Green Card

The most important benefit of winning an asylum case is that the foreign national receives legal permanent residency.  That is the final step before becoming a U.S. citizen.  Immigration issues a “green card” to residents as an identification document of their legal status.  When the case is approved — either before U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (“Immigration”) or before an Immigration Judge – the foreign national becomes an asylee. ONE year after they become asylees, foreign nationals may apply for legal permanent residency.  Legal permanent residents can live and work in the United States.  Importantly, they can also bring spouses and children to the U.S. and receive government assistance programs.

Work Authorization While Case Is Pending

An asylum applicant can file for work authorization 150 days after the asylum application is submitted to the Citizenship and Immigration Service.  Filing the asylum application triggers a countdown referred to as “the asylum clock.”  Immigration will not issue a work permit until 180 days have passed on the asylum clock.  If the case is denied before the 180 days, the work permit is not issued.

Although an asylum applicant can receive work authorization while the case is pending in Immigration Court, certain activities will stop the clock and as a result can impact when the work permit is issued.  For instance, if a foreign national applies for asylum before an Immigration Judge, but then requests additional time to find an attorney, the asylum clock stops ticking.  By requesting additional time, foreign nationals are forced to wait before being eligible to apply for work authorization.  Hiring an experience lawyer for an asylum case inImmigration Court is extremely important not only because foreign nationals can be deported, but also because they might risk their work permits.

Traveling, Sponsoring Family, Winning Scholarships

Asylees can travel abroad with a Refugee Travel Document, which is issued by the United States.  They do not need the passport of their home country.  In addition, persons granted asylum can petition for either their spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21.  This benefit applies to spouses or children outside the United Stateswho will then come to receive a legal permanent stay in the United States.