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The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides in Section 208(d)(5) that the initial interview for asylum applications filed on or after April 1, 1997 should take place within 45 days after the date the application is filed, and a decision should be made on the asylum application within 180 days after the date the application is filed, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The time frames below apply only if you will be scheduled for an interview at one of the eight asylum offices. Time frames vary for those who live far from an asylum office because asylum officers must travel in order to conduct these interviews.

Applicant files I-589 at the Service Center

Within 21 days of the filing date

Within 43 days** of the filing date

Within 60 days of the filing date

Within 180 days of the filing date

The filing date is the date the complete application was received at the Service Center.

Applicant receives:

  • Receipt notice that USCIS received I-589
  • Fingerprint appointment notice*
  • Interview notice

Applicant is interviewed at one of the eight asylum offices, unless applicant lives at a significant distance from an asylum office.

Majority of applicants return two weeks after the interview to pick up the decisions on their applications, including referrals to the Immigration Court for final determination.

Applicants whose cases have been referred to the Immigration Court receive a decision on their applications.

* Asylum office will not conduct an interview on your application until you have had your fingerprints taken in accordance with notice instructions.

**Consistent with long-standing procedures, the USCIS Asylum Division schedules new filings beginning with the most recently filed cases (within a three-week window) and working backwards in reverse chronological order toward the older cases.  When the Asylum Division is fully staffed, we are generally able to schedule all cases within 43 days.   When more asylum applications are received than the Asylum Division can schedule with its finite staffing, cases that cannot be scheduled are sent to the backlog, consistent with the scheduling procedure described above.  Cases remain in the backlog until staff can be made available, at which point they are scheduled.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 
02/21/2014