Everything You Need to Know about Asylum

People from all over the world come to the U.S. each year seeking protection from persecution. A few of the main reasons for this are: 

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

If you fall into one of these categories then you may be permitted to stay in the United States on the grounds of asylum. You must file your application within one year of arriving in the States. If you don’t file within the one year time period, you must show proof of extraordinary circumstances to be eligible to file.

If your spouse or children are with you in the United States at the time you file, you may include them. Your child(ren) must be unmarried and under 21 years old.

Gaining Permission to Work

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

Stipulations for applying for employment authorization:

  • 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

Once you’re granted asylum, you can start working immediately. for convenience or identification purposes, you may choose to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), although they aren’t necessary.

Bringing Your Family to the U.S.

Once you’re granted asylum you can petition for your children and spouse to enter the United States. Remember, all children must be under 21 and unmarried. The petition must be filed within two years of receiving asylum (unless you can provide proof of humanitarian reasons for missing the deadline).

Filing for a Green Card

You can apply for permanent residence (green card) one year after being granted asylum. You must submit a separate I-485 application packet for yourself and for each family member who received derivative asylum based on your case.