Asylum Case Delayed Forever? Here Are Some Possible Reasons

by Jason Dzubow on October 20, 2015

These days, all asylum applicants face long waits prior to their interviews. After the interview, some applicants receive a decision in two weeks; others wait months; still others—thankfully, a minority—wait for years without a decision.

A helpful diagram of the U.S. asylum system.

A helpful diagram of the U.S. asylum system.

Why does it sometimes take so long to get a decision? Our dogged reporters at the Asylumist have come into possession of an internal Asylum Office document that sheds light on this question (ok, in truth, the document is publicly available, but it’s not so easy to find). The document is the Quality Assurance Referral Sheet, which lists the categories of cases that must be submitted to headquarters (“HQ”) for further review.

Cases submitted to HQ often face substantial delays. So if your case falls into one of the below categories, you can expect a longer wait for your decision. How long? I have no idea. Some of our cases that go to HQ receive decisions relatively quickly. Others languish for months; sometimes years. There seems to be no way to predict how long such cases might take.

Without further ado, here are the asylum-seeker categories that hopefully you don’t fall into:

Diplomats and Other High Level Officials: Any decision—grant, referral to court or a notice of intent to deny—in the case of a sitting diplomat to the U.S. or United Nations, other high-level government or military officials, high ranking diplomats to other countries, and family members of such people must have their cases reviewed by headquarters. The same is true for any asylum applicant who fraudulently obtained a diplomatic visa.

National Security/Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility Grounds (“TRIG”): Any decision in a case that would be granted but for a TRIG bar, regardless of whether an exemption to the bar is available, must go to HQ. The TRIG bar is quite broad and many people are potentially affected. This includes people who worked for or supported terrorist organizations (or more accurately, organizations that the U.S. government views as terrorists), and even includes people who “supported” terrorists under duress. An example might be someone who paid money as ransom or who was forced on pain of death to provide services to terrorists. TRIG is particularly tricky because some cases (recent numbers are not available, but last year’s numbers are here) are placed on indefinite hold, meaning the applicant will never receive a decision, at least not until the government gets around to enacting new regulations on the subject. If you think your case might be subject to a TRIG hold, you can email USCIS (the email address is here, at the bottom of the page). In my limited experience (two cases), USCIS has been responsive and has informed me whether my cases were being held due to terrorism-related grounds (they were not).

Other National Security: In order to grant a case involving national security concerns, where the concern was not resolved through vetting, the case must go to HQ. Aside from terrorism, national security concerns can include a wide range of activities, including suspected gang membership or involvement in other criminal activities.

Persecutor-related issues: Asylum grants are referred to HQ where the evidence indicates that the applicant may have ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated in acts of persecution or human rights violations, and the individual has demonstrated that he should not be barred as a persecutor. Also, before a credible applicant is referred to Immigration Court or issued a Notice of Intent to Deny letter based on the persecutor bar, the case must be reviewed by HQ. You might fall into this category if you served in the police or military of your country, if you were a prison guard or you interrogated prisoners, and if your government has a record of abusing human rights.

Publicized or Likely to be Publicized: High-profile cases that have had or are likely to have national exposure, not just local interest, are subject to HQ review. If your case is getting media attention, or if it could affect relations with your home country, the case will likely be sent to HQ before any decision (good or bad) is issued.

Firm Resettlement: If a person is “firmly resettled” in a third country—meaning, she has the ability to live permanent in a country that is not the U.S. and is not her home country—she is ineligible for asylum. Where the asylum office would have granted the case but for firm resettlement, the case is sent to HQ for review.

Juvenile: Where the asylum applicant is less than 18 years old at the time of filing, the case will be referred to headquarter if the Asylum Office intends to deny.

EOIR- Prior Denials: Where an applicant was previously denied asylum by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (the Immigration Judge and/or the Board of Immigration Appeals), the case must be reviewed by HQ before it can be granted.

Discretionary Denials/Referrals: If the Asylum Office intends to deny a case or refer it to the Immigration Court based solely on “discretion,” the case must be reviewed by HQ. This means that the asylum applicant met the definition of a refugee and is otherwise eligible for asylum, but is being denied or referred due to reasons that are not legal bars to asylum. A discretionary denial might be for a crime that does not bar asylum, like DUI or failure to pay child support, or for some other lack of good moral character.

National of Contiguous Territory/Visa Waiver Country/Safe Third Country: Where the Asylum Office intends to grant the case of an applicant from a contiguous territory (Canada or Mexico) and the case involves a novel legal issues or criminal activity by the applicant in the U.S. or abroad, the case must be referred to HQ. Also, cases of applicants from countries in the Visa Waiver Program must be referred to HQ before they are granted. In addition, grants of applicants who are nationals of countries with which the U.S. has a Safe Third Country agreement must be referred to HQ (the only country with which we currently have such an agreement is Canada).

Safe-Third Country Agreement: All cases in which evidence indicates the STC agreement may apply, irrespective of whether the applicant is eligible for an exception, must be referred to HQ. This means that anyone (regardless of country of origin) who was first in Canada (the only country with which we have a STC agreement) and then came to the United States for asylum, must have her case reviewed by HQ.

Asylum Office Request for HQ Quality Assurance Review: Any case for which the Asylum Office Director requests review from headquarters will be reviewed.

As you can see, there are many reasons why a person’s case might be referred to headquarters for more review (and more delay). It would be helpful if the Asylum Office could publish some data about HQ review—perhaps how long each category of review takes and how many cases are currently under review. I understand why HQ cannot easily predict how long the review will take for an individual case, but if more information were made public, it would help ease the wait for asylum applicants.

{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

Mohamed S Omer November 12, 2017 at 6:45 am

Hi Jason,

Thank you for this information and your help. I did the interview at Oct/20/2013, I supposed to pick the decision 2 weeks later, after that I received a call from the officer that he needs more time to review and since then it has been pending up till now. Do you think I should file for a mandamus lawsuit??

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Jason Dzubow November 12, 2017 at 11:50 am

You can file a mandamus, but before you do that, you should contact the local asylum office and inquire about the case. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. If that does not work, try the USCIS Ombudsman (a link is at right), and if that does not work, then try the mandamus. Take care, Jason

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Mohamed S Omer November 12, 2017 at 1:55 pm

4 years of pain, I have tried everything, the leaders of USCIS and Homeland security are missed up and they do not know what they are doing or what to do once they face a crisis like the influx of refugee thru central America, even if I am threat, I have been here for 4 years, what they are trying to figure out. USCIS should be led by immigrants occupied by knowledge of the law, not just some law people how does not know what it dose feel.

Thank you Jason

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Grace ESHUN October 25, 2017 at 1:27 am

Hello Jason. It’s been 5 years me waiting for a decision for the asylum application I made for me and children. We did the interview , told that they will contact me but there has been no communication. I never moved. Please help

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Jason Dzubow October 25, 2017 at 6:38 am

First, you should contact them and ask about the case. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Also, you can inquire with the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. Finally, if those things do not help, you can talk to a lawyer about filing a mandamus lawsuit to force them to make a decision. Good luck, Jason

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sam October 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Hi Jason: I’d like to thank you for your help and information.I had my interview since July and every time I visited the Asylum office they told me there is no information in the system.I sent many emails to check the status of my case but I haven’t receive any reply. However,I visited the office on Friday and talked to the supervisor (after waiting for more than 1 hour because they were searching for my file),she told me pending for a security checks which I doubt.However,I left the office.After 1.5 hour,I received a reply to my email that I sent on August.Here is the reply: ”Your case is pending final review prior to a decision being rendered and served to you by mail.
We are unable to estimate how long the review might take, but we have forwarded your email so that your asylum officer is aware of your inquiry.”
So I am wondering what does it mean a FINAL REVIEW? Does it mean that the security checks are clear and the supervisor is reviewing the officer decision,or they send it to the HQ or the officer need to review the case for the last time and send it to the supervisor? One more thing,why they mentioned that they inform the asylum officer with my inquiry?! If it is a security check matter,the asylum officer has nothing to do with it right? So please let me know what do you think about what happen and about the email that I received.Thanks.

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Jason Dzubow October 1, 2017 at 10:27 pm

Everyone undergoes a security check and so that may be the reason for the delay – that is pretty common. It could also be something else; whatever they may tell you is often not so useful. There is little you can do to get them to make a decision faster. You can inquire once in a while, but that does not do much to get a faster decision, at least in my experience, and I think it is not helpful to try to interpret their statements, as that often leads no where. I think you are not there yet, but if the wait gets too long, and your inquires do not help, you can try the USCIS Ombudsman, and if that doers not help, you can file a mandamus lawsuit. But again, your length of delay is not that unusual. Hopefully, you will get a decision soon. Take care, Jason

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Stone mike October 1, 2017 at 10:34 pm

I’m in a similar situation. I applied way back in 2015, and I have not yet received my interview notice yet. Thank fully, I renewed my EAD, and I was given 2 years extention before it expires. Hopefully I get my interview notice a year (or sooner) from now. Is it common to wait for an interview notice for almost 3 years or should I contact them and find out the reason behind it?

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Stone mike October 1, 2017 at 10:38 pm

I meant 180 days extention a month early before my card expired.Then I finally got a 2 years EAD permit.

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Jason Dzubow October 2, 2017 at 6:26 am

It is common – you can see wait times if you check the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin – a link is at right. Take care, Jason

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Maria September 25, 2017 at 10:22 pm

I applied for asylum and I have the interview on about July 16, then I should received the decision in 2 weeks, but I got a phone call one day before to pick up the decision that officer can’t take a decision he needs more documents, my lawyer and also myself send the information but not answer since September 3, when officer ask again for documents, and we resent again, I am concerning because my EAD renew is stop for the officer and my grace period of 180 expire next month.

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Jason Dzubow September 27, 2017 at 6:10 am

The request for evidence should not affect the EAD renewal, so hopefully you will get that. It is pretty normal to see this type of delay. If it gets too long, you can contact the asylum office to inquire about your case. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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mike July 26, 2017 at 8:50 pm

Hi Jason, I applied for asylum in June 2015, n I have not yet been called for an interview. I am especially worried because I have moved form the residence I had put on my I-589 from although I am still able to get mail being that my uncle still lives their and they are pretty reliable; yet I am still a bit paranoid they might over look my interview notice mail. so my question is: is there a way I can check if USCIS has already sent me an interview notice, and if so what can I do about it if I haven’t received it due to…….Also I mentioned I moved and I know I am suppose to notify USCIS of my change of address with in 10 days ..but in my case its temporary…I had consulted my lawyer about It n he advised me only to notify if am I moving permanently because it would only cause my case to even be delayed for a longer time since a different service center is going to review my case again. The reason I moved is because I got accepted to a university at a different state: also I’m working there as well…..will the fact I didn’t notify them and work in a different state< (even though its temporary} affect my case on my interview? I read most of the comments and I truly want to thank you for taking your time to give us advice and in turn get such a huge load of our backs.

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Jason Dzubow July 27, 2017 at 6:30 am

You are supposed to update your address with the asylum office if you move. You can do that using form AR-11, available at http://www.usics.gov. In your case, I suppose you can argue that the move is “temporary” since it is for school, but since you seem concerned about whether you will get the notice, you might want to update your address anyway. If this results in a new asylum office hearing your case, that should not cause much delay (and might even be faster depending on the asylum office – check the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin; a link is at right), but it might affect whether your lawyer can attend the interview or how much that will cost. You can email the asylum office to ask about the interview if you are worried about that. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Mike July 27, 2017 at 11:56 am

Thank you so much for replying. I will email them. Also dispite my doubt I recently received my EAD renewal hence I assume they wouldn’t of issued me one unless I have not yet missed my interview notice. I’m also going to call USCIS. Also I had an important question, I haven’t submitted my statement yet. I only submitted my I-589 form. Mainly becausita not a simple essay to write being that it’s very personal, and on top of it it’s very hard to remember things you have blocked from your mind. Anyways I was wondering the fact I have not submitted my statement would affect my case and also how many days early before my
interview am I expected to submit it? Again I want to thank you. You work is very appreciated

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Jason Dzubow July 28, 2017 at 6:09 am

You can submit the statement separately. In our local office (Virginia), you have to submit documents at least one week before the interview. Different office may have different rules, and you need to ask your local office. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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yaser July 19, 2017 at 1:31 am

hi i made the interview for asylum 3 months ago and i check with asylum office by email 3 times and they replay to me for first time is my case under routine review and they will make decision and second time they replay to me still under review
and now third time when i check they replay to me by email said
my case currently under further review and we will make decision as soon as possible so plz can tel me what is that mean in all them replay from first time to last and thanks too much

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Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 6:31 am

I think you cannot get much information from the different wordings. They have not reached a decision yet, and so you have to keep waiting. It is very common for cases to be delayed after the interview, especially for men from Muslim countries, but sometimes for other people as well. I would not contact them more than once a month, as it does not make things any faster. Hopefully, you will get a good decision soon. Take care, Jason

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Kefah July 12, 2017 at 9:24 pm

I was interviewed in jan 2016 and I am waiting for the decsion till now. I mailed the office in Anahiem twice but no answere. Can l go to the office in person without an appointment if not how can l schedule the appiontment with them? I like to meet the officer who interviwed me ,but l dont know her name I have only her signure on the receipt. With my best regards.

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Jason Dzubow July 13, 2017 at 6:24 am

I think Anaheim is a sub-office, so I do not know if you can go in person. Maybe you can go to the main office and ask there. You should email them first to ask about an appointment or visiting hours, or if it is possible to go to the sub-office. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Usually, there is no way to talk to the officer directly, only the support staff. Take care, Jason

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Tokichaw July 4, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Dear Jason,
Greeting and thank you for your unreserved help. Just I have the following questions for your clarification. After 15 months of delay ,I expedited my case at the end of Jan /2017 and approved in early February 2017 and interviewed on April 26/2017. As per my attorney and my judgment the interview went well . At the end of my interview, The Asylum Officer told me that will be on vacation for 2 weeks , She will not work on my case immediately. So, indicated me no need for me to come and pick the decision will be mailed after a vacation return . Then I signed a letter that indicate the following explanation. However, I could not get the decision up to know, I emailed them 3 times the response was the following; your case is pending in our office for final decision and we will email you as soon as we reached final decision? What is this imply or what that mean? how long will take to get the decision and what do you suggest to expedite my decision?
Best regards;

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Jason Dzubow July 4, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Delays after the interview can be short or long (years long), and it is very unpredictable. If you email them every few months, that should be fine. You can also inquire with the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. If you do not get a decision, you might also consider a mandamus lawsuit (but probably it is too soon for that). You can ask your lawyer about that. Take care, Jason

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Tokichaw July 5, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Thank you for usual swift reply.

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Bob June 29, 2017 at 1:09 am

hi Jason, I arrived in 2007 on F1 visa and filed the asylum on late 2012. did the fingerprint on Feb 2013 and my f1 visa was terminated on April 2013. I stooped going to school for 1 year and then i was readmitted on 2014 as a residence. on 2016 i was graduated. Had my interview on May 2017 and was told to pick up the decision in 2 weeks. Then received the mail that they need my all I20s and i should wait for the decision to be mailed to me. Sent them the needed documents and was hoping to receive the decision but no news yet. Do you think is there any bars applying to my case? any comment would be highly appricated. Thanks for help

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Jason Dzubow July 3, 2017 at 10:17 pm

It sounds like you were in lawful F-1 status from 2007 until you filed for asylum in 2012. This would mean that the one-year asylum filing bar should not apply (well, it does apply, but you meet an exception to that rule and you should be eligible for asylum). Maybe there is something else, but it sounds to me like this is the issue they are double checking. Anyway, you can contact them and ask for a status update. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Artur June 20, 2017 at 8:45 am

Hi jason
I filled my application in January 2014, I didn’t get the interview yet, when my attorney asked them they said it’s under review , what does it mean ?.
The other point is my previous attorney had a problem and I changed him could the delay because of previous attorney problem, i am worried because on uscis scheduale I should be interviewed in February or January of 2017.

Thank you very much

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Jason Dzubow June 20, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Changing lawyer should not have any affect (as long as the new lawyer entered his or her appearance as your lawyer). I do not know what it means to be under review when you have not yet been interview. I would contact them again and ask whether you will be interviewed. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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andrew April 27, 2017 at 7:51 pm

Hi Jason,

I have a question about post-interview delays in cases with persecutor issues. I have never served in the military or worked for police or any other enforcement agencies. My father, however, has served in the military in my home country. Do you think this could cause a delay in the USCIS’ decision on my case? Did you have any experience with similar situations?

Regards

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Jason Dzubow April 30, 2017 at 7:16 am

We have not seen a case where a parent’s military service has caused delays, but it may depend on the facts of the case – if somehow you are involved in his military service, maybe that could cause an effect. In general, military service is not an indication of being a persecutor, but it depends on the country, the military, and of course, what the person did. Take care, Jason

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Raouf April 25, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Hi,jason . I applied for asylum case in sep 2014.I had my interview in jan 2016.l am still waiting for the decision.l mailed the office in Anahiem before six months ago , they answered that my case is still pending and they will sent me the decision when they finialize the processing. They do’nt tell if my case is in the HQ or somewhere else. I have american grandchildren. Could that help me to granted my case? What l have to do to expedite my case? It is very difficult to wait for along time.
With my great regards.

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Jason Dzubow April 28, 2017 at 3:40 pm

At this stage of the process, it is probably not possible to expedite the case. You can contact the asylum office periodically to inquire, or go in person. You can also contact the USCIS Ombudsman (a link is at right). They can help with delayed cases sometimes. I do not think having US citizen grandchildren will have any effect on the case. Take care, Jason

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Shera April 22, 2017 at 1:54 am

Hello Jason,

I had my interview 1 year ago the asylum officer told me I will receive my decision by mail I am still waiting. I did two inquiries in both they said my case is under quality review in HQ office.

Is there any way to expedite the process in HQ office because my family is living in war zone and under threat.

If my case pending for decision in HQ office can I file a humanitarian parole for my family to bring them here. And how much will cost to do that.

Thanks

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Jason Dzubow April 25, 2017 at 8:17 am

You can get evidence of the danger and submit it to the asylum office and then ask them to expedite. I do not know if it will work, but it may be worth a try. As for humanitarian parole, it is typically not used for this purpose (normally it is for a medical emergency). I suppose you can try – you should look at the instructions to form I-131, available at http://www.uscis.gov. That has the procedure and the cost. I believe they need to try for a B visa first, and can only do HP if the B visa is denied, but you need to check that. Also, you could try moving them to a third country to wait, but of course, that is also very difficult, given the unknown waiting time. Good luck, Jason

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Molly April 18, 2017 at 2:57 am

Hi, Jason. I was interviewed on February 16 ,2017. I was required to turn in additional documents . I was told I will receive the decision in one month. But until now I have received nothing. Can I go asylum office to ask in person?
I worry I will harm my case once I go ask.
Ho do I do now?
Thanks
Molly

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Jason Dzubow April 18, 2017 at 5:53 pm

There is no harm in going to ask (as long as you don’t bug them too much). It is very common for the officers to tell you that you will get a decision in a month and then it takes much longer, so I would not worry too much about that. Nevertheless, you can go and ask, or you can email them and ask. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Molly April 19, 2017 at 2:34 am

Hi, Jason.
Thanks for your response in time. Can you analyze my case? It will be approved or denied?
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow April 19, 2017 at 6:14 am

I can, but probably not before May. You can contact me at Jdzubow@Dzubowlaw.com. Take care, Jason

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Molly April 21, 2017 at 2:50 am

Hi, Jason.
Thank you for your response in time. I have a question that i add my daughter whose status is information student into my asylum case when I was interviewed. She plans to go back to China during summer holiday. I am not sure she can re return USA. She has student visa. I am waiting for the decision so hurry. Could you tell me if she can rereturn to USA , once she goes back to china?
Thanks
Sincerely!
Molly

Freddy March 26, 2017 at 2:52 pm

I Jason , my wife did apply for the withholding removal asylum she got the receipt with the A# but it was written the application was pending. what does mean.
Thanks Jason

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Jason Dzubow March 27, 2017 at 10:47 am

I guess it means that the application is pending – this is normal. Take care, Jason

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Freddy March 26, 2017 at 2:51 pm

I Jason , my did apply for the withholding removal asylum she got the receipt with the A# but it was written the application was pending. what does mean.
Thanks Jason

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Jason Dzubow March 27, 2017 at 10:47 am

I do not understand – sorry, Jason

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asylum seeker February 22, 2017 at 8:22 pm

Hi Jason
what is the possible scenarios after filling lawsuit with Federal court for a case at HQ for review?however the case has the right to be expedited,a medical issues
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow February 23, 2017 at 7:45 am

There is no “right” to expedite a case; you can only ask for expedition. A lawsuit may cause them to go faster, but it could also cause them to deny the case if they are unable to complete the background check. You should talk to a lawyer about the specific situation before you try this. Take care, Jason

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amy January 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm

i have an EAD I applied as an asylum sept 2015 but I’m yet to get interview date. I intend to travel to marry my sweetheart soon outside the country . do you think its adviceable and how long do you think this will take

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Jason Dzubow January 19, 2017 at 7:30 am

You should not leave the US without Advance Parole (form I-131, available at http://www.uscis.gov). If you are married at the time of your interview, you will need to update your I-589 when you go to the interview, and also bring evidence of the marriage (marriage certificate, photos, etc.). If you are granted asylum, your spouse will be able to join you in the US. If you both plan to live here, it may be better for your spouse to come here before you are married, and then get married here and add your spouse to your case. It will be easier for your spouse to get a visa before you are married (if you are married, the embassy will not issue many types of visas to your spouse because they will believe the spouse is coming here to stay permanently, and many visas, such as the visitor visa and student visa are only for temporary visits). Take care, Jason

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African nation December 16, 2016 at 11:59 pm

I went individual hearing in January 2016, ij told me that ( I leave your case an open record within 30 days) and he’ll mail it to me the decision but I didn’t hear them until now.
I call immigration court number and it’s saying my case still pending (oh god)
can you tell please why they don’t make decision it’s almost a year since I was final hearing

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Jason Dzubow December 19, 2016 at 7:22 am

You need to contact the court directly – not the 1-800-898-7180 number – and talk to the IJ’s clerk. You can find the court’s phone number if you follow the link at right called Immigration Court. Take care, Jason

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African nation December 20, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Well they said that ( we have a lot of cases and we can’t do fast

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African nation December 20, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Do you think there is a delay and there is nothing wrong on my case, he told me everything is possible

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Jason Dzubow December 21, 2016 at 7:30 am

It is very difficult to know why a particular case is delayed, and many cases are delayed, so it does not necessarily mean that something is wrong with the case. Take care, Jason

javier November 27, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Hello i filed my asylum on September 2013 in miami office, i moved to texas on aug 2016 , after 3 years and 2 months exactly i was called for the interview, the interview was well, the officer was so nice and polite, i just answered about 2 question badly, but the interview was only 2 hours, she made me feel confortable all the time, she told me to pick up my decision 14 days later in person, 7 days after the interview i got called by uscis and they said they will mail the decision and i was going to receive it in 2 weeks after the call, its been a month already, and i havent recieved anything, i waited 3 years and 2 months for the interview, do i have to wait more time? i am tired of waiting.

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Jason Dzubow November 28, 2016 at 7:28 am

I do not blame you for being tired of waiting. Unfortunately, the situation you describe is very common. I wish the officers would tell people that decision are not often ready in 2 weeks, but usually they do not do this. I do not think they realize how harmful it is (I wrote a post about thus called “Some Unsolicited Advice for Asylum Officers,” I think). You may get the decision today or it may take many months. Unfortunately, there is no way to know, and you have to continue to be patient. Take care, Jason

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javier November 28, 2016 at 9:29 pm

what i dont understand is why they told me to. pick it up and then the mext week they said dont come we will mail to you, why that change of mind, waiting so long means a bad decision or something? i am really worried. i am from venezuela.

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Jason Dzubow November 28, 2016 at 11:32 pm

Usually, this happens because the security background check is not complete. It is common, and it really has nothing to do with your case or the outcome of the case. It is very unfortunate that the officers tell you to expect a decision in two weeks, and then you do not get it. It would be better if they gave you the full story, so at least your hopes were not built up and then dashed. But in short, it is common and is no cause for concern. But it could take some time before the decision comes, and you need to be patient. Take care, Jason

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MAZ June 4, 2017 at 1:24 am

Hi Javier,

Any update did you get your decision?

Thanks and regards

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Ali November 16, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Hi Jason,
I was interviewed at the Arlington Asylum office in May, 2014. No issues were raised during interview. I was told the decision will be mailed to me. It has been more than 2 and a half years and I haven’t received any decision. Today, when I went to the office in person, they told me that it is under quality assurance review. What does it mean and what should be my next move in order to expedite this whole process and get a decision. Please don’t say that sue the government as I have talked to my lawyer and that’s a very expensive thing which I can’t afford.
Thanks.

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Jason Dzubow November 16, 2016 at 5:50 pm

You can check with the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. Maybe they can help. There are many people (including many of my clients) who have been waiting as long as you, and it is basically not possible to expedite the post-interview process. Maybe if you have a health or family emergency, you can present evidence of that to the Asylum Office and that will help. We have tried many things for our clients, with very little effect. Good luck, Jason

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leader November 2, 2016 at 4:58 pm

HI Jason,
I got Recommended approval in July 2016, I applied with my wife and 4 children out of which two are above 14 years of age, today its been 102 days and we are still waiting for final approval. In present scenario, do you have any idea as to how many more days for it, just a guess?
I was living in LA and was interviewed there and got my recommended approval there and in September i moved to Houston, do you think that can be the reason of delay? My lawyer did file change of address in Oct but have not received any receipt etc so far.
Thanking you in anticipation
regards

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Jason Dzubow November 3, 2016 at 6:13 am

I do not think the move would have any effect on your case. The average wait time from recommended approval to final approval is 105 days. However, we have seen people get the decision in 2 weeks (just recently) and we have other people who waited years with no decision. In other words, I think there is no way to know. You can inquire with the Los Angeles Asylum Office (their contact info can be found if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator) and also with the USCIS Ombudsman (a link is at right) and maybe this will get you some more info. Take care, Jason

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Leader November 13, 2016 at 9:22 pm

Thank you very much Jason, i appreciate your efforts to keep people enlightened with your knowledge, whenever there is time to apply for green card, for sure you will be my lawyer, thanks again and
Regards

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leader November 13, 2016 at 11:25 pm

Do you think its a good idea to email my IO, since i have his uscis email address but my lawyer thinks its not a good idea? And my interview was in Louisiana so i dont think it will help me to call Los Angeles office, probably you thought its that La,
thanks and regards

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Jason Dzubow November 14, 2016 at 7:14 am

I generally discourage my clients from emailing the Asylum Officers directly. However, if you send a short, respectful email, including your alien number and the date of the interview, it is unlikely to do any harm. The problem comes when applicants and attorneys are not in agreement on strategy and do not know what the other is doing. In the end, it is your case and your decision, but I highly recommend you coordinate with your lawyer and at least tell the lawyer what you are doing (and cc the lawyer on the email). Take Care, Jason

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leader November 15, 2016 at 3:04 pm

so its better not to bring my bottoms in front of a flying arrow and wait for a week more at least ,

Thanks a lot Jason you are doing a true good job.

J.D. October 31, 2016 at 7:05 am

“EOIR- Prior Denials: Where an applicant was previously denied asylum by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (the Immigration Judge and/or the Board of Immigration Appeals), the case must be reviewed by HQ before it can be granted.”

I thought that if your asylum application is denied, you are banned from requesting asylum again, and can only receive protection under the Geneva Torture Convention?

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Jason Dzubow October 31, 2016 at 4:31 pm

You can re-apply for asylum, though the procedure is different than for an initial application. If you are in this situation, you should talk to a lawyer to make sure you can re-apply. Take care, Jason

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Shaiza October 14, 2016 at 5:26 am

Hey jason can u help me out with this issue! My mother has applied asylum in june 2013 and then she got no response related to interview call … She waited for a long time nd then in september 2016 she recieved her interview call and she gave it on 14th september 2016.. Asylum officer told her that she will recieve her decision via mail within two weeks after interview but it’s been a month and she has not recieved anything. How long will this process take? My mother has already waited alot.

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Jason Dzubow October 14, 2016 at 6:30 am

Unfortunately, the asylum offices often tell you this, and it often turns out to be false. It would be better if they did not make promises that they cannot keep. Anyway, it could come tomorrow, or it might take many months. There is no way to predict. She has to remain calm and patient and hopefully it will come soon. Given that you were told 2 weeks, you may want to contact the Asylum Office and ask them about the status – You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. However, your mother’s situation is very common, and so I doubt they will tell you anything useful, but I suppose there is no harm in asking. Take care, Jason

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Rs October 13, 2016 at 9:01 pm

Hi,
I filed for asylum on sep 2014. I’m from Nepal, and last year i also filed for TPS as i was qualified for it as well. But till the date i haven’t received an interview date, neither have i received response other than biometrics scan twice, once for asylum and another for TPS. I don’t know why it is taking so long. I’m worried if my TPS applicaion have affected my asylum case in any way. I went to the office twice within two yrs , each time they estimate i might be receiving date within 6 mths. Any suggestions plz?

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Jason Dzubow October 14, 2016 at 6:23 am

Asylum cases are very slow – you can check the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin about that (a link is at the right). As for TPS, you might try contacting the USCIS Ombudsman – there is a link at right for that too. They can assist with delayed cases, and it seems like your TPS case is very delayed. Whether this is related to your asylum case, I do not know, but I doubt it. Take care, Jason

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Shera October 13, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Hi Jason.

I would like to Send a email to USCIS to ask the reason why my case pending in HQ and to check TRIG inadmissibility with them. Can you briefly write their email in comment because I could not find it in link which you refer it.

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Jason Dzubow October 14, 2016 at 6:21 am

I do not have an email address for HQ, and I think there is no general email address there. There is a link at right called TRIG inadmissibility, and I think they post their email address at the bottom. I am not sure if they removed it, or if it still works, but maybe try that and see what happens. Also, you can contact the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. Take care, Jason

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AAA September 27, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Hi Jason,
My asylum application is referred to the immigration court in Newark NJ and my master hearing is on March, 2018, Is there any way I can advance my hearing date? I know I have to file a motion to advance but I m afraid if the motion is get denied and harm my case.

I came to the US in Sep 2012 ans since then my case is pending between USCIS and Immigration court.

AAA

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Jason Dzubow September 28, 2016 at 6:02 am

A motion to advance may not work, but I do not see how it can harm your case. You could also try to enter pleadings in writing (in other words, instead of waiting until 2018 to tell the Judge how the case will proceed, you write it down and send it to him now). This might also get you a sooner court date. For people in court, it is very helpful to have a lawyer. I suggest you find a lawyer and ask whether the lawyer can do something to make the case faster. Take care, Jason

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susan September 25, 2016 at 7:43 pm

Hello Jason
I had given my asylum Interview on May 1 2013. Interview went well and the interviewer told me that i will get the result in mail and after that i haven’t got any mail from them. I am so frustrated, wating fro my decision. I had given my interview in Nebraska office but the interviewer came from Chicago asylum office.

Please help me on this. how can i get the information about whats going on with my case? and where do i have to contact.

Thanks
Susan

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Jason Dzubow September 26, 2016 at 6:33 am

Unfortunately, this is a common problem. You can contact the Asylum Office itself or go there in person (you can find contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator). Also, you can try the USCIS Ombudsman, a link is also at right. These are the best ways to get started. You can also ask your congressperson for help (usually a waste of time) or file a mandamus lawsuit (possible expensive and usually a path people do not want to go down). Good luck, Jason

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Ahmed August 18, 2016 at 10:39 am

Hi Jason
In this article you did not talk about the suggested solution, so is submitting FOIA request give you a solution for your pending case?

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Jason Dzubow August 18, 2016 at 5:33 pm

I doubt a FOIA would help here. I suggest contacting the asylum office, maybe through a liaison, like AILA, or contacting the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. Also, if all else fails, you can try a mandamus lawsuit. Take care, Jason

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Talal August 11, 2016 at 12:10 am

I was interviewed April 2014 and was advised to come pick my decision in two week . kept going back and forth following up on my case and was told six month later that the officer working on my case no longer works there and it has been handed over to the SV . then April 2015 I was invited to do a second interview with a different officer and same thing happened less that a month later went to pick up my decision and I was told that she has been transferred and no longer work there . then once I got response that case holding background check then I got that its under review with asylum officer again and the last time I went it was under review with HQ . Now I am totally confused and disappointed . It just feels sad after all what we have already been through . any advice other than keep waiting for a response ????? Thank you in advance . best wishes to everyone

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Jason Dzubow August 14, 2016 at 8:38 am

I have seen this before; it is really awful. I think they do not fully realize how harmful this is for people in your situation. One idea is to contact the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. Give that a try. After that, you can sue them (mandamus lawsuit), but start with the Ombudsman. Good luck, Jason

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Ahmed August 9, 2016 at 7:45 am

Hi Jason
I receive this letter from asylum office, is that mean they send it to HQ for review or what that mean?

“we are waiting the results of mandatory, confidential investigation of your identity and background. There is no need to contact our office. You will be notified as soon as this investigation is complete. You may be contacted to submit another set of fingerprints for this investigation”

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Jason Dzubow August 10, 2016 at 6:21 am

I do not think it means that. It sounds like they are doing the background checks, which may be quick, but sometimes (unfortunately) takes many months. Take care, Jason

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Shezal August 6, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Hello Jason,

My interview was in April 2016 I have contacted USCIS office they said it is under extended quality review in HQ office . What dose it mean and how long it will take? How to expedite the process?

Waiting for your response
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow August 7, 2016 at 9:06 am

The average wait time for HQ review in 2016 was 239 days (see page 16 or https://www.dhs.gov/annual-report-congress). Many of our cases at HQ seem to take much longer than that, so I am not sure how accurate it is (though I suppose it is the “average;” it does not discuss how much variation there is). I know of no way to expedite the HQ process. Maybe you could sue USCIS (a mandamus lawsuit), but you should talk to a lawyer before you try that. Good luck, Jason

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Rad M April 10, 2016 at 11:32 pm

Hello,
I am from Syria. It has been over 3 years now since i did my interview in Chicago office. Every time we follow up they say they are waiting for security check. I heard that already 2 years ago. What security check takes over 3 years? My lawyer did mention that since i been in the U.S since 2000 they might wonder why i filed now 12 years later. The answer is the situation got worse all my family members fled fearing persecution as i was imprisoned before and recently about 3 years ago my brother escaped miraculously.
I made a recent inquiry early this year and they said still pending.
I feel trapped. what can i do? And what takes so long to make a decision like that? I have 2 kids born here in the U.S., i never did anything wrong to jeopardize my status in the U.S. i just don’t get it.
Any suggestions?

Thank you for you help in advance.

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Jason Dzubow April 11, 2016 at 6:26 am

The security background check is mysterious (it is also ridiculous – of someone is a danger to the country, why would we allow him to wait around for 3 years for a background check). You can contact the Ombudsman’s office to inquire – a link is provided at right. It’s free, so it’s worth a try. If that does not help, you can sue the government (called a mandamus lawsuit) to force them to issue a decision. You might also check out this report: https://www.aclusocal.org/CARRP/. (and maybe you can even contact the ACLU to see whether they have any ideas). One of these days, I plan to do a posting about it, but it is depressing reading. Take care, Jason

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Eddie March 16, 2016 at 6:55 pm

It’s almost a year since I made an interview. I asked the AO at least twice. They said its pending here at asylum officers’….what does it imply such kind of thing? They snub to take a look at it? Thanks

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Jason Dzubow March 16, 2016 at 9:40 pm

It just means there is no answer. I would not take it as a snub – thousands of cases are pending and they simply to do not have the ability to give substantive responses to inquiries. It may also be waiting for a security background check, which is not within the control of the asylum office. Hopefully you will get some good news soon. Take care, Jason

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Der February 25, 2016 at 9:38 am

HI Jason,

Two years passed since I was interviewed.No decision yet received.The interview was good and the AO initially told me to pick up the decision in two weeks time but later she called and told me to wait the decision by mail.
Recently I requested the arlington office in person, and they replied that my case is under revierw by Quality Assurance departement and they can’t do any thing unless it is release from the QA department.
Why my case transfered to QA department ? is there a back log at QA? What should I do inorder to expediate the decision?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

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Jason Dzubow February 25, 2016 at 6:07 pm

I list the main reasons this would happen above. You might also send an email to see if there is a terrorism-related issue. The link at right called TRIG Inadmissibility has the email for that. Good luck, Jason

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Andy January 14, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Hi Jason my wife’s case was at 9th circuit for a brief in Nov 2015 now she got news that her case will be returned to BIA because they made a mistake she filled for asylum before the one year deadline when you enter US which she did file one year before she entered US what should we do, she has the option of closing her case put it on hold or have BIA make a decision since they didnt make a decision prior because they said that she didnt file prior to one year dealine any suggestions

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Jason Dzubow January 15, 2016 at 6:45 am

If you are talking about closing the case based on PD (prosecutorial discretion), and you have that option, you should talk to a lawyer about the specifics of your case. PD is not great, but it is better than nothing. It is similar to Withholding of Removal – I wrote a post a few weeks ago about why I do not like Withholding, and the same logic applies to PD. If you have a strong asylum case, maybe you want to try to win, but if the case is weak, maybe PD is better. You need to talk to a lawyer about the specifics of your case. Good luck, Jason

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Jason Dzubow November 15, 2016 at 5:53 pm

Well said.

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Jason Dzubow April 21, 2017 at 6:27 am

If she is added to the case and she leaves, she will need Advance Parole (form I-131, available at http://www.usics.gov) to return. She may get in using only her student visa if she is lucky, but she risks being rejected at the border or detained at the airport. If she is not part of your case, and she returns, she should be able to get back here if she already has a student visa, though I do think there is some risk that she will be rejected at the airport. If she needs a new student visa, she may not be able to get one since her parent has an asylum case pending. Given that you have filed for asylum, it would be safest for her to remain in the US and continue as a student. Probably, she will be able to return if she leaves, but there is no guarantee. Take care, Jason

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Molly April 30, 2017 at 5:26 pm

Hi, Jason
Thank you for your response in time. In last response, you tell me , It would be safest for her to remain USA and continue as a student with student visa here. I want to know why? Because you said she can’t apply a new student visa in the future. My daughter is in private high school currently . I want to know if it’s necessary to keep students visa status for her? Because even though she has student visa , she still can’t go back to china. So I confuse if I transfer her to public school? I am so anxious. Because registering for next semester is coming.
Thanks
Molly

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Jason Dzubow May 1, 2017 at 6:06 am

If she leaves the US and tries to get anew student visa overseas, she likely will not be able to return to the US, as the embassy will probably deny a new student visa because she has a pending asylum case. If she can transfer schools and keep the student visa alive without leaving the US, that should be fine. I do not know if it is possible to do that, and you would need to talk to the schools involved and maybe hire a lawyer to assist. Take care, Jason

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Molly May 1, 2017 at 11:31 am

Hi, good morning! Jason
Thanks for your response. I appreciate that. My question is why I should keep her student visa alive if she can’t re-enter to USA, once she leaves. If I transfer her to public school, I will give up i -20. Can you tell me why I keep her student visa alive? Her student visa will expire in 2022.
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow May 4, 2017 at 6:04 am

Fop an asylum seeker, the main reason to keep an F visa alive by continuing in school is so that the person remains “in status” and is able to change to another status without leaving the US. So maybe later, after college, she can change to an H1b visa and then maybe get a GC through her employer. Staying in status keeps additional options open. Most people are unable to do that, but some people prefer to have the other options. Take care, Jason

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