How Can I obtain Asylum Benefits for My Spouse and Children?

Do I have to include my spouse and children on my Asylum application?

You may or may not include your spouse and children on your asylum application. However, you must list them irrespective of their age, marital status, and whether they are in or out of the United States. You must list them even if they are filing a separate asylum application.

Who can I include on my Asylum application?

  • Spouse and/or
  • Children under the age of 21 and unmarried.

Both should have been in the United States at the time of filing.

Will my Spouse and Children also be granted Asylum, if my application is approved?

Yes, if you are granted asylum, your Spouse and Children (unmarried and under 21 years of age)–who must be in the United State–will also be granted asylum status and will be allowed to remain in the country. Their status depends directly on your asylum status.

My Spouse and Children are not with me in the United States. How do I bring them here on Asylum?

Once you are granted asylum, you may petition to bring your spouse and/or children (unmarried and under the age of 21 as of the date you filed the asylum application, as long as your asylum application was pending on or after August 6, 2002) to the United States.

What happens to my Spouse and Children, if my Asylum application is denied?

If your Asylum application is denied, your Spouse and Children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) along with you may be referred to the Immigration Court, and be put under removal proceedings.

I have children who are married and/or 21 years or older. How do they file for Asylum?

Children who are married and/or children who are 21 years of age or older at the time you file your asylum application must file separately for asylum by submitting their own asylum applications.

Can I work in the United States after applying for Asylum?

  • You cannot apply for permission to work or employment authorization in the United States at the same time you apply for asylum.
  • You may apply for employment authorization if:

    1. No decision has been made on your application; AND
    2. 150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays caused by you (such as a request to reschedule your interview).
  • Once you are granted asylum you may work immediately.
  • As an asylee, it is optional to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”), but it is not necessary to begin work in the United States. However, an EAD can be used for identification and is convenient proof that you are authorized to work in the United States.


What is Asylum?

Asylum is a form of protection granted to individuals in the United States who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of their:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

Asylum – Key Facts

  • You must apply for asylum within one (1) year of your last arrival in the United States. If you miss the 1 year deadline, you may be still be eligible to file asylum in these two conditions:

    • If you can show extraordinary circumstances that led to your failure to file within that time; OR
    • If there are changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum. These may include certain changes in the conditions in your country, certain changes in your own circumstances, and certain other events.
  • Individuals who meet this definition of a refugee and who are already in the United States or who are seeking entry into the United States at a port of entry may qualify for a grant of asylum and be permitted to remain in the United States as long as they are not barred from either applying for or being granted asylum.
  • Individuals who are granted asylum are eligible to apply to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident.
  • There are no quotas on the number of individuals who may be granted asylum each year.
  • Asylum-seekers may apply for asylum in the United States regardless of their countries of origin and regardless of their current immigration status.