Asylum FAQs

Who Cannot Apply for Asylum?

Anyone who has:

  • Persecuted others;
  • Engaged in terrorist acts;
  • Been convicted of certain serious crime in the United States;
  • Committed certain serious non-political crimes outside the United States;
  • Been denied asylum in the past;
  • Resettled in a third country;
  • Been offered asylum in a third country; or
  • Been or will be a danger to U.S. national security

Other options such as Withholding of Removal (WOR) or relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) may be available for those who are ineligible to apply for asylum.

Can I Work While My Asylum Application is Pending?

Yes. Applicants who filed their asylum applications on or before August 25, 2020 are eligible for a work permit once the application has been pending for 180 days and no decision has been made. You must not be the reason for the delay. You are eligible to apply at the 150-day mark.

Can I Travel After My Asylum Case Was Approved?

Yes. However, it is not a good idea to travel to the country from which you were fleeing persecution because the U.S. government could take away your asylum status. If you want to travel less than 1 year after you won your asylum case, you will need to apply for a “travel document” to allow you to reenter the United States. If you already received your green card, you do not need a travel document.

What Happens if My Asylum Case is Denied?

The worst case scenario is that you could be deported to your home county. However, this is not automatic. Asylum applicants who lose their case with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, can argue their case to an immigration judge. If you lose in court you can appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals and in limited circumstances, the United States Supreme Court. The appellate process is complex and lengthy; it could take many years.

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