Seeking Asylum in the United States

seeking asylum in the usEvery year people come to the U.S. seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:

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

You may only file this application if you are physically present in the United States (or at the U.S. border). If you are eligible for asylum you may be permitted to remain in the U.S. You should file for asylum within 1 year of your arrival to the U.S., unless there is a very serious reason why you did not do it. You may apply for a Green Card 1 year after being granted asylum.

Your family

You may include your spouse and unmarried children under age 21 who are physically present in the U.S. as dependents on your asylum application at the time you file, or at any time until a final decision is made on your application. Your child will continue to be eligible as a dependent on your asylum application if they turned 21 after you filed your application and while it remains pending.

If your family is overseas, you may petition to bring your spouse and children to the U.S. within 2 years of being granted asylum.


If you applied for asylum and have not yet received a decision, you should not leave the United States without first obtaining advance parole. Advance parole allows certain individuals to return to the United States without a visa after traveling abroad. If you leave the United States without first obtaining advance parole, we will presume you abandoned your asylum application. Advance parole does not guarantee that you will be allowed to reenter the United States.

If you plan to depart the United States after being granted asylum, you must obtain permission to return to the United States before departure by obtaining a refugee travel document. Your spouse and children who were granted asylum must also obtain refugee travel documents before leaving as well.

A refugee travel document may be used for temporary travel abroad and is required for readmission to the United States as an asylee. If you do not obtain a refugee travel document in advance of departure, you may be unable to reenter the United States, or you may be placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge.

Schedule a consultation