Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion
If you are eligible for asylum you may be permitted to remain in the United States. To apply for Asylum, file a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of your arrival to the United States. There is no fee to apply for asylum.
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
- 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.
To apply for employment authorization, you must file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. There is no fee to apply for your first EAD if you have a pending asylum application or if you have been granted asylum.
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 by filing a Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. 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. There is no fee to file this petition.
Filing for Permanent Residence (Green Card)
You may apply for a green card one year after being granted asylum. To apply for a green card, file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. 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.
Benefits and Responsibilities of Asylees
Working in the United States
If you are granted asylum, you are authorized to work in the United States whether or not you have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If for some reason you do not receive an EAD after being granted asylum, you should contact the asylum office that granted your case. You may use the EAD to present to an employer as a List A document on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form.
You are eligible to use employment services from One-Stop Career Centers including:
- Job search assistance
- Career counseling
- Occupational skills training
Obtaining a Social Security Card
You may immediately apply for an unrestricted Social Security card at a Social Security office once you have asylee status. You can get Social Security Card information by contacting the Social Security Administration.
Services and Help
You may be eligible to receive the help from an organization in your area funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Service may include:
- Financial assistance
- Medical assistance
- Employment preparation and job placement
- English language training
Many of these programs are available for a limited time period once you are granted asylum. Find out more by calling 1-800-354-0365
You can be barred from both applying for and receiving asylum for certain actions.
Bars to Applying for Asylum
You may not be eligible to apply for asylum if you:
- Did not follow the one-year filing deadline and did not file your Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of your last arrival in the U.S. or April 1, 1997, whichever is later.
- Had a previous asylum application denied by an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals.
- Can be removed to a safe third country under a two-party or multi-party agreement between the United States and other countries.
There are exceptions to these bars for “changed circumstances” or “extraordinary circumstances.” Both are defined in 8 CFR 208.4. For more information on the bars and the exceptions, see the “8 CFR” link to the right.
Bars from a Grant of Asylum
You could be barred from a grant of asylum if we find that you:
- Ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion
- Were convicted of a “particularly serious crime” such that you are a danger to the United States
- Committed a “serious nonpolitical crime” outside the United States
- Pose a danger to the security of the United States
- Have been firmly resettled in another country before arriving in the United States
You will also be barred from receiving asylum if you are inadmissible because you:
- Have engaged in terrorist activity.
- Are engaged in or are likely to engage after entry in any terrorist activity.
- Have incited terrorist activity
- Are a representative of a foreign terrorist organization
- Are a member of a terrorist organization
- Have persuaded others to support terrorist activity or a terrorist organization
- Have received military-type training from or on behalf of any organization that, at the time the training was received, was a terrorist organization
- Are the spouse or child of an individual who is inadmissible for any of the above within the last 5 years