Frequently Asked Questions About Asylum

Asylum vs. Withholding

Clients who have lived in the US for over one year do not typically file for asylum. They are typically only eligible to file a withholding of removal. Children at entry and arriving aliens who have not been in the US previously typically file for asylum.

What Will Be My Status After I Am Granted Asylum?

You will have asylee status. You will receive an I-94 Arrival and Departure record documenting that you are able to remain indefinitely in the United States as an asylee. You will be authorized to work in the United States for as long as you remain in asylee status. You may obtain a photo-identity document from USCIS evidencing your employment authorization by applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You will also be able to request derivative asylum status for any spouse or child (unmarried and under 21 years of age as of the date you filed the asylum application, as long as your asylum application was pending on or after August 6, 2002) who was not included as a dependent in your asylum decision and with whom you have a qualifying relationship. This means that you will be able to petition to bring your spouse and/or children to the United States, or allow them to remain in the United States indefinitely incident to your asylee status.

To What Benefits May I Be Entitled After I Am Granted Asylum?

Asylees are eligible to apply for certain benefits, including an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), an unrestricted Social Security card, cash and medical assistance, employment assistance, and a Refugee Travel Document. For more information on the benefits and responsibilities associated with asylee status, see Types of Decisions, Grant of Asylum, or information for asylees on the website of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Can Asylum Status Be Terminated?

Yes. Your asylee status may be terminated if you no longer have a well-founded fear of persecution because of a fundamental change in circumstances, you have obtained protection from another country, or you have committed certain crimes or engaged in other activity that makes you ineligible to retain asylum status in the United States. See INA § 208(c)(2). An asylee is not a lawful permanent resident. You may apply for lawful permanent resident status after you have been physically present in the United States for a period of one year after the date you were granted asylum status. See Asylee Adjustment for more information about becoming a lawful permanent resident. The law can be found at INA § 209(b).