Asylum in the United States

Many foreigners who have suffered persecution and people who fear that they will suffer persecution due to certain factors like race, nationality, religion or political opinion, come to the U.S. seeking protection. People who demonstrate that they were persecuted or that they would be persecuted in their countries of origin will be granted entry into the U.S. Such foreign nationals can then apply for asylum in the U.S. by filing Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.

People filing Form I-589 for asylum, can include their eligible dependents such as their spouse and their children in their applications. At the time of applying for asylum they cannot file applications for employment authorization documents. They can apply for work permits 150 days after filing their applications for asylum, if no decisions have been made on their cases.

If USCIS grants them asylum in the U.S. they can immediately start working in the country. They need not get work permit to work in the U.S. However, they can also apply for work permits by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if they need those documents for identification purposes. Asylees need not pay the Form I-765 application filing fee.

People who have been granted asylum can bring their spouses and children who are abroad to the U.S. To do so they need to file Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. However, they can bring their children only if they are below age 21. They need to file petitions to bring their dependents to the U.S. within two years of being granted asylum status.

Asylees can become legal permanent residents (green card holders). One year after being granted asylum in the U.S., they can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, and adjust their status to permanent resident status. Their dependents also can adjust status to legal resident status and to do so they must file separate I-485 applications.