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Asylum refers to the protection granted by a country to one that is suffering persecution of fear of persecution in their home country on account of their membership in a social group, nationality, political opinion, race, and religion. No matter how the individual entered the United States, if they are suffering persecution or fear of persecution in their home country, they may apply for asylum in order to remain in the United States.
One must file Form I-589 Application for Asylum and for Withholding Removal within one year of entering the United States. There is no I-589 Application fee. When filing Form I-589, the person seeking asylum may include their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age. Persons seeking asylum may add their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age to their application at any time before the asylum decision is made.
After being granted asylum, the asylee may petition to bring their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age to the United States. The asylee must file Form I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition within 2 years of being granted asylum. There is no I-730 filing fee as well.
One may not immediately obtain employment authorization when applying for asylum. In order to obtain employment authorization, at least 150 days must have passed since the filing date of the I-589 and no decision must have been made within that time period.
If granted asylum, one may immediately take up employment and obtain work authorization. Asylees do not need to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) in order to work. In order to apply for employment authorization, one must file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. If your asylum case is pending or if you have been granted asylum, then there is no employment authorization application fee.
Asylees may apply for a green card and obtain permanent residence after one year of being granted asylum. The asylee must file form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status and file separate I-485s for their spouse and each of their unmarried children under 21 years of age.
*Although it is not necessary to apply for a green card, it is in the asylee’s best interest to apply as soon as possible since, if conditions in the asylee’s country change, or they no longer meet the definition of an asylee, then they may lose their right to permanently remain in the United States. If your green card application is approved, then you may permanently remain in the U.S. without fear of having to return to your home country.*
Asylees do not have an automatic right to remain in the United States indefinitely. If after one year of residing in the United States under asylee status (one year after approval of asylum) you meet the following requirements, then you may apply for a green card.
If you are inadmissible under U.S. law then you must file Form I-602 Application by Regugee For Waiver of Grounds of Excludability. You may be inadmissible for the following reasons:
Please note that waivers of inadmissibility are evaluated on a case by cases basis. If your I-602 application is rejected, then you will be unable to apply for a green card and may be subject to removal from the United States.
In addition to filing a completed and signed Form I-485, you must also submit:
Within 10 days of changing your address, you must mail Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card, to the address stated, or complete step 1 on the USCIS’s online change address form. Those that have pending asylum applications should notify the Asylum office within 10 days of their change of address either by mailing Form AR-11 to the office, filing out step 2 on the change address form, or calling the service center at 1-800-375-5283.
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