Asylees and Refugees

Every year, people seek protection in the United States because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution in their own country because of:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

Completing Form I-9

Section 1

Refugees and asylees are authorized to work because of their immigration status. If you are a refugee or asylee who is  completing Form I-9 you should:

  • Select the “An alien authorized to work” checkbox. You may write “N/A” in the space provided for the expiration date.
  • Write the Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) Admission Number or your Alien Registration Number/USCIS Number or your foreign passport number and country of issuance in the space provided.

Section 2

Just as in the case of any employee, a refugee or asylee may choose to present any applicable document from the Lists of Acceptable Documents.

Completing Section 2 for a Refugee Presenting Form I-94

DHS provides refugees electronic or paper Forms I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record).

If a refugee presents the departure portion of a Form I-94A containing an unexpired refugee admission stamp or a  computer-generated printout of Form I-94 with an admission class of “RE,” the employer must accept it as a receipt for a List A document establishing both employment authorization and identity for 90 days. The receipt is valid for 90 days from the date of hire. At the end of this 90-day period, the employee must show the employer either a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or a combination of a List B document and an unrestricted Social Security card.

Completing Section 2 for an Asylee Presenting a Form I-94

Because asylees are authorized for employment based on their asylee status, DHS issues them a paper Form I-94 that shows their status and employment authorization as well as an EAD. The EAD is acceptable as a List A document.

An asylee may present Form I-94 or Form I-94A with one of the stamps or notations below indicating asylee status:

An asylee’s Form I-94 is a List C document and, unlike other Forms I-94, usually does not contain an expiration date. The asylee will need to present a List B identity document with this Form I-94.

Decisions from immigration judges granting asylum are not acceptable as List C documents as they are not documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

Last Reviewed/Updated: