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
- Political opinion
You may only file this application if you are physically present in the United States, and you are not a U.S. citizen.
If you are eligible for asylum you may be permitted to remain in the United States. To apply for asylum affirmatively or defensively, file a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within 1 year of your arrival to the United States. Visit our Obtaining Asylum in the United States page for more information on affirmative and defensive filings. There is no fee to apply for asylum.
You may include your spouse and children who are in the United States on your affirmative or defensive asylum 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.
If you were placed in expedited removal proceedings, you received a positive credible fear determination, and USCIS retained your asylum application for further consideration in an Asylum Merits Interview, please visit our Asylum Merits Interview with USCIS: Processing After a Positive Credible Fear Determination page.
If you have an asylum application pending with us, you can check the status of your case at Case Status Online. You will need the receipt number that we provided you after you filed your application.
Permission to Work in the United States
To apply for employment authorization, you must file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. For more information, see the Form I-765 webpage.
Based on a Pending Asylum Application:
To apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) based on your pending asylum application under the (c)(8) category, you may file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, 150 days after you file your asylum application. You are not eligible to receive an EAD until your asylum application has been pending for at least another 30 days, for a total of 180 days, commonly referred to as the 180-Day Asylum EAD Clock.
Delays that you request or cause while your asylum application is pending with an asylum office or with the Executive Office for Immigration Review do not count toward the 150-day waiting period or the 180-day eligibility period.
Delays you may request or cause may include:
- Asking to transfer a case to a new asylum office or interview location, including when the transfer is based on your change of address;
- Asking to reschedule an interview for a later date;
- Failing to appear at an interview or biometrics appointment;
- Failing to provide a competent interpreter at an interview (if required);
- Asking to provide additional evidence at or after an interview;
- Submitting large volumes of evidence immediately before an interview that requires a reschedule; or
- Failing to receive and acknowledge an asylum decision in person (if required).
If you are required to receive and acknowledge your asylum decision at an asylum office but you fail to appear, your 180-Day Asylum EAD Clock will stop, and you may be ineligible to receive employment authorization. If your case has been referred to an Immigration Court, your 180-Day Asylum EAD Clock will not start again until your first hearing with an immigration judge.
If you fail to appear for a scheduled asylum interview without good cause, or fail without good cause to provide a competent interpreter if you are required to do so, we may refer your Form I-589 to an immigration judge, and you will be ineligible for employment authorization based on your pending Form I-589. For additional information about establishing good cause, please review Establishing Good Cause or Exceptional Circumstances .
For more information regarding employment authorization and applicant-caused delays, see The 180-Day Asylum EAD Clock Notice (PDF, 520.99 KB). If we approve your application for employment authorization based on your pending asylum application, your EAD will be valid for up to 2 years.
After the Asylum Application is Adjudicated:
If you are granted asylum, you are immediately authorized to work. (Some asylees choose to obtain EADs for convenience or identification purposes, but an EAD is not necessary to work if you are an asylee.)
If you are denied asylum, your employment authorization will terminate when your EAD expires or 60 days after your asylum application was denied, whichever is later. If you are not in lawful immigration status (or do not have parole), and an asylum officer “refers” your asylum application to an immigration judge for further consideration, your EAD remains valid through the date of expiration, unless you renew it. If an immigration judge denies your asylum application, your employment authorization will terminate on the expiration date printed on your EAD, unless you appeal the immigration judge’s decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) or, after BIA review, you appeal the BIA’s decision to a federal circuit court. You may be otherwise eligible for employment authorization if you are a valid immigrant or nonimmigrant or have parole or temporary protected status.
ALERT: If you are applying for your initial (first) employment authorization based on having a pending asylum application, you may be a member of the class action case, Rosario v. USCIS, Case No. C15-0813JLR (W.D. Wash. July 26, 2018). To learn more, visit the Rosario Class Action page.
Having Your Attorney or Representative Participate in Your Asylum and/or NACARA 203 Interview from a Remote Location via telephone.
If you are scheduled for an asylum or NACARA interview at an asylum office and you have an attorney or accredited representative, they may participate in your interview remotely through a telephone connection.
To participate remotely, they must choose the document corresponding to the asylum office where we have scheduled your interview:
- Arlington Asylum Office Attorney Opt-in Template (PDF, 205.99 KB)
- Boston Asylum Office Attorney Opt-in Template (PDF, 202.69 KB)
- Chicago Asylum Office Attorney Opt-in Template (PDF, 221.72 KB)
- Houston Asylum Office Attorney Opt-in Template (PDF, 218.94 KB)
- Los Angeles Asylum Office Attorney Opt-in Template (PDF, 242.8 KB)
- Miami Asylum Office Attorney Opt-in Template (PDF, 221.12 KB)
- New Orleans Asylum Sub-Office Attorney Opt-in Template (PDF, 222.01 KB)
- New York Asylum Office Attorney Opt-in Template (PDF, 220.71 KB)
- Newark Asylum Office Attorney Opt-in Template (PDF, 223.29 KB)
- Newark Asylum Office/Manhattan Branch Attorney Opt-In Template (PDF, 223.78 KB)
- San Francisco Asylum Office Attorney Opt-in Template (PDF, 221.77 KB)
- Tampa Asylum Office Attorney Opt-in Template (PDF, 210.56 KB)
Each document is specific to that asylum office. Please carefully read the information on the document for the office where we have scheduled your interview, and consult with your attorney or accredited representative to determine whether you want them to participate remotely.
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 2 years of being granted asylum unless there are humanitarian reasons to excuse this deadline. There is no fee to file this petition.
Filing for Permanent Residence (Green Card)
You may apply for a Green Card 1 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 Form I-485 application packet for yourself and, if applicable, for each family member who received derivative asylum based on your application.
- Asylum and Refugee News Releases
- Asylum and Refugee Alerts
- USCIS Welcomes Refugees and Asylees (PDF, 1.78 MB)
- The 180-Day Asylum EAD Clock Notice (PDF, 520.99 KB)
- Rosario Class Action
- Notice of Proposed Settlement and Hearing In Class Action Involving Detained Noncitizens Who Are Awaiting a “Reasonable Fear Determination”
- Obtaining Asylum in the United States
- The Affirmative Asylum Process
- Types of Affirmative Asylum Decisions
- Asylum Merits Interview with USCIS: Processing After a Positive Credible Fear Determination
- Preparing for Your Affirmative Asylum Interview
- Minor Children Applying for Asylum By Themselves
- Immigration through the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Section 203
- Asylum Bars
- Benefits and Responsibilities of Asylees
- Asylum Division Training Programs
- "How Do I" Guides for Refugees and Asylees
- Basic Eligibility for Section 204(l) Relief for Surviving Relatives
- Asylum Division Quarterly Stakeholder Meeting
Find Asylum Offices and Related Areas
Questions and Answers
Other USCIS Links