Asylum

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; or Political opinion.  If you are eligible for asylum you may be permitted to remain in the United States.

To apply for Asylum, you must file an Application for Asylum with the United States Customs and Immigration Service within one year of your arrival to the United States. There is no fee to apply for asylum.

You may include your spouse and unmarried children under 21 who are also 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.

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 no decision has been made within 150 days of submitting a complete asylum 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 an Application for Employment Authorization.  There is no fee to apply for your first EAD if you have a pending asylum application (over 150 days) or if you have been granted asylum.

If you are granted asylum you may apply 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 application within two years of being granted asylum unless there are humanitarian reasons to excuse this deadline.  There is no fee to file this petition.

You may apply for a green card one year after being granted asylum. To apply for a green card, file an Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. You must submit a separate application packet for yourself and, if applicable, for each family member who received derivative asylum based on your case.

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