Minor Children Applying for Asylum By Themselves

ALERT: On Dec. 21, 2020, the District Court for the District of Maryland certified a class and entered an Amended Preliminary Injunction in the case of J.O.P. v. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security et al., Civil Action 8:19-cv-01944 (PDF, 57.46 KB) (PDF, 57.46 KB). USCIS has been enjoined and restrained from applying the May 31, 2019, memorandum, “Updated Procedures for Asylum Applications Filed by Unaccompanied Alien Children” (2019 memorandum). USCIS rescinded the 2019 memorandum as of issuance of the initial temporary restraining order on Aug. 2, 2019. USCIS will apply its May 28, 2013, memorandum, “Updated Procedures for Determination of Initial Jurisdiction over Asylum Applications Filed by Unaccompanied Alien Children” (PDF, 558.52 KB) (2013 memorandum) (PDF, 558.52 KB) when making determinations about whether it has jurisdiction over asylum applications as applications filed by Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC). Until further notice, USCIS has agreed not to make jurisdiction determinations under INA section 208(b)(3)(C) that rely solely on a UAC redetermination noted in ENFORCE Alien Removal Module (EARM) or other ICE or DHS systems as terminating a prior UAC determination, unless it documents that ICE placed the individual in ICE custody as an adult detainee. While this agreement remains in effect, USCIS will place on hold cases involving any other type of action that might qualify under the 2013 memorandum as an affirmative act before filing.

To determine if the court’s order in this case applies to you, read more at U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in the case of J.O.P. v. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security et al., Civil Action 8:19-cv-01944

Minor and Unaccompanied Minor Asylum Applicants

You may apply for asylum with USCIS as a minor if you:

  • Are under 18 years old;
  • Want to have your own case separate from your parents;
  • Are not in immigration court proceedings.

You may apply for asylum with USCIS as an unaccompanied minor, even if you are in immigration court proceedings, if you:

  • Are under 18 years old;
  • Have no lawful immigration status in the United States; and
  • Have no parent or legal guardian in the United States available to provide care and physical custody.

Asylum officers will consider your asylum claim if you filed your application with an asylum office and you meet the criteria above. If you are in immigration court proceedings, you must attend your immigration court hearings and should follow the Immigration Judge’s instructions, even if you have filed for asylum with an asylum office.

Interviewing Procedures for Minor Applicants

Asylum officers conduct child appropriate interviews taking into account age, stage of language development, background, and level of sophistication. These interview techniques are outlined in the “Guidelines for Children’s Asylum Claims”.

For cases involving a minor applicant, asylum officers may ask questions about:

  • If you have a guardian or parent;
  • If your guardian or parent allowed you to apply for asylum.

If more information is needed about your guardian or parents, the asylum officer may delay your case.

If needed and with your permission, asylum officers may interview your parent or trusted adult about information you may not be able to provide. It is not required that a witness or trusted adult be present at your interview.

Related Links

Asylum Eligibility and Applications FAQ

EAD Clock Procedures for UACs (PDF, 572.97 KB)

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