Asylum Based on Credible Fear of Persecution

Asylum is available for people seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.  The persecutor must be the applicant’s country of origin’s government or other authorities or groups that the government is unable to control. Those who are granted asylum are allowed to live and work in the United States indefinitely. After a year transpires, asylees may apply for permanent residency. The United States immigration law only specifies one type of conduct that constitutes persecution, which is being forced to undergo or the fear of being forced to undergo a program of coercive population control. Based on prior cases, however, it is known that persecution can involve acts such as threats, violence, torture, unlawful detention, or denial of basic human rights or freedoms.

To apply, the I-589 must be documented within one year of arrival to the United States. Derivative beneficiaries such as their spouse and an unmarried child under 21 are allowed for those seeking asylum via form I-730. The petition must be filed within two years of being granted asylum unless there are humanitarian reasons to extend this deadline.

Permission to Work in the United States

Applying for permission to work (employment authorization) in the United States at the same time you apply for asylum is not available. Employment authorization is available 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. To apply for employment authorization, file an I-765.

Asylees may work immediately once granted asylum. 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.

Filing for Permanent Residence (Green Card)

After being granted asylum, applying for a green card is possible after one year. A form I-485 is the application packet for yourself and, if applicable, for each family member who received derivative asylum.

Adjustment of Status for Asylees

To adjust status for asylees, the form I-485 must be sent to the designated service center for processing.

What Are the Current Procedures for the Adjustment of Asylees to Permanent Resident Status?
  1. An alien in the United States applies for asylum, followed by an interview, and before an asylum officer or a hearing an immigration judge. The applicant must establish his or her eligibility for status as a refugee.
  2. After 1 year since the grant of asylum, the asylee applies for permanent resident status by filing an I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, which the Service officer uses to determine the applicant’s continuing eligibility for benefits. If an interview is required, fingerprints are collected and processed before the applicant appears for an interview at a Service office.