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Types of Asylum Decisions

Below is a discussion of decisions that can be made by immigration courts and officials at different stages in the asylum process.

Grant of Asylum

An applicant receives a Grant of Asylum when it has been determined that he or she is eligible for asylum in the United States. The applicant will receive a completed Form I-94, Arrival Departure Record, indicating that the applicant has been granted asylum status in the United States pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The grant of asylum includes the applicant's dependents who are present in the United States if they were included in the applicant's asylum application, and the applicant established a qualifying relationship to them by a preponderance of the evidence.

A grant of asylum in the United States is for an indefinite period; however, asylum status does not give the applicant the right to remain permanently in the United States. Asylum status may be terminated if the applicant no longer has a well-founded fear of persecution because of a fundamental change in circumstances, the applicant has obtained protection from another country, or the applicant has committed certain crimes or engaged in other activity that makes the applicant ineligible to retain asylum status in the United States.

Recommended Approval

An applicant receives this letter when the Asylum Officer has made a preliminary determination to grant the applicant asylum but USCIS has not yet received the results from the mandatory, confidential investigation of the applicant's identity and background. If the results reveal derogatory information that affects the applicant's eligibility for asylum, USCIS may deny the applicant's request for asylum or refer it to an Immigration Judge for further consideration.

A recommended approval is valid for the period of time necessary to obtain the required clearances. The recommended approval includes the applicant's dependents who are present in the United States, were included in the applicant's asylum application, and for whom the applicant has established a qualifying relationship by a preponderance of evidence.

The applicant and his or her dependents who were included in the asylum decision are eligible to apply for work authorization during the background check process. To work in the U.S., the applicant and each qualifying family member must apply for and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If authorized, the applicant may accept employment subject to any restrictions in the regulations or on the card. The applicant and his or her qualifying family members are not required to pay a fee with the initial request(s) for employment authorization. To obtain an EAD, the applicant must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to the appropriate USCIS Service Center.

A recommended approval does not entitle the applicant's spouse or children outside the United States, if any, to receive derivative asylum status or to be admitted to the United States. If the applicant receives a final approval of asylum, the applicant will be entitled to request derivative asylum for his or her spouse and any unmarried child(ren) under 21 years of age at the time the applicant filed Form I-730, Refugee and Asylee Relative Petition.

Note: As of August 25, 2020, USCIS is no longer issuing recommended approvals. 

Permission to Return

If the applicant and/or his or her qualifying family members plan to depart the United States and intend to return, the applicant and his or her dependents must each obtain permission to return to the United States before leaving this country. If the applicant leaves the United States without first obtaining advance parole, it may be presumed that the applicant has abandoned his or her request for asylum. The applicant may apply for advance parole by filing a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with the District Office having jurisdiction over the applicant's place of residence. If the applicant leaves the United States with advance parole and returns to the country of claimed persecution, the applicant will be presumed to have abandoned his or her asylum request, unless the applicant can show compelling reasons for the return.

Referral to an Immigration Court

The applicant's case will be referred to an Immigration Court when USCIS is unable to approve the application and the applicant is not in a valid status. A referral is not a denial of the applicant's asylum application. The applicant's asylum request will be considered (without additional refiling) when the applicant appears before an Immigration Judge at the date and time listed on the charging document the applicant will receive. The determinations that USCIS made in referring the applicant's application are not binding on the Immigration Judge, who will evaluate the applicant's claim anew. A referral includes the dependents included in the applicant's asylum application.

Notice of Intent to Deny

An applicant who is in a valid status and found ineligible for asylum will be mailed a Notice of Intent to Deny. The letter will state the reason(s) the applicant was found ineligible for asylum. The applicant will have 16 days to submit a rebuttal or new evidence. If the applicant fails to respond within this time, the applicant's request for asylum may be denied. If a timely rebuttal is sent, the Asylum Officer will carefully consider the rebuttal and then either approve or deny the claim.

Final Denial

An applicant who received a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) will be sent a Final Denial letter if the applicant failed to submit a rebuttal to the discussion in the NOID within 16 days, or the applicant submitted a rebuttal but the evidence or argument offered failed to overcome the grounds for denial as stated in the NOID. The applicant cannot appeal the Asylum Officer's decision. The denial includes any dependents included in the applicant's asylum application. Any employment authorization issued to the applicant as a result of having a pending application for asylum will expire 60 days from the date of the Final Denial letter or on the expiration date of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), whichever period is longer.

Seeking Asylum? Don't Go it Alone: Call an Immigration Attorney

Are you or someone you love struggling with immigration and asylum law issues? If you are, whether you're just starting the legal asylum process or are near completion, you should have a strong legal advocate on your side to help with your case and provide guidance where needed. An experienced immigration attorney will be able to help you navigate any legal hurdles.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

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Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you with asylum-related issues.

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