What You Need to Know About Families, Working and More With U.S. Asylum - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

When you apply for asylum in the U.S., it’s up to a U.S. immigration official to decide whether you qualify. U.S. asylum law doesn’t explicitly define persecution, so every case is different – and you may benefit from talking to an asylum lawyer about your options if you’re thinking about coming to the U.S. to ask for protection.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about families, working and other issues when you petition the U.S. government for asylum.

Can Your Family Get Asylum if You Do?

It’s important that you know every case is different, and just because you are granted asylum, that doesn’t mean your family will qualify, as well. You must ask the U.S. government to include your spouse and children in its asylum decision, but you can only do that if your children are under 21 and unmarried. If one of your children turns 21 after you’ve filed a petition for asylum but before the government has made a decision, it’s okay – he or she still falls under yours.

If your children are married, or if they’re single and over the age of 21 when you file your application, they have to file their own asylum applications. Your spouse does not.

Can You Work if You Get Asylum in the U.S.?

When the U.S. government decides that you qualify for asylum and grants your request, you can start working immediately – you don’t have to apply for any special employment authorization documents (although you can if you want to).

But before the government makes its decision, you can’t work unless you have been granted employment authorization. Here’s the catch on that, though: You can’t ask for employment authorization when you apply for asylum. You can only apply if you have already filed your asylum petition and 150 days have passed without the government making a decision in your case.

What Can Prevent You From Getting Asylum?

Some things can prevent you from being eligible for asylum in the U.S., including you:

  • Being a danger to U.S. safety and security
  • Being resettled successfully in another country (not your home country) before you came to the U.S.
  • Having a previous asylum application denied by an immigration court
  • Having a serious criminal conviction in your past
  • Having ordered, incited, helped or participated in the persecution of other people based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group – the same reasons you’re using to ask for asylum in the U.S.

Some things are eligible for waivers, though, so it’s important to talk to an attorney if you think you might qualify for asylum or another immigration status.

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Lawyer?

If you’re considering coming to the United States, whether you need to come here to be safe or you’d like to immigrate for other reasons, you could benefit from talking to an immigration attorney in Milwaukee.

Call us at 414-383-6700 right now to set up a consultation with an immigration lawyer – we’ll answer your questions and give you the legal advice you need.

Carlos Gamino