The deadlines associated with applying for asylum can be overwhelming. Asylum cases are complicated because the way the law is interpreted constantly changes. The following addresses some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the deadlines:

When must foreign nationals file their applications?

A foreigner national has ONE year from the date of their last entry into the United States to file an asylum application. There are exceptions to the one-year deadline. However, because applicants are placed into proceedings before an Immigration Judge if Immigration does not agree that the exception applies, it is best to apply as soon as possible.

When can a foreigner apply for work authorization?

This is a very common question as foreigners are often anxious to start working so they can support themselves and their family. The “asylum clock,” as it is commonly referred to, starts ticking when a complete asylum application is filed with the Citizenship and Immigration Service or in front of the Immigration Judge.

Applicants can file for work authorization 150 days after filing for asylum. However, Immigration may not approve the application for work authorization until 180 days have passed.

In order to avoid fraudulent applications filed for the purpose of work permits, Immigration decides cases much before the 150 day deadline. If the asylum is denied, the applicant is not eligible for work authorization. In Immigration Court, where cases often take months to process, the asylum clock is “frozen” when the delay is caused by the foreign national. For example, when a person asks the Immigration Judge for additional time to hire an attorney, the asylum clock is stopped. Until the next hearing, the 150 days needed for the work permit are NOT being counted.

How soon after my asylum application is approved may I apply for residency?

Applicants may file for residency ONE year after the date of approval. They will need to submit proof of the asylum approval: a letter from Immigration, the Immigration Judge’s order, or the I-94 card.

After my asylum application is approved, how soon after can I file a petition for my family member?

Asylees may petition for their spouse or children who are outside of the country. The foreigner can file this application immediately after approval. It must be filed within two years of approval.

Foreign nationals who cannot return to their home country due to a well-founded fear of being harmed should consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately. There are many technical rules involved in this form of relief. Simply stated, there is too much at stake.

This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consultation with an experienced competent immigration attorney is the best way to address individual concerns