Asylum Overview

Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

If you are eligible for asylum you may be permitted to remain in the United States. Your application must be filed within one year of your arrival to the United States. If you do not apply within one year of entering the United States, you still may be eligible to apply for asylum by showing changed or extraordinary circumstances.

You may include your spouse and children who are in the United States on your application at the time you file or at any time until a final decision is made on your case. To include your child on your application, the child must be under 21 and unmarried.

Permission to Work in the United States

You cannot apply for permission to work (employment authorization) in the United States at the same time you apply for asylum.

You may apply for employment authorization if:

  • 150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays caused by you (such as a request to reschedule your interview) AND
  • No decision has been made on your application

If you are granted asylum you may work immediately. Some asylees choose to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for convenience or identification purposes, but an EAD is not necessary to work if you are an asylee.

Bringing Your Family to the United States

If you are granted asylum you may petition to bring your spouse and children to the United States. To include your child on your application, the child must be under 21 and unmarried.

You must file the petition within two years of being granted asylum unless there are humanitarian reasons to excuse this deadline.

Filing for Permanent Residence (Green Card)

You may apply for a green card one year after being granted asylum. You must submit a separate I-485 application packet for yourself and, if applicable, for each family member who received derivative asylum based on your case.