Obtaining Derivative Refugee/Asylee Status for Your Spouse
If you were admitted to the United States as a principal refugee, or if you were granted asylum in the United States in the last two years, you can petition for your spouse to receive derivative refugee or asylee status by filing Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, on their behalf. This is considered “derivative” refugee or asylee status, since they will be deriving this status from you after you were admitted to the U.S. as a refugee or received a grant of asylum. This petition has a two-year filing deadline, but we may still accept your petition after two years for humanitarian reasons.
Your spouse must meet the requirements for derivative refugee or asylee status. They are not required to have a persecution claim that would qualify them independently as an asylee or refugee; rather, they derive that status through their relationship to you. Your spouse does not have to be the same nationality as you. They may reside in their country of nationality or another country and will not be subject to the firm resettlement bar.
Your spouse must:
Meet the legal definition of “spouse;”
- Have been married to you when you were admitted to the United States as a refugee or were granted asylum;
- Continue to be married to you when you filed your Form I-730 and when they are admitted to the United States (if applicable);
- Not be inadmissible under any of the grounds that apply to refugees and must not be barred as a persecutor, if they are seeking derivative refugee status; and
- Not be subject to one of the mandatory asylum bars, including the persecutor bar, if they are seeking derivative asylum status.
Your spouse can get derivative refugee or asylee status by:
- Accompanying you, meaning you include them in your original application for refugee or asylee status. We will approve your spouse for derivative status as part of your case. If your spouse is living outside of the United States, they will be admitted to the United States at the same time you are, or within four months of your admission; or
- Joining you later (called “following to join”), meaning you petition for your spouse within two years of you being admitted to the United States as a refugee or receiving your grant of asylum status.
For more information, see the following pages on our website:
How to File
To petition for your spouse, you must:
- Read the instructions for Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition;
- Complete and sign your Form I-730; and
- Provide all required evidence and supporting documentation.
Your spouse cannot file Form I-730 on behalf of any other relatives.
Want status updates about your case? Learn how to create a USCIS online account to stay informed.
After You File
Once we receive your Form I-730, you will receive a:
- Receipt notice confirming we received your petition; and
- Notice of our decision.
If required, your spouse will receive a notice from USCIS or the Department of State to attend an interview and submit biometrics.
Forms and Fees
- Form I-730
- No filing fee for refugee/asylee petitioners.