An asylum applicant will generally receive a decision on his or her application 14 days after the asylum interview and 60 days after filing a complete Form I-589 application with the appropriate Service Center, with some exceptions. In some cases, the decision will be mailed to the applicant. The applicant will receive one of the following decisions which are detailed below:
- Grant of Asylum
- Recommended Approval
- Referral to an Immigration Court
- Asylum Granted through Immigration Court Order
- Notice of Intent to Deny
- Final Denial
- Conditional Grant (See “Resistance to Coercive Population Control (CPC) Programs”)
Grant of Asylum
An applicant receives a Grant of Asylum when it has been determined that he or she is eligible for asylum in the United States. The applicant will receive a completed Form I-94, Arrival Departure Record, indicating that the applicant has been granted asylum status in the United States pursuant to § 208(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The grant of asylum includes the applicant’s dependents who are present in the United States if they were included in the applicant’s asylum application, and the applicant established a qualifying relationship to them by a preponderance of evidence.
A grant of asylum in the United States is for an indefinite period; however, asylum status does not give the applicant the right to remain permanently in the United States. Asylum status may be terminated if the applicant no longer has a well-founded fear of persecution because of a fundamental change in circumstances, the applicant has obtained protection from another country, or the applicant has committed certain crimes or engaged in other activity that makes the applicant ineligible to retain asylum status in the United States. See INA § 208(c)(2).
An asylee may apply for certain benefits. These include the following:
- Employment Authorization
Effective November 10, 2002, asylum applicants who have been granted asylum will no longer have to file an EAD application with the Nebraska Service Center in order to obtain an initial EAD. Section 309 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 requires USCIS to issue an employment authorization document containing at least a fingerprint and photograph to an asylee immediately upon a grant of asylum. If an asylee wishes to renew his or her EAD, the asylee will still need to submit an EAD application with the Nebraska Service Center, and pay a fee or request a fee waiver under 8 CFR § 103.7(c). However, asylees are work-authorized regardless of whether or not they are in possession of an EAD. An asylee may want to obtain an EAD from USCIS in order to meet other obligations. For example, the EAD, which is evidence of both identity and employment authorization, can be presented to an employer as a List A document of the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9). Also, the EAD can serve as evidence of alien registration, which is required by law to be carried by registered aliens at all times.
- Social Security Cards
An asylee may immediately apply for an unrestricted Social Security card at any Social Security office. The asylee can get an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) or more information about applying for a Social Security card by going to http://www.ssa.gov, calling the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213, or visiting a local Social Security office.
- Employment Assistance
An asylee is eligible to receive a variety of services under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Such services include job search assistance, career counseling, and occupational skills training. These and other services are available at local One-Stop Career Centers. To obtain more information about One-Stop Career Centers, asylees may call 1-877-US2-JOBS. The information is also available on-line through America’s Service Locator at http://www.servicelocator.org.
- Derivative Asylum Status
An asylee may request derivative asylum status for any spouse or child (unmarried and under 21 years of age as of the date the asylee filed the asylum application, as long as the asylum application was pending on or after August 6, 2002) who is not included in the asylum decision and with whom the asylee has a qualifying relationship. To request derivative asylum status, the asylee must submit a Form I-730, Refugee and Asylee Relative Petition, to the Nebraska Service Center, P.O. Box 87730, Lincoln, NE 68501-7730. The Form I-730 must be filed for each qualifying family member within two years of the date the asylee was granted asylum status, unless USCIS determines that this time period should be extended for humanitarian reasons.
- Adjustment of Status
An asylee may apply for lawful permanent resident status under section 209(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act after the asylee has been physically present in the United States for a period of one year after the date he or she was granted asylum status. To apply for lawful permanent residence status, the asylee must submit a separate Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, for himself or herself and each qualifying family member to the Nebraska Service Center, P.O. Box 87485, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68501-7485. If the asylee has a child who turns 21 years old prior to the completion of the adjustment process and prior to August 6, 2002, the child shall continue to be classified as a child for purposes of section 208(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act if the child was under 21 years of age at the date of filing the asylum application.
- Assistance and Services through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)
An asylee may be eligible to receive assistance and services through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). ORR funds and administers various programs, which are run by state and private, non-profit agencies throughout the United States. The programs include cash and medical assistance, employment preparation and job placement, and English language training. Many of these programs have time-limited eligibility periods that begin from the date the asylee is granted asylum. An asylee can find out what programs are available and where to go for assistance and services in his or her state by calling 1-800-354-0365. For more information about possible benefits, see http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/asyleeinfo.htm.
- Travel Documents
If an asylee plans to depart the United States, he or she must obtain permission to return to the United States before departure by obtaining a Refugee Travel Document. The asylee’s qualifying family members, if any, will also have to obtain refugee travel documents before leaving the United States. A Refugee Travel Document may be used for temporary travel abroad and is required for readmission to the United States as an asylee. If an asylee does not obtain a Refugee Travel Document in advance of departure, he or she may be unable to re-enter the United States, or the asylee may be placed in removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge. To apply for a Refugee Travel Document, an asylee will need to submit a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with the required fee or request for fee waiver under 8 CFR § 103.7(c) to the Nebraska Service Center, P.O. Box 87131, Lincoln, NE 68501-7131.
An asylee also has certain responsibilities. These include the requirement to notify USCIS of any change in address within 10 days of any such change using Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card. Additionally, all male asylees between the ages of 18 and 26 must register for the Selective Service. To obtain information about the Selective Service and how to register, an asylee may sign on to the Selective Service website at http://www.sss.gov or obtain a Selective Service “mail-back” registration form at his or her nearest post office.
An applicant receives this letter when the Asylum Officer has made a preliminary determination to grant the applicant asylum but USCIS has not yet received the results from the mandatory, confidential investigation of the applicant’s identity and background. If the results reveal derogatory information that affects the applicant’s eligibility for asylum, USCIS may deny the applicant’s request for asylum or refer it to an Immigration Judge for further consideration.
A recommended approval is valid for the period of time necessary to obtain the required clearances. The recommended approval includes the applicant’s dependents who are present in the United States, were included in the applicant’s asylum application, and for whom the applicant has established a qualifying relationship by a preponderance of evidence.
The applicant and his or her dependents who were included in the asylum decision are eligible to apply for work authorization during the background check process pursuant to 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(8)(ii). To work in the U.S., the applicant and each qualifying family member must apply for and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If authorized, the applicant may accept employment subject to any restrictions in the regulations or on the card. The applicant and his or her qualifying family members are not required to pay a fee with the initial request(s) for employment authorization. To obtain an EAD, the applicant must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to the appropriate USCIS Service Center.
A recommended approval does not entitle the applicant’s spouse or children outside the United States, if any, to receive derivative asylum status or to be admitted to the United States. If the applicant receives a final approval of asylum, the applicant will be entitled to request derivative asylum for his or her spouse and any unmarried child(ren) under 21 years of age at the time the applicant filed Form I-730, Refugee and Asylee Relative Petition.
If the applicant and/or his or her qualifying family members plan to depart the United States and intend to return, the applicant and his or her dependents must each obtain permission to return to the United States before leaving this country. If the applicant leaves the United States without first obtaining advance parole, it may be presumed that the applicant has abandoned his or her request for asylum. The applicant may apply for advance parole by filing a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with the District Office having jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence. If the applicant leaves the United States with advance parole and returns to the country of claimed persecution, the applicant will be presumed to have abandoned his or her asylum request, unless the applicant can show compelling reasons for the return.
The applicant’s case will be referred to an Immigration Court when USCIS is unable to approve the application and the applicant is not in valid status. A referral is not a denial of the applicant’s asylum application. The applicant’s asylum request will be considered (without additional refiling) when the applicant appears before an Immigration Judge at the date and time listed on the charging document the applicant will receive. The determinations that USCIS made in referring the applicant’s application are not binding on the Immigration Judge, who will evaluate the applicant’s claim anew. A referral includes the dependents included in the applicant’s asylum application.
An applicant who is in valid status and found ineligible for asylum will be mailed a Notice of Intent to Deny. The letter will state the reason(s) the applicant was found ineligible for asylum. The applicant will have 16 days to submit a rebuttal or new evidence. If the applicant fails to respond within this time, the applicant’s request for asylum may be denied. If a timely rebuttal is sent, the Asylum Officer will carefully consider the rebuttal and then either approve or deny the claim.
An applicant who received a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) will be sent a Final Denial letter if the applicant failed to submit a rebuttal to the discussion in the NOID within 16 days, or the applicant submitted a rebuttal but the evidence or argument offered failed to overcome the grounds for denial as stated in the NOID. The applicant cannot appeal the Asylum Officer’s decision. The denial includes any dependents included in the applicant’s asylum application. Any employment authorization issued to the applicant as a result of having a pending application for asylum will expire 60 days from the date of the Final Denial letter or on the expiration date of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), whichever period is longer.