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Asylum Decisions
Types of Asylum Decisions

Asylum applicants will receive one of the following decisions upon adjudication of their case:

  • Grant of Asylum
  • Recommended Approval
  • Referral to an Immigration Court
  • Notice of Intent to Deny
  • Final Denial
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 pursuant to § 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The applicant will receive a letter and completed Form I-94, Arrival Departure Record, indicating that the applicant has been granted asylum status in the United States. The grant of asylum includes the asylee’s spouse and children who derive asylum status, provided they were present in the U.S., were included in the applicant’s asylum application, and the applicant established a qualifying relationship to them by a preponderance of 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. A grant of asylum status may be terminated if the applicant no longer has a well-founded fear of persecution because of a fundamental change in circumstances, has obtained protection from another country, obtained the original asylum grant through fraud, or has committed certain crimes or engaged in other activity that makes the applicant ineligible to retain asylum status in the United States. For more information, see INA § 208(c)(2).

A grant of asylum entitles an individual to apply for certain benefits, including employment authorization, a social security card, petitioning for family members and adjustment of status. Information on obtaining these benefits is available by clicking on “Benefits and Responsibilities of Asylees” on the right under Related Links.

Recommended Approval

The asylum officer issues a recommended approval of asylum in limited circumstances when he or she determines that the applicant is eligible for asylum, but USCIS has not received the results of required security checks. The decision to change a recommended approval to an asylum grant is contingent on a favorable result from identity and security checks. Applicants who receive a recommended approval may apply for an Employment Authorization Document on the basis of the pendency of the asylum application, but not for other benefits.

A recommended approval is valid for the period of time necessary to obtain the required clearances. The recommended approval includes the applicant’s spouse and children 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 derivatives who were included in the asylum decision are eligible to apply for work authorization with a recommended approval letter pursuant to 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(8)(ii). To work in the U.S., the applicant and each qualifying family member must apply for and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). For information on applying for an EAD, click on “How Do I Show My Employer That I Am Authorized to Work in the United States?” under Related Links, or see Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

A recommended approval does not entitle the applicant’s spouse or children who are outside the United States 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 status for these dependents using Form I-730, Refugee and Asylee Relative Petition. For those already granted asylum status, get more information on how to get derivative asylum status for spouses or children by clicking on “Securing Immigration Benefits for Spouses and Children of Asylees” under Related Links.

If the applicant and/or his or her derivatives plan to depart the United States and intend to return, the applicant and his or her derivatives must each obtain permission to return to the United States in advance of their departure. This is called “advance parole .” 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, and the applicant may not be readmitted to the United States. The applicant may apply for advance parole by filing a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with the USCIS field office having jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence. If the applicant returns to the country of claimed persecution, even after receiving advance parole, the applicant will be presumed to have abandoned his or her request for asylum, unless the applicant can show compelling reasons for his or her return to that country. See the Fact Sheet, “Traveling Outside the United States as an Asylum Applicant, an Asylee, or a Lawful Permanent Resident Who Obtained Such Status Based on Asylum Status”, under Related Links for more information.

Referral to an Immigration Court

The applicant’s case will be referred to Immigration Court when USCIS is unable to approve the asylum application and the applicant does not have valid legal status in the United States. A referral is not a denial of the applicant’s asylum application. The applicant’s asylum request will be considered when the applicant appears before an Immigration Judge at the date and time listed on the charging document the applicant will receive. The applicant does not have to re-file his or her asylum application. The determinations that USCIS made in examining the application are not binding on the Immigration Judge, who will evaluate the applicant’s claim independently. A referral to the Immigration Judge includes any dependents included with the applicant’s asylum application who are also not in legal status. If referred, applicants will receive a letter noting the finding of ineligibility and a Notice to Appear at the Immigration Court with jurisdiction over the applicant’s case.

Notice of Intent to Deny

An applicant who has valid legal status in the United States but who is found ineligible for asylum will receive a Notice of Intent to Deny. The notice will state the reason(s) the applicant was found ineligible for asylum. The applicant will have 16 days to respond by submitting a rebuttal or new evidence to address the reasons for ineligibility stated in the notice. If the applicant fails to respond within this time period, the applicant’s request for asylum may be denied. If a timely response is received, the Asylum Officer will carefully consider the rebuttal or new evidence, and then make a final decision to 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 or new evidence within 16 days, or if the applicant submitted a rebuttal or new evidence but the new information 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. The applicant may not reapply for asylum in the United States without demonstrating changed circumstances that affect that applicant’s eligibility for asylum.