Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:
Membership in a particular social group
If you are eligible for asylum you may be permitted to remain in the United States. To apply for Asylum, file a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of your arrival to the United States. There is no fee to apply for asylum.
You may include your spouse and children who are in the United States on your application at the time you file or at any time until a final decision is made on your case. To include your child on your application, the child must be under 21 and unmarried. For more information see our Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal page.
Permission to Work in the United States
You cannot apply for permission to work (employment authorization) in the United States at the same time you apply for asylum.
You may apply for employment authorization if:
150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays caused by you (such as a request to reschedule your interview) AND
No decision has been made on your application
If you are granted asylum you may work immediately. Some asylees choose to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for convenience or identification purposes, but an EAD is not necessary to work if you are an asylee.
To apply for employment authorization, you must file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. There is no fee to apply for your first EAD if you have a pending asylum application or if you have been granted asylum. For more information see our Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization page.
Bringing Your Family to the United States
If you are granted asylum you may petition to bring your spouse and children to the United States by filing a Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. To include your child on your application, the child must be under 21 and unmarried.
You must file the petition within two years of being granted asylum unless there are humanitarian reasons to excuse this deadline. There is no fee to file this petition. For more information see our Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition” page.
Filing for Permanent Residence (Green Card)
You may apply for a green card one year after being granted asylum. To apply for a green card, file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. You must submit a separate I-485 application packet for yourself and, if applicable, for each family member who received derivative asylum based on your case.
For more information about green cards, see our Green Cards for an Asylee page. For more information about asylum, see our Questions & Answers: Asylum page.