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Application Procedures: Getting Derivative Refugee or Asylum Status for your Child

If you entered the United States as a refugee within the past 2 years or were granted asylum status within the past 2 years, and are applying for derivative refugee or asylum status for your child, your family relationship will determine the documents you must submit.

For asylum or refugee matters, a child is defined as being unmarried and under 21 when you first filed your application for asylum or refugee status.

Application Process: Mother

If you are a mother applying for refugee or asylum benefits for your child, you must submit:

  • Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition (one for each child)
  • Proof of your status as a refugee or asylee
  • Recent, clear photograph of your child
  • Copy of your child's birth certificate showing your name and the name of your child

Application Process: Father

If you are a father applying for refugee or asylum benefits for your child, you must submit:

  • Form I-730 (one for each child)
  • Proof of your status as a refugee or asylee
  • Recent, clear photograph of your child
  • Copy of child's birth certificate showing the name of both parents
  • Copy of the marriage certificate if you are or were married to your child's mother
  • If your were never married to your child's mother, proof that the child was legitimated by civil authorities or evidence that a parent-child relationship exists or existed
  • Copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates or annulment decrees showing that any previous marriages by you and/or the child’s mother were legally terminated

Application Process: Step-Parent

If you are a step-parent applying for refugee or asylum benefits for your step-child, you must submit:

  • Form I-730 (one for each step-child)
  • Proof of your status as a refugee or asylee
  • Recent, clear photograph of your step-child
  • Copy of your step-child's birth certificate
  • Copy of the marriage certificate for you and your step-child's natural parent
  • Copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates or annulment decrees showing that any previous marriages by you and/or the child’s natural parent were legally terminated

Application Process: Adoptive Parent

If you are an adoptive parent applying for refugee or asylum benefits for your child, you must submit:

  • Form I-730 (one for each child)
  • Proof of your status as a refugee or asylee
  • Recent, clear photograph of your adopted child 
  • Certified copy of the adoption decree 
  • Proof that you had legal custody of the child for at least 2 years (legal custody may have been granted prior to final adoption)
  • Proof that your child lived with you for at least 2 years

Note: You must file a Form I-730 petition for your child within 2 years of the date you were granted asylum status or within 2 years of admission to the United States as a refugee. This time period may be extended for humanitarian purposes.

No appeal is available for a denial of a Form I-730 petition. No fees are required to submit Form I-730. See the “Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition” link to the right for more information.

Your Child's Application Responsibilities

  • If your child is outside the United States, he or she will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing. 
  • If your child is currently inside the United States, USCIS will notify your child if the application is approved by sending you Form I-797, Notice of Action.

Note: A child who receives derivative refugee or asylum status cannot file a Form I-730 petition on behalf of any other relatives.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/03/2009