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Types of Asylum Decisions

When you apply for asylum you will receive one of the following decisions:

  • Grant of Asylum
  • Referral to an Immigration Court
  • Recommended Approval
  • Notice of Intent to Deny
  • Final Denial

Grant of Asylum

If we determine that you are eligible for asylum, you will receive a letter and completed Form I-94, Arrival Departure Record, indicating that you have been granted asylum in the United States.

The grant of asylum includes your spouse and minor children, provided that:

  • They were present in the United States
  • They were included in your asylum application
  • You established a qualifying relationship to them

For more information on immigration benefits for your spouse and children, see the “Family of Refugees & Asylees” link to the right.

A grant of asylum allows you to apply for:

  • An Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • A Social Security card
  • A Green Card (permanent residence)
  •  Immigration benefits for your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21

For more information on how to obtain these benefits, see the “Benefits and Responsibilities of Asylees” link to the right. 

A grant of asylum in the U.S. does not expire. However, USCIS may terminate your asylum status if you:

  • No longer have a well-founded fear of persecution because of a fundamental change in circumstances
  • Obtained protection from another country
  • Obtained the original asylum grant through fraud
  • Committed certain crimes or engaged in other activities that make you ineligible to retain asylum in the United States

For more information on the termination of asylum status, see Section 208(c)(2) of the "Immigration and Nationality Act” link to the upper-right.

Referral to an Immigration Court

If we are unable to approve your asylum application and you are in the United States illegally, we will forward (or refer) your asylum case to the Immigration Court. A referral to the immigration judge includes your spouse and unmarried children under 21 if they:

  • Were included on your asylum application
  • Are in the United States illegally.

A referral is not a denial of your asylum application. Instead, we refer your case for further review by the Immigration Court. If we cannot approve an asylum claim, we will send you a letter of explanation and a Form I-862, Notice to Appear, indicating the date and time you are scheduled to appear in court. You do not have to re-file your asylum application.

The Immigration Judge will evaluate your asylum claim independently and is not required to rely on or follow the decision made by USCIS.

Recommended Approval

We will issue a recommended approval when you are eligible for asylum but we have not received the results of required security checks. A recommended approval includes your spouse and children, provided that:

  • They are present in the United States
  • They were included on your application
  • You established a qualifying relationship to them

When a recommended approval has been issued due to pending security checks, you and your family members may apply for permission to work in the United States by filing a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (see Form I-765 to the right).  When we receive the results of the required security checks and you are cleared, the recommended approval will be changed to a grant of asylum (see above).

Notice of Intent to Deny

You may receive a notice of intent to deny (NOID) if you have valid legal status in the United States but are found ineligible for asylum. The NOID will state the reason(s) that you are ineligible for asylum. You will have 16 days to explain in writing either why the claim should be granted or submit new evidence to support the claim, or both. If you do not to respond within 16 days, your asylum claim may be denied. If we receive a timely response, the asylum officer will carefully consider the response or new evidence, or both and then make a final decision to approve or deny the claim. If the claim is approved, the officer will issue a grant of asylum (see above); if the claim is denied, the officer will issue a final denial (see below).

Final Denial

You will receive a notice of intent to deny (NOID) and a final denial letter if:

  • You do not respond to the NOID within 16 days, or
  • You submitted a response but the new information failed to overcome the reasons for denial stated in the NOID

You cannot appeal the asylum officer’s decision. The denial includes any dependents included on your asylum application. If your claim is denied, you may reapply for asylum however, you must show changed circumstances that affect your eligibility for asylum.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/15/2011