residency, work, etc.
- Employment-based petitions – assisting the process for current and prospective employees to immigrate or stay in the U.S. temporarily
- Asylum and Refugee processing – ruling on asylum and the processing of refugees
- Naturalization – approving citizenship of eligible persons who wish to become U.S. citizens
- Special status programs – ruling on eligibility for U.S. immigration status as a form of humanitarian aid to foreign nationals
- Document issuance and renewal – including verification of eligibility, production and issuance of immigration documents.
Green Cards (Lawful Permanent Residency)
This section of the USCIS Web site provides you with information and directions on how to apply for lawful permanent residence (LPR), or “green cards.” A green card gives you official immigration status (Lawful Permanent Residency) in the United States
How Do I …? BCIS Frequently Asked Questions
This section of the USCIS Web site points you to many of the questions you may have about being a resident of the United States.
Though the United States does not have an official language, it helps to know English. The following links will lead you to many of the places in Maryland where you can learn English. There is no one site that lists all the Maryland schools that off English classes, so you should look at all of them.
English Language Instruction
Provided by the Maryland Office for New Americans.
English Language Schools in Maryland
Web directory for international students, executives, and professionals.
ESL Schools and Programs in Maryland
Online directory produced by CampusLane Publications.
Maryland Schools and ESL Programs
Directory of Maryland's Adult Literacy Services
This site provides a list of Maryland schools that offer English language programs, as well as study material for people learning English as a second language.
From the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. Click on the county you are living in to see if they offer ESL classes (and where).
Embassies and Ethnic Organizations
Foreign Embassies of Washington, D.C.
A comprehensive alphabetical list of contact information for foreign embassies in Washington with links to the embassy Web site and/or additional information.
Maryland Office for New Americans Ethnic organizations exist across the state for self interest groups from countries around the world The Maryland Office for New Americans, whose goal is to provide support and services to refugees to ease their transition into American society, serves as a resource on refugee and immigrant policy.
Jewish Social Services of Maryland
Jewish Family Services, a non-profit constituent agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, has been strengthening family and individual life in Baltimore since 1856.
Islamic Society of Baltimore Established in 1969,The Islamic Society of Baltimore is a non profit organization serving the religious, social, and cultural needs of the Baltimore Muslim community.
Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware Committed to the expressed vision of planting new churches and strengthening existing ones, the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware is organized throughout eleven geographic associations within the two states, and in cooperation with over 490 churches.
African Methodist Episcopal
African Methodist Episcopal Church, Second District
- Site dedicated to the history, outreach and structure of the local A.M.E. Church, located in Washington, D.C.
Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
Home page for the Episcopal Church in Maryland with links to affiliated organizations to the church mission.
Delaware-Maryland Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church
The synod is one of 65 geographical subdivisions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America , the fourth largest Protestant body in the United States. It serves ELCA members in all of Delaware and all of Maryland except the Washington, DC, suburbs and Garrett County.
Archdiocese of Baltimore
Established as a diocese in 1789, the Archdiocese comprises the City of Baltimore and Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore , Carroll, Frederick , Garrett, Harford, Howard and Washington Counties The site includes links to ministries as well as education and service functions of the Archdiocese.
Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
For those outside the Baltimore Archdiocese, the Washington Archdiocese comprises the District of Columbia and five Maryland counties: St. Mary's, Charles, Calvert, Prince Georges and Montgomery.
Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware
Along with the counties of Delaware, the Wilmington Diocese also includes Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent , Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties in Maryland.
FirstGov.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal
Whatever you want or need from the U.S. government, it's here on FirstGov.gov. You'll find a rich treasure of online information, services and resources.
How to Find Government Numbers in the Telephone Book
The main telephone numbers for federal, state, and municipal government departments are listed in the blue pages of your local telephone book. Some are listed by department or by service. Frequently called numbers, including a central information number, are often listed at the beginning of each section.
If you need help to find a federal government program or service, call: 1-800-FED-INFO (that's 1-800-333-4636).
You can find federal government listings from the National Contact Center of the Federal Citizen Information Center.Maryland.gov
The Maryland Portal provides a gateway to public services within and around Maryland. The portal allows one to easily locate
information that is important to daily life and interaction with Maryland state government.
Maryland Manual On-line
Official government directory for the state of Maryland, with links to all elected and appointed officials and Maryland’s
representatives to local, state, and federal government.
Maryland State Department of Education (MDSE)
This official site features detailed plans for the state school system, progress reports published by various state and private organizations, and great links for educators, parents, and students. They offer foreign translations of parents’ guides to Maryland educational programs.
Maryland Public Libraries
Provided by Sailor, Maryland ’s Public Information Network, this site lists all the public library systems in the state.
- Public Schools K-12
Maryland Public School Systems
This page is provided by the MSDE and links to all the Maryland county public school systems.
Preschool – Maryland Education and Reference
From local search engine Marylandinfo.com.
Parochial and Private Schools in Maryland
A list of preschools in Maryland by city.
Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS)
AIMS is a voluntary organization of private, independent elementary and college preparatory schools in Maryland and the District of Columbia. It lists schools by name, gender, religious affiliation, day/boarding, or grade.
Catholic Schools: Archdiocese of Baltimore
Look up schools by name for contact information, curriculum, history, and links to those schools that have homepages. The site encompasses schools from Pre-K to college-level.
Maryland Private Schools
A list of private schools in Maryland.
Nonpublic Educational Programs Approved By The Maryland State Board Of Education
By the Maryland State Department of Education
Parochial Schools of Maryland
Parochial schools are listed alphabetically by cities and towns.
How to Get a GED in Maryland
This Web guide, developed by the Pratt Library/SLRC, tells you how to get a GED (General Equivalency Diploma), or high school equivalency. If you do not have a high school diploma, this will help you get a job that requires one.
Business, Trade, and Technical Schools
Information on schools in all 50 states. Arranged by state, then by training occupation.
College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
The College-Level Examination Program ® or CLEP provides students of any age with the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through a program of exams in undergraduate college courses.
Foreign-Educated Physician (Academic) MD-to-RN Program The School of Nursing at Florida International University since 1998 has offered a program for foreign-educated physicians who have legal status in the U.S. to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Private Career Schools in Maryland
List of schools arranged by career category. Includes a consumer's guide for students. Provided by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
ShawGuides' on the Web
Search the ShawGuides site for cooking schools, photography schools, golf and tennis schools and camps, and arts/crafts workshops. Usually searchable by location, school, and specialization. Includes information on costs, admissions, and courses.
- Certification & Licensing
If you belonged to a profession in your native country that required a special license (for example, teacher, lawyer, doctor, electrician, plumber), and you want to practice that profession here, then you will need to get a license in the U.S. before you can work. Getting a license in the U.S. is done by each individual state—not nationally. The information for Maryland follows.
Occupational & Professional Licensing Boards
Links to Occupational and Professional Licensing Boards in the state of Maryland. Information includes licensing categories and fees, requirements, renewal procedures, and when applicable, exam information and dates.
Test Study Guides
Finding a Job
Index to the study guides available in the Enoch Pratt Free Library Job and Career Information Center. The collection includes study guides for academic and professional tests.
Search classified ads for jobs in many national newspapers, including The Washington Post.
The Computer Jobs Store: The Employment Web Site for Technology Professionals
Information technology (IT) jobs are the focus of this site. The Washington DC metropolitan area is one of the “stores” with coverage for DC, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.
Health Professional Licensing in Maryland
Provides information on professional licensing, also discusses Maryland professional licensing in some fields.
Legal Career Center
- The Legal Career Center is an electronic guide that connects employers and recruiters with lawyers, paralegals, law clerks, and secretaries/receptionists. A service of the Maryland State Bar Association, Inc.
Maryland Careers: The Defense Industry
Resources for jobseekers are directories of employers, professional and trade associations, specialized periodicals, job fairs, and specialized newsgroups and Web sites.
Maryland Workforce Exchange
A starting point for Marylanders looking for a job or a career, and for employers wanting to advertise jobs. Sections include: Seeking Jobs; Employer Services; and Career Planning.
Maryland Career Resources
A resource guide providing links to employer information, job listings, internships, a list of Maryland job hotlines, and much more.
Maryland Federal Job Search
Maryland currently has more than 1,000 federal job openings in a variety of fields, which you can browse easily from this site.
Maryland State Jobs
Excellent place to look for jobs in Maryland. Includes job listings, information about searching for work in Maryland, links to job banks in other states and to America's Job Bank, plus a directory of Maryland Job Service Center locations.
Maryland Office of Personnel Services & Benefits
Covers employee benefits, relations, equal opportunity, performance evaluation, policies, etc. From the Maryland Dept. of Budget & Management
Social Security Online
The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) provides information about SSA services. There is a special section of the Web site for immigrants. In the “Questions about” area of the home page, go to the “Immigration” section.
Southern Maryland Employment
A regional employment service that lists positions available and wanted, the area's largest employers, and a resume service.
Employment classified ads from the Baltimore Sun.
Washington Metropolitan Telework Centers
Services and locations of Washington area telework centers are described. In Maryland there are centers at Bowie, Hagerstown, Laurel Lakes, Prince Frederick, Silver Spring, and Waldorf.
Western Maryland Consortium
Provides contact information for job training services available to welfare recipients, dislocated workers and economically disadvantaged people in Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties through the Western Maryland Consortium.
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
AAMFT is the professional association for the field of marriage and family therapy. It represents the professional interests of more than 23,000 marriage and family therapists throughout the United States, Canada and abroad
American Medical Association, On-Line Doctor Finder
Provides information on virtually every licensed physician in the U.S. and its possessions, including more than 650,000 doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy (DO). May be searched by physician name or specialty.
American Red Cross Chapters in Maryland
List of links to the seven Red Cross chapters in Maryland provided by the national organization.
County/Local Health Departments in Maryland Contact list for all county health departments across the state.
Maryland Board of Physicians
Search by name or six-character license number for physicians, physician assistants, respiratory care practitioners, medical radiation technologists, nuclear medicine technologists, or limited license for postgraduate teaching.
Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
This professional association Web site includes links to information on pediatric resources especially for parents.
Maryland State Dental Association
Provides address, telephone, and e-mail of members of the Maryland State Dental Association. One may search for a specific dentist by dentist's name, specialty, city, and languge.
The Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland - Med Chi
The Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, a.k.a. Med Chi, is the state medical society. This Web page has access to directory and basic service information for the association.
Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAM)
The Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAM) is dedicated to promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders, and achieving victory over mental illness through advocacy, education, research, and service.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
As part of the National Institutes of Health, the NCCAM is dedicated to supporting research and making information about alternative therapies available to the public.
Maryland Health Insurance Plan
Maryland Health Insurance Plan is a state-administered health insurance program operated by an independent unit within the Maryland Insurance Administration It replaces the Substantial Available and Affordable Coverage (SAAC) or open enrollment program operated by commercial insurance carriers in Maryland.
Maryland Children’s Health Program
The Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP) began in July 1998. MCHP uses federal and state funds to provide health care coverage to low-income children up to age 19 and pregnant women of any age.
Maryland Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program
The Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) meets one of the most universal needs of Medicare beneficiaries, including those under 65 years of age—understanding their health insurance benefits, bills, and rights. The Maryland SHIP program provides trained staff and volunteer counselors in all 24 counties.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Medicare, provides coverage to approximately 40 million Americans. Medicare is the national health insurance program for: people age 65 or older; some people under age 65 with disabilities; people with permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Medicaid, also called Medical Assistance, is a Program that pays the medical bills of certain needy and low-income individuals. It is administered by the State and pays medical bills with Federal and State funds.
These Information & Referral services can help one identifies appropriate services in the area where s/he or the family member resides.
Covers Eldercare Advisors, Finance, Insurance, Law, Legislative Activity, Living Arrangements, Community Services, Medicaid, Organizations, Research & Statistics, and Statutes & Codes.
FirstGov for Seniors
This site provides "one stop shopping" for information and services available to senior citizens from federal agencies. Topics include benefits, health & nutrition, consumer protection, services, employment & volunteer activities, taxes, travel & leisure, education & training.
Health Facilities Association of Maryland
HFAM is the Health Association Facilities Association of Maryland. A voluntary trade association, HFAM was chartered in 1948 and is the oldest and largest long-term care association in Maryland.
Maryland Department of Aging
Information about services, benefits and other topics of interest to Maryland's senior citizens and the people who care for them.
Senior Residences in Maryland
Welcome to Maryland
Getting familiar with the state of Maryland, its counties, towns and all it has to offer:
The Maryland Portal provides a gateway to public services within and around Maryland. The portal allows one to easily locate information that is important to daily life and interaction with Maryland state government.
Maryland At A Glance
An index to information on many aspects of Marylandia For basic information on history, environment, cultural institutions, transportation, and trivia, begin here.
Maryland Manual On-line
Official government directory for the state of Maryland, with links to all elected and appointed officials and Maryland’s representatives to local, state, and federal government.
Maryland City and County Links Listing and links to available Web sites for counties and towns around the state provided by the Pratt Library/SLRC A good place to begin for information on specific localities.
Foreign–born Information and Referral Network
The mission of the Foreign-born Information and Referral Network (FIRN) is to assist recent immigrants to Howard County, Maryland.
Budgeting, Banking, and Saving
aboutchecking.com - Your Checking Account
This site gives the basics of choosing a checking account, writing checks, and managing the account. It is also available in Spanish.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Maryland and Delaware
CCCS is a nonprofit community service organization that promotes the wise use of credit through confidential budget counseling, debt management repayment program, and community education.
Secured Credit Card Marketing Scams
From the Federal Trade Commission
Home Buying & Renting
Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc.
Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. is a non-profit fair housing organization serving the citizens of the state of Maryland, works to ensure equal access to housing opportunities and to promote stable, integrated neighborhoods.
Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board
Provides Fair Housing education, training, and advocacy in Maryland.
Home Buying in Maryland
By the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) It covers local HUD offices, local newsroom, consumer information and more.
It covers agent finders; home finders; homes prospector; community information; financial tools; loan information in the Mid-Atlantic region.
HomePath HomePath, sponsored by Fannie Mae, offers a starter path for those just considering home ownership, a purchase path for those beginning the process of buying a home, and a refinance path for those considering refinancing a current mortgage. Each path contains a collection of calculators, and an e-mail link to send questions to a professional.
Live Baltimore Home Center
Live Baltimore has some helpful real estate info for people who are thinking about moving to Baltimore, including various incentive programs.
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
DHCD is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Maryland by working with partners to revitalize communities, expand home ownership and affordable housing opportunities and preserve historic sites and traditions.
Real Property Data Search
This database allows the user to search and display property records. The last sales transaction information is included. From the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
This site includes detailed listings for over one million properties from over 300 multiple listing services. The Movers Toolkit includes a salary calculator, moving calculator, insurance estimator, mortgage qualification calculator, and a comparative crime index. The Real Estate Library includes a dictionary and brief articles on many common real estate topics.
BaltimoreSun Real Estate Classifieds
Classified ads from the Baltimore Sun. Includes homes for sale or rent, and the "New Home Network" that features new housing developments.
Washington Post Classifieds: Real Estate Main Page
Classified ads for homes for sale or rent, vacation homes, community news, tax advice and weekly "Where We Live" neighborhood archives.
Electric, Gas, and Water
Maryland Electric Utilities
Includes BGE (Baltimore Gas and Electric), Potomac Electric Power (PEPCO), Connective, and the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO).
Maryland Energy Assistance Program
Helps low-income Maryland citizens pay their heating bills, minimize heating crises, and make energy costs more affordable.
Maryland Office of People's Counsel
An independent state agency that represents Maryland's residential consumers of electricity, natural gas, telephone and private water services.
Maryland Commission on Human Relations
If you believe that you have been the victim of Employment, Housing, or Public Accommodations Discrimination and suspect that you have been treated unfairly because of your Race, Color, Religion, Sex, Age, Familial Status, National Origin, Marital Status, Disability, Genetic Information or Sexual Orientation, you may file a complaint of discrimination with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations.
Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, Inc
A statewide clearinghouse and coordinator of pro bono (free to qualifying residents) legal services A partnership of the Maryland State Bar Association and the Maryland Legal Services Corporation.
Maryland Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division
The Consumer Protection Division provides mediation services to consumers to help resolve complaints against businesses and health insurance carriers. The Division also brings law enforcement actions against businesses that harm large numbers of Maryland consumers through unfair and deceptive practices.
Maryland People’s Law Library
Provides legal and self-help information on Maryland and federal law affecting low and moderate-income people and their families.
Cars and Motorcycles
Driver Licenses/Cars/Motorcycles (MVA)
All applicants who are applying for a Maryland driver's license or identification card who are presenting immigration or foreign documents will be required to schedule an appointment. This appointment can be scheduled by calling 1-800-950-1682. Appointments are only scheduled at the Bel Air, Beltsville, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Glen Burnie, Salisbury, and Waldorf offices.
Buses and Trains
Central Light Rail Line
This rail line service runs 30 miles from Timonium in Baltimore County, through Baltimore City (including Oriole Park at Camden Yards) to Cromwell Station/Glen Burnie in Anne Arundel County. There are also connections to Penn Station (railroad) and BWI Airport.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments sponsors this site that brings together information about car and vanpooling, teleworking, kiosk information systems, bicycling, public transit, parking, and walking.
MTA Bus Services
The MTA operates more than 60 bus routes throughout Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Anne Arundel County. This site provides information about the various bus routs and other service information.
MARC Commuter Rail Service The site provides information on Metrochecks, MARC Train fares, tickets, station maps, schedules, and general information.
Maryland Traffic Safety Laws
By the Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration
Maryland Transit Administration
The MTA provides a network of transit; rail, freight services throughout Maryland in a manner that supports the economy and the environment.
Metro (Washington, D.C.)
Metro connects Washington, D.C., Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland, and the counties in Northern Virginia. This site provides service information, stations, parking, etc.
Maryland Locally Operated Transit Systems
BWI-Arundel Mills-Columbia Bus Bus Service between BWI Airport - Arundel Mills and Columbia, Maryland
Carroll Transit is a private nonprofit corporation providing a specialized form of transportation, demand-response, to meet the needs of the seniors, elderly, frail, physically, and mentally challenged and the transportation disadvantaged of Carroll County.
Charles County VanGo
VanGO public transit is administered by the Charles County Department of Community Services, Housing & Community Development Division.
Serving Odenton MARC Station and Arundel Mills
Eyre provides commuter bus services from suburban Maryland to the District of Columbia. The company also provides package tours and travel services.
Department of Garrett County Community Action
Howard County Commuter Solutions
Howard County Commuter Solutions promotes transit services and provides carpool and vanpool matching services.
Howard County Transit
Information on Howard County Mass Transit.
By RideOn, Montgomery Transit. Provides information on commuter services, taxicab regulations, and special transportation
Dept. of Public Works & Transportation
- Shore Transit
Provides transportation service to Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester counties.
If You Need More Help
This guide should help you begin to begin your life in America. If you do not live close to the State Library Resource Center, a public library near you should have some of the resources we've mentioned. If you still need help, contact us through our Ask-A-Librarian Service, call (410) 396-5430, or write:
Enoch Pratt Free Library
State Library Resource Center
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201