What Asylum Status Entails for Families

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How Asylum Status Benefits Asylees and Their Families

Asylum status is the immigration status assigned to foreign nationals who have come to the U.S. seeking refuge from persecution in their home country due to their race, religion, political inclinations, and other factors. 

Those granted asylum status (called asylees) enjoy several benefits, including the right to work in the U.S. with or without obtaining an employment authorization document. 

However, despite the many benefits offered, asylum status is often difficult to handle because those in that position may have had to leave their family or loved ones behind as they fled. Since returning to their home country is typically not an option, that would mean that they would be separated from their family for long periods.

Thankfully, U.S. immigration law allows individuals with asylum status to reunite with their families on U.S. soil. The reunification process begins when the asylee involved files a petition to that effect with the USCIS. If the petition is granted and other requirements are met, their family members would be assigned derivative asylum status and would be able to enter the U.S. as asylees.

The derivative asylum process could be complex. If you’re an asylee seeking that benefit on behalf of your loved ones, it is important that you understand what the process entails for you and your family before you begin.

At Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, we know that this knowledge is crucial and could mean the difference between success and failure. That is why we have brought you this guide, which summarizes the derivative asylum status application process and provides other relevant details to keep you informed and help you as you prepare to begin the process.

Please keep reading to learn more, and do not hesitate to contact us for further clarification.

Benefits of Gaining Asylum Status

Asylum status allows you to be admitted into the U.S. without fear of deportation.

As an asylee, you will be eligible for Social Security income, food stamps, Medicaid, and other social services. However, some of these benefits are time-limited, which means they are only available for a specific period.

In addition, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence after one year of being an asylee and eventually citizenship, all things being equal.

How Your Asylum Status Benefits Your Family

If you’ve been granted asylee status on your own merit, you may petition for your immediate family members to obtain derivative asylum status in the U.S.

Those eligible for this benefit are:

  • Your spouse, and

  • Your unmarried children under 21 years old.

Unmarried children over 21 may also benefit from a parent’s asylum status in certain exceptional circumstances. An immigration lawyer can explain those circumstances if you wish to learn more.

Other family members do not qualify for derivative asylum. However, you may be able to help them immigrate to the U.S. when you become a lawful permanent resident or citizen.

Derivative Asylum Status: Eligibility Criteria

You can help your loved ones qualify for asylum if you were granted asylum status within the last two (2) years and the following criteria are met:

  • You were directly granted asylee status. Your asylum status must not have been derived through a relative.

  • You’ve remained in asylee status or have attained lawful permanent residence and received a green card.

  • If you’re filing for your spouse, you must have been legally married before receiving asylum status. To establish the family relationship, you’ll be required to present your marriage certificate.

  • If you’re applying for a child, the child must have been conceived or born before you received asylum status.

How To Apply for Derivative Asylum Status

The steps in the derivative asylum application process are summarized as follows:

  • Complete and sign Form I-730 – Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition

  • Collect evidence or documents that prove the information you filled out in the form. Such documents could include:

    • proof of your asylee status

    • passport photographs for each family member you’re applying for

    • evidence of your family relationships, such as your marriage certificate, your children’s birth certificates, or adoption documents

  • Send the completed form and supporting documents by mail to the USCIS Texas Service Center in Irving, Texas.

What Happens After Filing?

Once you file the petition properly, the immigration authorities will begin processing. Your beneficiary relative(s) may be required to provide biometrics for background check purposes. They may also be required to attend an interview. If any of these are required, they will be notified accordingly.

Attendance of the biometrics appointment or interview is crucial. Failing to attend either without sufficient reason could lead to the petition being dismissed.

If your loved one has difficulty communicating in English, they would need to attend the interview with an interpreter; otherwise, the petition may be dismissed.

If the petition is approved after review, your loved one will become a derivative asylee. However, if they are outside the U.S., they would need to apply for and obtain a visa allowing them to travel to the U.S. to be admitted as asylees.

The entire process for derivative asylum status can take months and even years, depending on the immigration backlog and the strength of the application. But with help from an attorney, you can ensure that your petition is not delayed any more than usual.

Contact Experienced Asylum Lawyers at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law for Help

In seeking a haven for yourself and your loved ones in the U.S., do not be tempted to enter the country through unlawful means. Going through the legal route and obtaining asylum status can help you get the refuge you seek and ensure the future of your loved ones in the U.S.

If you’re seeking more information about the asylum process or you’d like to begin the process on behalf of your family members, we are here to help.

At Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, we believe that every family, especially children, deserves to live in a peaceful and humane world where their rights and status are respected and advocated. That’s why we are committed to reuniting families who have been separated due to unfavorable circumstances on U.S. soil.

We can help you navigate the (derivative) asylum application process with ease and work to ensure that you and your loved ones achieve the desired outcome.

Contact us today to speak with a seasoned asylum lawyer. Let’s discuss your immigration needs and work toward a way forward together.