Friday, September 24, 2010

Seattle Immigration Lawyer | Asylum Basics Continued, Referral to Immigration Court or Granted

If Your Asylum Case is Referred to the Immigration Court:

First, to be clear, a referral to the Immigration Court is not a denial. It means that the asylum officer could not approve your case. If your case is referred, you will receive a letter of explanation from USCIS and a notice to appear in court. The Immigration Judge will independently review your application and is not required to follow the decision made by the USCIS. It is crucial that you attend the hearing and highly recommended that you obtain an experienced immigration attorney to represent you, if you have not done so by this point already. (If you miss the hearing it could be held in your absence and the judge could order your deportation. Also, with limited exceptions, you cannot apply for a green card for 5 years from the hearing that you missed.) If the judge rules against you, you can appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals and from there you may be able to appeal to the federal Court of Appeals.

If Your Asylum Case is Granted:

If your asylum application is granted, you can immediately petition to bring your spouse and any unmarried minor children (under 21) you may have still in your home country to the U.S. You will need to use Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition to do this.

After waiting one year following approval of your asylum application, you and your family can apply for green cards (lawful permanent residence). You will qualify for a green card if: (1) you have physically stayed in the U.S. for one year full year after being granted asylum; (2) you continue to be an asylee, or spouse or child of one (meaning that country conditions have not substantially changed); and, (3) you have not violated certain U.S. criminal laws.

As soon as your asylum claim is granted you may also apply for work authorization and a social security card. (If 150 days has passed since you filed your asylum application and the decision is still pending, you may also apply for work authorization.) You will need Form I-765, Application for Employment for this.

I hope that you found this overview of the asylum process informative. If you think you have a potential asylum claim you should discuss your case with an experienced immigration attorney, and beware of the 1-year deadline from when you arrived in the U.S.!

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