Affirmative Asylum

Will I Be Required to Undergo Any Other Criminal or Security Checks?

Yes. Every individual who applies for asylum will be subject to a series of background/security checks. You will not have to complete any additional steps to complete your background/security check once you have submitted your Form I-589 and have had your fingerprints taken. Depending on the results of these mandatory checks, you may not be eligible for a final grant of asylum. Your application may be referred to immigration court for removal proceedings.

The background/security check consists of the following:

  • USCIS may send a copy of your Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, to the U.S. Department of State.
  • USCIS sends your biographical information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • USCIS checks your biographical information against law enforcement databases.
  • USCIS schedules you, if you are between 12 years and 9 months of age and 79 years of age, for fingerprinting at an Application Support Center or Designated Law Enforcement Agency. The fingerprints are sent to the FBI to conduct background/security checks and enrolled in the DHS Office of Biometric Identity Management’s (OBIM) Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT). The asylum offices uses OBIM to verify the identity of the applicant at the time of the interview.

When Will I Need to Be Fingerprinted?

Applicants 12 years and 9 months of age and older receive a notice to go to an Application Support Center or authorized Designated Law Enforcement Agency to have their fingerprints taken. After the USCIS Service Center receives your completed Form I-589, you will be sent a notice to go to an Application Support Center or authorized Designated Law Enforcement Agency to have your fingerprints taken. You are exempt from the fingerprint or biometric fee. The fingerprints will be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a background/security check. The FBI will send those results to USCIS.  Additional information about the fingerprinting process can be found on the Fingerprints webpage below, or by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.

Do not submit a completed fingerprint card (FD-258) or fingerprint fee with your application. Your application will be accepted without the fingerprint card attached. If you submit a completed fingerprint card with your application on or after March 29, 1998, the card will be rejected and you will be re-fingerprinted by USCIS.

If you are asking for derivative asylum status for your spouse and children, they will also need to be fingerprinted if they are between 12 years and 9 months of age and 79 years of age.  Additional information about the fingerprinting process can be found on the Fingerprints webpage below, or by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.

What is a Final Denial?

You will receive a Final Denial of your asylum claim if you received a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) and either did not provide a response to the letter within 16 days, or the asylum officer determined that the evidence or argument you provided failed to overcome the grounds for denial as stated in the NOID.

What Will Be My Status After I Am Granted Asylum?

You will have asylee status. You will receive an I-94 Arrival and Departure record documenting that you are able to remain indefinitely in the United States as an asylee. You will be authorized to work in the United States for as long as you remain in asylee status. You may obtain a photo-identity document from USCIS evidencing your employment authorization by applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You will also be able to request derivative asylum status for any spouse or child (unmarried and under 21 years of age as of the date you filed the asylum application, as long as your asylum application was pending on or after Aug. 6, 2002) who was not included as a dependent in your asylum decision and with whom you have a qualifying relationship. This means that you will be able to petition to bring your spouse and/or children to the United States or allow them to remain in the United States indefinitely incident to your asylee status.

To What Benefits May I Be Entitled After I Am Granted Asylum?

Asylees are eligible to apply for certain benefits, including an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), an unrestricted Social Security card, cash and medical assistance, employment assistance, and a Refugee Travel Document. For more information on the benefits and responsibilities associated with asylee status, see see the Asylum webpage

Where Can I Find Further Information if My Asylum Claim is Referred to Immigration Court?

The Immigration Courts are located within the Executive Office for Immigration Review at the U.S. Department of Justice. Information about the Immigration Courts can be found at www.usdoj.gov/eoir or you can call their electronic information system at 1-800-898-7180. You will need your A-Number to get information on your case. This telephonic information system can give you information about your next hearing date, time and location; elapsed time and status of the clock for asylum cases; immigration judge decision information; case appeal information, including appeal due date, brief due date, date forwarded to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and BIA decision and decision date. If the immigration judge denies your asylum application, you will receive a notice telling you how to appeal the decision.

Generally, you may appeal within 30 days of receiving the denial. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Washington, D.C. For more information, see the Executive Office for Immigration Review website

What is a Notice of Intent to Deny?

You will receive a Notice of Intent to Deny if you are currently in valid status and found ineligible for asylum. You will have 16 days to provide a response to the letter. The asylum officer will then either approve or deny the claim.

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