How to Find a Free Asylum Attorney

by Jason Dzubow on September 22, 2016

If you want to hire a lawyer to help you with your asylum case, you’ll find that attorney fees are all over the map. Some lawyers charge tens of thousands of dollars for a case. The larger immigration firms typically charge in the five to ten thousand dollar range. “Low bono” lawyers–and I include myself in this group–charge a few thousand dollars for an asylum case.

Remember, when you use a pro bono attorney instead of hiring me, you are taking food from the mouths of my children.

Remember, when you use a pro bono attorney instead of hiring me, you are taking food from the mouths of my children.

But what if you do not have any money for a lawyer, and even a “low bono” fee is too much? The options then are to do the case yourself (usually not a great idea) or to find a pro bono attorney.

Pro bono (short for “pro bono publico”) is a Latin phrase meaning “for the public good.” In the legal context, it basically means that the lawyer does the work without charging the client any money.

There are different types of pro bono attorneys. The major categories are lawyers who work for charities, attorneys who work for law school clinics, and private attorneys who volunteer their time. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of pro bono attorney, and strategies for finding an attorney in each category are a bit different.

I suspect that most asylum seekers who find a pro bono attorney do so through a charitable organization. You can find a fairly comprehensive list of such organizations on the Executive Office for Immigration Review website (EOIR is the government agency that administers the nation’s Immigration Courts). The list is organized by state, which is helpful. If you do not see your location, click on a nearby state and you should find charities that serve your area. The American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (an association of private and non-profit attorneys) maintains a similar, and probably more comprehensive, list. Many of the organizations on these lists are free. Some charge a nominal fee (though in certain instances, I have heard about “nominal fees” ranging into the thousands of dollars, but this is the exception, not the norm). Also, most such organizations will not take a case where they believe the asylum seeker has the ability to pay for a lawyer.

The main disadvantage of using a charitable organization is that they are very busy, and they may not have the capacity to take your case. Also, if you need your case done in a hurry, they may not be able to accommodate you. Indeed, the reason lawyers like me exist is because the charitable organizations do not have the resources to help everyone. If you are able to obtain representation from a charity, they will either do the case in-house, or they will find you a volunteer attorney who will work under their supervision. Many of these volunteer attorneys do not specialize in asylum. However, the non-profits are adept at training and supervising their volunteer lawyers, and in most cases, you will get excellent representation.

So how do you get one of these charities to take your case? It often is not easy, and you may need to call/email/visit a number of organizations before you find one that can help you. But if you are persistent, you may be able to obtain representation. If one organization cannot help you, ask whether they can recommend another to try. It can feel like a full-time job to find a pro bono lawyer, but those applicants who make the effort are often able to obtain representation.

Another type of pro bono representation is the legal clinic. Many law schools have clinical programs where a law professor supervises law students in real-life cases. The students do the actual work on the case. I do not know of a comprehensive, updated list of law school immigration clinics, but this list (in Excel) from the Law Professors Blog Network should get you started. Also, you might try Googling “Law School Immigration Clinic” + the name of your city. Again, these clinics receive many requests for assistance and they have limited capacity, so it is often difficult to get one to represent you.

If you are represented by a law school clinic, you will work mostly with the students–after all, the primary purpose of the clinic is to provide a learning experience for the students. The obvious question is whether law students have the ability to adequately represent asylum applicants in court or in the asylum office. My observation is that, what the students lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm and energy. Also, the supervision at clinics (at least the ones I have seen) tends to be excellent. I do not know of any studies on this, but I expect that the success rate of clinical students is comparable to the success rate of practicing attorneys. One issue for clinics is that their cases must be scheduled according to the academic calendar, which can sometimes cause additional delays (though sometimes, it can make things faster instead).

Finally, many law firms have pro bono programs where the firm will represent individuals free of charge. Most firms get their pro bono clients from charitable organizations, but they can take on individual cases directly. If you know someone at a law firm (or if you know someone who knows someone), you might want to ask about this. If the attorney is not familiar with asylum law, she can likely partner with a non-profit organization, which will supervise her (the non-profits usually love to get new volunteer attorneys and are happy to help).

In truth, it is often difficult to find pro bono representation. Resources are stretched thin. But if you persevere, it is possible to find a free attorney. And having an attorney can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.

{ 124 comments… read them below or add one }

Buk September 27, 2017 at 11:13 pm

Notify me of any asylum case

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Louinex September 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Hi Jayson…I ‘m a asylum applicant i m from Haiti ,my mother is permanent resident in USA and my brother is a us citizen .i wanna know if they can fill a application like my familly for me during i ‘m in a asylum process if yes who is beter for me mom or my brother cause I’m living in Florida

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Jason Dzubow September 14, 2017 at 9:59 pm

Your mother can file for you if you are unmarried. Your brother can file for you whether you are single or married. You can Google “DOS visa bulletin” to get an idea of the waiting times, but they are very long (I think about 9 and 13 years, respectively). Also, you would have no status here while you are waiting, and you would most likely have to leave the US to get the green card at a US embassy. This may or may not be possible depending on the facts of your case. In practical terms, such applications are not very useful, and you will probably have to try to win the asylum case, but talk to a lawyer to see whether there is any possibility for you based on your family. Take care, Jason

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LINDA NOGBOU September 7, 2017 at 8:50 am

Hi Jason, I have some questions for asylum requirements. I saw on the USCIS page by searching that you can apply for asylum if you have a serious mental illness.

This is the link
https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/questions-and-answers-asylum-eligibility-and-applications.

Can you clarify me more about it.I’m waiting for your information. Thanks

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 6:42 am

If the government or someone in your country wants to harm you because of your mental illness, maybe that could be a basis for asylum. But that would be an unusual case, and it would be helpful to have a lawyer assist with such a case. Take care, Jason

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Tonison September 6, 2017 at 7:47 am

Hello Jason,

February 2016, I met a guy online in a gay social network in my home country and we chatted for months before we arranged to meet. It happens that he is not a gay, he prepare to be gay to set us up and collect money from us gay because of he strict gay law in my country that every gay will face 14 years person charge. He used that to threat me when we met and took pictures or my ID and pictures of me and I can’t go to the police to report because I will be in jail and he is also working with some of the corrupt police in my country.

Because of the evidence of being a gay he had on me, he has been using it to take money from me an!d any time I refuse to pay he will threaten to expose me. The week I came to USA he ask for money I told him I don’t have means to send money to him now and I’m out of the country will pay him, after some days of not paying him he wentel ahead and expose which affect my sponsoreship. I’m scared of going back home because I might end up being in hail for 14 years.

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 6:11 am

This could be a basis for asylum. You should talk to a lawyer about the specifics of your case to better evaluate the possibility. The fact that you paid him may also be a factor in the case, and so you should alert the lawyer to that part of the story, but I highly doubt that will block you from asylum. Take care, Jason

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jessicak September 5, 2017 at 2:33 pm

Hi Jason, im a 23 year old jamaican currently in the states with my son. i have been sexually abused in my home since i was 7 years old and even after reporting it to the police nothing had been done and my mother is still with my abuser. i left Jamaican when i got pregnant and have since been back and forth legally. the situation has become far too much too deal with since having a child and i am in fear of returning to my country for my own safety and also that of my son. do you think i have a case to file for asylum here in the U.S.? i am also seeking a lawyer maybe you could consider taking me on as a client immediately

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 5:37 am

Such cases are possible to win, but they are not so easy, as they are not “traditional” asylum cases (where you fear persecution by your government). I do think a lawyer could help in this situation. If you are in the DC-area, there is a non-profit that specifically works on such cases called Tahirih Justice Center (in northern Virginia). Also, of course, you can hire a private lawyer like me, and I would be happy to work on your case. You can email me at [email protected]. Take care, Jason

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isam September 4, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Hello Jason

I’m from Palestine and my wife is from Israel we are both Arabs, we are married for 13 years and we are having 3 kids.
due to the Israeli law that had been updated in 2002 thousands of married couples can’t live normally only because they are Arabs . for that im not allowed to live in Israel and my wife and my kids not allowed to live in the Palestinian part and we need only to live a normal life in any other place in the world so are we a case for a asylum ?

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Jason Dzubow September 5, 2017 at 6:27 am

Maybe, but that is not a “normal” asylum case. Normally, a person need to show that they are being persecuted (usually meaning physical harm) on account of race, religion, etc. In your case, family separation would not normally meet the definition of “persecution”. If you have other problems as a result of being Palestinian, that might add to the strength of the case. Also, even if there are no other problems, it might be enough to win asylum, but since it is not a normal case, you might want a lawyer to help you present the case in the best way possible. Good luck, Jason

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Asian girl August 10, 2017 at 11:48 am

Hello
I have read statistics on asylum granted or denied at the court I found a strange or puzzle .
1.Have come to see the percentage of judges grant which varies from 2 percent to 98 percent.
1.most the judges who have south american case denies almost all of them
2.why are african countries citizen are much more granted asylum by the judges than maybe country as Afghanistan and even Syria. Mostly african are not denied or deported

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Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 5:53 am

I am not sure exactly what statistics you are referring to, but it is known that there is too much unpredictability in immigration court decisions. Most judges tend to grant most good cases and deny most bad cases, but there are many outliers. As for the country specific questions, I do not know, but I can tell you that we represent a lot of people from Syria and Afghanistan, and the very large majority are being granted. Take care, Jason

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Carl Marks August 10, 2017 at 11:30 am

greetings
can a relative of one who have been member of government seek asylum .
what type of document need to establish relation with him .
persecution was personal matter but it became much more intense because of my relative(member of former gov, who is in opposition now).
what about if the same relative didnt flee(even though he is persecuted he has no intention of fleeing )
what type of information can officer they ask me about him .we have a dictatorship and authoritarian regime .
I am apolitic.

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Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 6:10 am

Yes. Family document include birth certificates, letters from people who know you, photos with the relative, basically anything showing the relationship. Your case may be one of “imputed” political opinion, meaning that you are not politically active, but the government thinks you are political because of your relative. It might also be persecution based on particular social group if the government is targeting your whole family. You may want to talk to a lawyer to make sure your case is presented properly and fits into a protected category under the asylum law. Take care, Jason

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sayed hassan August 4, 2017 at 1:11 am

hi jason,
thanks for this comprehensive information you provide in this page .
am in Raleigh NC i and i came with my wife and two kids i need you to take care of my asylum case and i have limited budget for that ,what is you fee for the whole case ? and if the case is not approve by the asylum officer are there any additional fees i should pay ? ,and is this fees cover the Work permit request ,prepare the documents and affidavit; practice with you for the interview; and attend the interview , apply for Advance Parole (form I-131 for travel permit
many tahnks

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Jason Dzubow August 4, 2017 at 11:51 am

I think you sent me an email and I replied. If you need that again, please email me at [email protected]. Thank you, Jason

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April July 14, 2017 at 5:10 pm

Maybe a stupid question… but I assume if I am in Chicago and my husband is in Krome Processing Center (Miami) that I should contact the Florida lawyers?

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Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 6:43 am

If you expect the case to go forward in FL, then it will be better to have a local lawyer there. However, if you think your husband will be released, or transferred to a detention facility in IL, than a lawyer in Chicago will be better. Sometimes, it is possible to transfer a person to their home area, as the witnesses are there and it is easier to do the case there. If you prefer that the case be done in IL, talk to a lawyer there and see whether you might be able to move your husband back to IL. Good luck, Jason

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BESONG July 6, 2017 at 10:56 pm

Hi Jason,
As per the asylum application form, my residence address can be different from my mailing address, if say my residence address is texas and my mailing address is chicago, where would my court hearing or interview be after i file in ?
secondly, if i don’t have supporting documents instantly, can i mail just the filled asylum and my i 94 and bring the other supporting docs during the interview? or how does it function?

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Jason Dzubow July 7, 2017 at 4:48 pm

The second question is easier – you can mail or deliver the supporting document to the local office later. However, in most offices, you need to submit them prior to the interview. For example, my office – Virginia – requires that you submit them a week before, but different offices have different rules. Contact the local office for the rules. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. As for the first question, I am not sure which office they would assign you to. My guess is that they would rely on the physical address, and not the mailing address, but I am not sure. Maybe you can email the local office to ask them. Take care, Jason

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Midi July 2, 2017 at 12:19 am

Hi Mr Jason
After i lost my case coz immigration thy dont approved me . Now what i should do? Is there new docs i need fill up befor i go to court or immigration will send all my fils to court automaticly .and how i know the new date for i go to court . Thanks

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Jason Dzubow July 3, 2017 at 11:34 pm

Depending on how the case was presented at the asylum office, you may need to re-file everything with the court. You should have a lawyer help you with that if possible. If you cannot afford a lawyer, I did a posting on September 22, 2016 about how to find a free lawyer – maybe that would help. Take care, Jason

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Midi June 30, 2017 at 12:55 am

Hi Mr Jason
Whats G28 for renew work permit . immigration ask me i fill up G 28 or no? .i stop with my attoreny befor the day of intervew and another attoreny com with me just for reprisent me in intervew

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Jason Dzubow July 3, 2017 at 10:54 pm

The G-28 is only for the lawyer. If you fired your lawyer, let USCIS know, and make sure they have your correct address, so they can send mail to you and not the lawyer. Take care, Jason

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Midi June 17, 2017 at 6:37 pm

Hi Mr Jason as we guess i went to interview for asylum last week . The immigration officer tell me that he dont receive any docs about me inclyding the diclaration and evidance the time when my attoreny yntil last minut he told me that he submit all docs .when i call him again to pick up my docs he say he have nothing …he effect my case what i should do in this case

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Jason Dzubow June 19, 2017 at 6:42 am

I think you need to talk to another attorney about this. Also, I think you need to file a bar complaint against the old lawyer for damaging your case and lying to you. You may also want to sue the old lawyer to get your money back (though usually this is more trouble than it is worth). Anyway, this is very unfortunate, but the first step is finding a new lawyer who you can trust. Good luck, Jason

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Midi June 26, 2017 at 11:23 pm

Hi
Thankts to replay
If i file bar against my old attorny coz he damage my case .can it help me as proof for my case .i mean when i go to court can the decision of judge change when judge see that my case was not approved coz my ex attoreny work ?

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Jason Dzubow June 27, 2017 at 6:13 am

It could help. In some cases, a bar complaint is necessary; in others, it can help show what the attorney did wrong so that the judge understands that certain problems in the case are the lawyer’s fault, not the applicants. Take care, Jason

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Kelsang Lama Tamang June 16, 2017 at 3:23 am

Hi Jason,
My name is Kelsang and i am an Asylum applicant in New York. I just got a referral to the immigration court,which i was not hoping at all based to my prosecution and hard time.They said they will send me mail for the date and time.Please let me know how much do you charge for the case? Thank you!!!

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Jason Dzubow June 16, 2017 at 7:01 am

I am in Washington, DC. I can do a case in NY, but normally it is a lot cheaper to find a local attorney. My fee for a local case is $4000 for the whole case; it would be more in NY since I would need to travel there. Take care, Jason

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Koss D kafla June 11, 2017 at 9:31 am

Hi, Jason I want to know how much I have to pay to renew my work permit. I am applying for asylum and my work permit will expire soon.
Thank you

Koss

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Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 9:37 pm

Most people pay $410, but you should check the form to be sure – form I-765, available at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Koss D Kafla June 13, 2017 at 1:36 am

Thanks Jason, you’re a helpful.
Yes! I have to use I-765 and money order to pay the fee of renewal of my work Permit, please will you like to indicate me what I have write down on the first line of te money order (Pay to the order of:______) I’m living in Cincinnati Ohio and I have to send my application to USCIS Phoenix Lockbox.
I just want to make sure for what I’m doing thanks.

Koss

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Jason Dzubow June 13, 2017 at 6:26 am

I can’t verify the other info, as I have not looked at the form and do not know your case, but the money order should be written to “Department of Homeland Security.” Also, if you can do it, it is better to pay by personal check, but MO will work too. Take care, Jason

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Mohammad orfan May 29, 2017 at 8:17 am

Dear Sir/Madam,

For the a free lawyer please I hope the lawyer might be able to help me the problems I have since 10,03,2015 I have been living in Spain Madrid but no help no respect no Visa no job for me as a USA English Interpreter and in 04,08,2016

[redacted]

Sincerely yours

Orfan

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Jason Dzubow May 30, 2017 at 6:14 am

Sorry, you cannot post information about other individuals here. As for finding a free lawyer, we cannot assist with that, but the above article gives some links that may help. Take care, Jason

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Midi May 24, 2017 at 10:06 am

Hi MR jason . My attoreny cancel my first intervew appointment cose he say my case was not ready .and now i stop with this,attoreny he dont reprisent me ..and i want send justification to the immigration for explaine why i dont coming to the first appointment ..i also want to ask you about . What are the procedures needed to request new reschedule of the interview?

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Jason Dzubow May 25, 2017 at 6:30 am

They should automatically give you a new appointment, but if they do not, contact them to ask. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. However, I would not make a new appointment until the case is complete and the documents are filed. In my local office (Virginia), all documents must be filed one week before the interview, but the rules are different in different asylum offices, so make sure you follow them and get your documents submitted on time. Take care, Jason

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Midi May 26, 2017 at 1:28 am

Hello thanks for replay MR jason
I think all docs of asylum files are submitted already to immigration the day when we open case and what my ex attorney miss is to organize my declaration (the,story why i apply for asylum)
Do you think there is another docs need a settlement before the date of the interview?
What i should do for i confirm if i miss som docs

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Jason Dzubow May 26, 2017 at 6:39 am

Hopefully, you have a copy of everything that was submitted. If not, you can file a form G-639, available at http://www.uscis.gov to get a copy of your file from the government. Whether you need more documents, I do not know, but it might be worthwhile to consult with a lawyer to review your case and get an opinion about that. Take care, Jason

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Idara Egbo March 3, 2017 at 4:27 am

Hello Jason.

I have been here for over seven months with a b1 b2 visa with my family and want to apply for asylum.how can I contact you for evaluation and representation. I am based in Harrisburg PA.

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Jason Dzubow March 3, 2017 at 7:26 am

You can email me at [email protected]. I have a number of client in Harrisonburg and I am happy to talk to you. One note – you must file for asylum within one year of arriving in the US; otherwise, you can become ineligible for asylum, so you should make sure to apply before one year in the US. Take care, Jason

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Paolo February 17, 2017 at 7:14 pm

THANK YOU

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Vinau luther February 11, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Hai Jason how are u?I have a one question?I am.all asylum case March 2016.how long wait to wait my interview and what is current trump order

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Jason Dzubow February 12, 2017 at 12:11 pm

I have discussed Trump’s orders in the postings of the last few weeks. The orders are currently on hold due to court orders. As for the time frame, check the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin, a link is at right, to get some idea about the time frame. Take care, Jason

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Midi January 28, 2017 at 7:16 pm

When i fell up my application i765 at the question number-14- thy ask ( statute at last entry into US) in my first work permit my ex attoreny put Answer as (EWI)
I come to america with p3 visa
Wish one i put now ? What my ex attoreny put or name of my visa (p3).thanks

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Jason Dzubow January 29, 2017 at 11:00 pm

I cannot give such specific advice here. It sounds like your previous attorney made a mistake on the form. You should talk to a new attorney to help you. If you do it yourself, you will need to explain the prior attorney’s error. Take care, Jason

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Midi January 28, 2017 at 7:05 pm

Hello Mr jason
As you know the mailing address for renew work permit is not same of address of immigration office
Whats the name of office who we send worke permit application in san francisco .thanks

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Jason Dzubow January 29, 2017 at 10:58 pm

I do not know – you would have to check the mailing addresses on the USCIS website for the form I-765, available at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Shabbir Shaikh January 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Hi Jason,
I had applied for asylum on 9th Jan 2016 means I had given my case to the lawyer on this date n made the payment what he had asked but after 10 days still haven’t received any acknowledgement from them whether my case is filed or on which date it will filed I will be very thankful if you please tell me what is the actual procedure.
Thanking you,
Shhabir Shaaikh

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Shabbir Shaikh January 18, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Sorry 9th Jan 2017

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Jason Dzubow January 20, 2017 at 8:36 am

The lawyer has to work with you to prepare the case and mail it. Usually, it takes us a few weeks to mail the case. Differently lawyers do things differently – some prepare the entire case before they mail it. Others (like me), only submit the asylum form and some basic documents, and then submit the other documents later. Talk to the lawyer and ask about the status of your case. Also, make sure to review the case – especially the form I-589 and your statement – before it is filed. Take care, Jason

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Mad January 12, 2017 at 1:05 am

Hello Mr Jason
For i renew my work permit who will be expired in 05/ 04/ 2017 im late as i need renew it befor 120 days is it possible to renew it right now
How mush cost fee for renew my work permit
My respect

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Jason Dzubow January 13, 2017 at 7:16 am

You are not late. The earliest you can renew it is 120 days before it expires, but there is no problem renewing it less than 120 days before it expires. I just recommend that people renew 120 days before it expires in order to avoid a gap between the old and new card. Take care, Jason

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Mad January 2, 2017 at 7:08 am

Do i need to send it by mail ? Im in san francisco
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow January 2, 2017 at 11:06 am

I always send it by mail, but maybe you can do it online – you would need to review the instructions. Take care, Jason

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Mad January 2, 2017 at 7:07 am

Hello Mr Jason
I want renew my work oermit alone .wish doc form i need ..thanks

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Jason Dzubow January 2, 2017 at 11:06 am

I am old school and do not do those on-line. But the form is the I-765, available at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Mad December 5, 2016 at 4:19 am

Hello Mr jason thanks for help
Can i renew my work permit aloen ( by my self) or only my attorney can do it .i let you know i have problem with my attoreny right now and he dont answer all my request
Can i do it by my self even immigration thy know that i have attoreny and thy has begun to deal with him when i open asylum cas
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow December 5, 2016 at 7:45 am

Speaking as an attorney, it is not always easy to respond to clients as quickly as they want, but if the lawyer does not get back to you in a few days, that may be a problem. If you are not happy with the lawyer, you should find someone else. As for the work permit, you can do it on your own (form I-765, available at http://www.uscis.gov). I recommend you at least let your attorney know what you are doing and keep a copy of everything you send to USCIS, in case you need it later. Take care, Jason

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Mad December 6, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Thanks for answer my question MR Jason but how i can let him know and he dont answer me since 4 month
Other way to find new attorny is not easy for me
cause i have hard economic situation .i see better to do it by my self ?
My respect

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Jason Dzubow December 7, 2016 at 2:12 pm

You can tell him that if you do not hear back, you will contact the state bar association to file a complaint. You can find that by Googling “Bar Association Complaint” + the state where the attorney is practicing. My guess is that if you threaten to complain, the lawyer will respond. But of course, this will not be good for your relationship. I do think you need to find a new lawyer if your current lawyer is not responding to you. Take care, Jason

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Mad November 30, 2016 at 2:42 am

Hello jasen
I have series issue and i want get advice please
.my attorney inform me that i have asylum interview
in september 26 2016 but before 2 days of interview he call me and he say that im not ready to interview??? then let’s reschedule it to next 2 weeks
My interview past and i don’t go as my attorney advised me but i don’t receive any new appointment
From immigration even my attorney he lknow that if i lost this interview appointment in september 26 2016
It will not be possible to find new appointment soon i feel like he give me wrong advice even i try to call him he don’t answer and i try to send him e mail ..the e mail back to me means he block me
how i can know if i have another appointment and what can happens if i lose other appointment with immigration
I afraid if i lost my case
Now i have big concern about my case and i hope if you advise me

My respect

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Jason Dzubow November 30, 2016 at 7:38 am

It is strange that the lawyer would postpone the interview without telling you why, and it is very strange that he is not returning your emails. I recommend that you contact the asylum office yourself to ask whether the case will be rescheduled. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Usually, this only takes a few weeks. Also, you might want to talk to another lawyer for help. Good luck, Jason

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Mad November 30, 2016 at 11:58 pm

Thanks jason
I will call the office .as you have experiance how many time it take for thy reschuadul someone who. Dont vo to his first appountment .thanks

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Mad December 1, 2016 at 12:03 am

I mean someone who lost his appointment

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Jason Dzubow December 1, 2016 at 7:35 am

I am not sure. You can call, and you can also email them – that is usually the better way. You can also go in-person. Take care, Jason

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Info November 3, 2016 at 3:13 pm

I have few days left till my 1 year deadline to file for asylum, so I want to file I-589 with overview of my story and then sit down later with an attorney and make sure that my story includes everything and submit the story at the interview. Can I do that or will it hurt my case if I do it that way? Also, I read that USCIS gives receipt for the application within 21 days. If I overnight it via Fedex to them, will the date when they get it physically (next day after I mail) count as a day of filing or whenever they acknowledge the receipt?

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Jason Dzubow November 3, 2016 at 5:10 pm

You do not have to send the full story with the case. As long as the form is properly submitted before the one-year deadline, you will be fine. The time to get the receipt is not predictable, but it is usually a few weeks. The date on the receipt is usually the date that the application was received by USCIS. The case is filed when it is received, not when it is mailed. But if you mail it before the deadline, the regulations state that it is considered timely filed. Take care, Jason

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Info November 3, 2016 at 10:24 pm

Thank you very much for your response. You are true lawyer and should be proud of yourself.

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Jess October 24, 2016 at 9:01 pm

Hello Jason,

I have two questions: I am in common law since 2009 with my #husband#. He is going to be the principal applicant in a asylum case. What do we write on line #10, about his marital status? Married? But we do not have a Marriage certificate, we just have a legal proof of Common Law Status from our country?

My second question is: He has 10 months in this country, and he is working in certain decent jobs, but Should he write down in Part A.III, about his background, that he worked in US for the past 10 months? Is not going to prejudice his application, since he was working without work permit? Thanks a lot

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Jason Dzubow October 25, 2016 at 6:29 am

First, there is a one year deadline to file, and if he has been here for 10 months, he should file soon. If he files after one year in the US, it could cause him to be denied asylum. As to your questions, if he is legally married, he should put that he is married. I think he should then explain that it is a common law marriage (he can do that in an affidavit or on the last page of the I-589 form (Supplement B). For us, if a client has worked illegally, we list the job on the form. It does not affect his asylum application, and if USCIS learns about the job and it is not listed, they may view him as having lied – and if he lied about his jobs, he may be lying about his case. Take care, Jason

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Dima October 21, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Can I hire an attorney just for the interview? or should the attorney be there from the beginning?

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Jason Dzubow October 21, 2016 at 4:56 pm

As you like, but there are three things the lawyer does for you: (1) prepare the documents and affidavit; (2) practice with you for the interview; and (3) attend the interview. The first two are the most important by far (in my opinion). The lawyer’s job at the interview is fairly small, and I think you are better off using your money to get #1 and #2 than #3, though it is nice to have a lawyer with you at the interview, especially if you have bad luck and the asylum officer is no good (fortunately, that is uncommon). Take care, Jason

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Zain October 21, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Hi Jason, I really enjoy your articles. I’m curious as to how having an attorney could change the outcome of the case? We filed our case alone, and got our EAD too. I’m hoping that our file will have no mistakes.
I talked to an attorney recently, he said he could get us an interview in 6 months. I’m assuming he is lying, right?
I have a question about change of address, will it affect our case if we don’t change it? (We moved) or should we just wait until the interview to tell them that.
Thank you.

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Jason Dzubow October 21, 2016 at 4:54 pm

I am not sure whether he is lying, but there is no way he can guarantee that. He can ask to expedite the case based on a health problem or family re-unification, but you can do that yourself too. Obviously, I do think that a lawyer can help with a case (since I am a lawyer), but the statistical data supports that conclusion. A did a post a few months ago where I described who REALLY needs a lawyer (it is on July 7, 2016). As for moving, if you change your address, you should keep your place in the queue. However, to be sure, I recommend that you contact the old and new asylum office to make sure your case was moved. You can find the contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Zain October 25, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Thank you so much Jason for your help. I am just moving to a different house not a different state, is that the same?

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Jason Dzubow October 26, 2016 at 6:30 am

If you stay in the same state, your move will generally not change the asylum office (though there are exceptions). You just have to let them know that you moved and give them the new address.

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Brook October 8, 2016 at 11:32 pm

Hi Jason
I have applied for asylum as a dependent on my wife’s i589. We have received application accepted notice and the fingerprinting appointment. Then only my wife is finger printed and not me. Am I missing something or this is how the system works for dependents?
Thank u so much

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Brook October 8, 2016 at 11:36 pm

Just to add. The finger printing notice mentioned only her name not mine. But on the application recived notice they informed us to bring all material that proves our relationship ship to the interview.
Thannks

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Jason Dzubow October 11, 2016 at 6:34 am

I think you should also have been printed. I do not think it is really a problem, though, as long she is printed. Also, USCIS is always changing the procedures about fingerprints, so maybe now dependents are not being printed. If you want, you can contact the local asylum office to ask about this – you can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Umer October 3, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Hi Jason u do a great job for asylum seekers. My question is about work authorisation. I applied for work authorisation before my 150 days completed so they denied my work permit application because my 150 days are not complete that time and they send me letter that I move the motion or appeal against decision and send them fees of 630 dollars for that motion. Now my 150 days are complete so can I reapply new work permit application or I have to submit that fees for motion. Plz guide me Iam thank full to you.

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Jason Dzubow October 4, 2016 at 6:29 am

Do not file the appeal – you will lose and you will lose your money. File a new application (I-765) for the EAD, and explain that you previously filed and it was rejected. Take care, Jason

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lulu October 2, 2016 at 7:32 pm

Shana Tova! Happy Jewish new year to you Jason!!

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Jason Dzubow October 4, 2016 at 6:17 am

Thank you. Happy 5777 to you too, Jason

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Dominique October 2, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Hi Jason,

I filed my I-589 form in 2014 and interviewed in December of 2014 at the AO in Chicago. My case has been in pending status since then.
My issue is, I have just recently moved to TX for a new job. Can I file a change of address and apply for a travel document concurrently? Will this affect my case in any way and delay it even further?
I have not seen my spouse and children in 4 yrs :'( I am looking to travel to a third country around the holiday season this year to meet them.
Please help! Thank you Jason!

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Jason Dzubow October 4, 2016 at 6:40 am

You can apply for Advance Parole (form I-131, available at http://www.uscis.gov) to travel while the case is pending. It should not affect your case, and changing your address at this point probably will not affect your case either. But I have seen once (recently) where the person had an interview, moved, and then had a second interview at the new office (had he not moved, the second interview would still have happened, but at the original office). Take care, Jason

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Dominique October 7, 2016 at 7:21 pm

Thank you so much for your assistance Jason!
I will be filing this weekend. My intended departure is December 15, 2016. Do you think that leaves me enough time to apply for both I-131 and change of address?

Again, thank you for responding. It is greatly appreciated!

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Jason Dzubow October 11, 2016 at 6:28 am

If you are filing the I-131 for Advance Parole, it is possible you will get it before December 15, but I kind-of doubt it. The normal wait time is probably 4 to 6 months. Anyway, you will try and if it is delayed, maybe you can delay your trip. Take care, Jason

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Dominique October 12, 2016 at 7:23 pm

One last question Jason, I promise!

Do I file the I-131 to the Dallas LockBox since I now live in TX or should I mail it to the Phoenix LockBox since I am also including a Change of Address form indicating that I moved from IL to TX?

Thank you so much!

Elizabeth October 2, 2016 at 1:51 am

Hi Jason.
Bless your heart for all you do.I will submitting my asylum application next week to Philadelphia for my son(5years) and myself, my lawyer advise we submit seperate forms as my son might get earlier date as a minor with severe disability.
Do you have an idea how long for a minor disable applicant interview?
Does that expedite mine?
Thank you

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Jason Dzubow October 4, 2016 at 6:45 am

I would ask your lawyer to double check this. There are faster dates for unaccompanied minors, but your son is not unaccompanied; he is with you. Maybe it can be done, but it might be better to keep the cases together. Also, if you file together, you can ask to expedite both cases based on his disability. Anyway, really, I do not know, and if you are confident that the lawyer is doing it correctly, then you should be fine. Of course, it does not hurt to double check. Take care, Jason

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lulu October 2, 2016 at 12:50 am

I got a problem that irrelevant to your post but hope Jason you can help because you are sooooo nice all the time! The thing is I submitted my application in California but moved to Chicago afterwards, so, should my case has to get in line from the beginning in the new pool? if it’s true, actually I moved in Sep 2015, I ‘d expect 33 months after sep 2015 to be my possible interview date? Thank you!!

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Jason Dzubow October 4, 2016 at 11:27 am

According to USCIS, if you move, you will keep your place in the queue. You may have to email the old and new asylum offices to make sure that the case moves and that you keep your place in line. You can find their email if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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lulu October 5, 2016 at 4:44 pm

wow! thx for your supportive reply and it looks it wont take very long for me to take the most important interview in my life! the best wishes for you!!Jason!

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Rich September 28, 2016 at 12:59 am

Hello Jason.

Im currently leaving and working in different state from where i applied for my asylum case and it doesn’t belong to the same asylum office.
Question:
I wanna know if I’m gonna have a problem with my case in this situation? And what should i do if your answer gonna be yes?!
If you can give me an advice!

Thank you for all what you are doing here! This website is extremely helpful!

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Jason Dzubow September 28, 2016 at 6:14 am

It could be a problem. If the Asylum Officer thinks you are lying about your address, she might also think you are lying about your case. The easy answer is to change your address with the Asylum Office (using form AR-11, available at http://www.uscis.gov and filed with the local asylum office). If your move is “temporary” and you have evidence that you kept your permanent address, then maybe you will not have a problem. Take care, Jason

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Ruslan September 27, 2016 at 1:18 am

hello. I have a question about my spouse and application i589. i did get it that if she wants get all benefits of asylum application ( like work permit after 150 days) she should be included in my application. but what if she has nothing to do with my problems with government and does not have anything to do with my case story. Can I put her in application without any hurt to my case ?
Thank You

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Jason Dzubow September 27, 2016 at 6:11 am

The only requirement for her to be included in your application is that you are legally married. It is not relevant that she has no involvement with the basis for your asylum claim. Take care, Jason

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Francia October 5, 2016 at 12:33 am

Hi Jason, How about common law? Can a person apply for her couple if they are just in a common law relations, no legal civil marriage? If not, do they need to get married before apply for political asylum?

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Jason Dzubow October 5, 2016 at 6:19 am

I do not know about that, but typically, USCIS wants to see a written marriage certificate, and they will reject an application without one. I just won an asylum case yesterday where the applicant was in a common-law marriage, so we may research this question for him. Maybe check back in a month or so, and I might have a better idea about this. Take care, Jason

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Dess September 26, 2016 at 7:36 pm

Dear Jason
Social far I don’t have a lawyer but I have applied the asylum and waiting for interview and want have a lawyer. Would you mind to be my lawyer? I will tell you why if you send your personal email or address with schedule
Regards

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Jason Dzubow September 27, 2016 at 6:00 am

You can email me at [email protected]. Take care, Jason

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Olu September 25, 2016 at 9:57 pm

Hi Jason,

I have question about a confusing situation. I have a pending asylum application but I’m now trying to file forms I-485 and I-130 with my spouse who is a citizen. I’m confused on how to fill the part of form I-485 where it says “current USCIS status” and expiration date, and also “nonimmigrant visa number”. I came into the US with a visitors visa and filed for asylum a month later. I’m confused as to what my current status would be, and also if I’m supposed to fill in the number on my B-2 visa which is no longer valid. All I’ve had since I applied for asylum has been a work permit EAD and an SSN.

I would really appreciate your insight into my situation. Thanks

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Jason Dzubow September 26, 2016 at 6:36 am

Unfortunately, I cannot answer such specific questions about how to answer on a form, as I am not familiar with your case. Typically, when will fill such forms, we put “asylum pending,” but I do not know if you have any other status. I will say that as long as you are honest with them, even if you make a mistake on the form, you will be able to correct it. When you send the application for the green card, you should include copies of your visa, I-94, and asylum receipts – that way, they will not think you are trying to hide anything. Good luck, Jason

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Rajan September 23, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Hi Jason, I got my asylum Interview date for next week. I had also applied for TPS and yesterday uscis approved it. So technically I am in TPS status. I heard that if I am in TPS status they don’t refer me to the court instead of that they approve the asylum case or deny it. Is it true? If yes, is it good to be inTPS status while your asylum interview is taking place or it has bad impact to your approval chance?

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Jason Dzubow September 25, 2016 at 7:18 am

I do not know whether they refer people with TPS to court. We have seen some TPS people do their court cases, but I have not had a client who had TPS at the time he was denied asylum. My guess is that if you have TPS, and they want to deny you, they will send you a letter explaining why they want to deny, and then give you an opportunity to explain. If you satisfy them, they will grant the case. Otherwise, they will deny the case and you will just have TPS. If you did not have TPS, they would not give you a detailed explanation for the denial, they would just send you to court. Take care, Jason

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Rajesh September 28, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Hi Rajan, can you please tell what happened in your condition at interview?

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Daniel September 23, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Jason, a quick question about asylee families who are following to join them.

When someone gets asylum, and their spouse and kids are still overseas, my understanding is that the spouse and kids must go to a U.S. consulate and provide their passports, which will then be stamped “Asylum status granted” or words to that effect.

But what happens after that when the family is boarding a plane to the U.S. in the home country’s airport, and the home country security officers look at their passports and see that asylum stamp? I get nightmarish thoughts of families seized and jailed, and threats made against them unless the original asylee comes home. Does that ever happen? Can it be prevented?

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Jason Dzubow September 25, 2016 at 7:10 am

I have never heard of such a procedure. If a person wins asylum, he can file a form I-730 for the spouse and minor, unmarried children. There is a procedure to get a visa, but unless you know all the codes on the visa, you cannot tell that they are coming to the US based on their relative’s asylum. Take care, Jason

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Riz September 28, 2016 at 8:08 pm

Daniel ! I think the Visa Type will be print as V92. Instead of Derivative, Beneficiary etc.

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Ian September 23, 2016 at 7:32 am

Hi Jason,

Been reading your blog for years and every time I click the link it would encourage me to hope for the best, it becomes a habit to check this blog daily, sometimes multiple times a day when i feel desperate and hopeless, you are a great man! A true angel for those who suffered from tough times.

I had my interview in Chicago around first week in June this year, the officer made me to sign on the mail notice agreement, since then i’ve been expecting the decision to be mailed to me. I went to the office to check the progress of the case every once a while but get the same answer every time, says my case is in progress. It’s been 3 months and I feel hard to get asleep at night, I understand you have mentioned in other posts that the decision might take months or years to make, and there is few we can do to help, I was just wondering what is the average waiting time recently to get the decision according to your experience? It already took me 3+ years to get an interview and I start to lose patient and get emotional more and more often.

Regards,

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Jason Dzubow September 23, 2016 at 4:46 pm

You are not along, for sure. There really is no “average”, so I cannot answer the question. It depends on too many factors. Maybe you can inquire with the USCIS Ombudsman (a link is at right). Sometimes, they give more info than the asylum office, but I doubt they will give you any sort of time frame. If you can ask the asylum office whether your case was sent to headquarters, that might be helpful to know. You can also check this report, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CISOMB%20Annual%20Report%202016.pdf, pages 12 to 17, which discusses the delays. Good luck, Jason

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Gina September 26, 2016 at 1:32 am

Jason,

Thank you for answering all our questions. I applied for asylum at Newark asylum office in August 2013. I live in Buffalo Newyork. Right now the asylum scheduling bulletin is saying Newark is interviewing those that applied in August-October 2013. When should I expect my interview because it seems that’s when I also applied. Another question is will my interview be at Newark or it will be at Buffalo asylum office.

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Jason Dzubow September 26, 2016 at 6:40 am

I have only had one case in Buffalo – the person was interviewed in Buffalo, not NJ. If that happens to you, it is likely that you will wait longer than the dates listed in the Scheduling Bulletin. You may want to contact the NJ office and ask about this – You can find contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Ian September 27, 2016 at 1:25 am

Jason,

Appreciate your priceless help, a link worth a thousand thanks!

Best

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Kargay September 22, 2016 at 9:53 pm

Hahahaha
Jason, I like the picture in this article with the caption.
😂😂.
This is an awesome article though.

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Jason Dzubow September 23, 2016 at 6:19 am

Thank you, Jason

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John September 22, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Hi Jason,

It was very nice/generous/kind of you to write this blog post against your own business interest. And it was informative.

But, unless they really really really can’t afford, I think they should hire you or any other attorney for that matter. First, private attorneys can provide lot more time to a client’s case and many times the case warrants that.

Secondly, pro-bono lawyers will have less clients to represent who really really really can’t afford. I assume that number isn’t large. That way, they can also provide extra time for the people in serious need.

That way everyone would be a winner.

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Jason Dzubow September 23, 2016 at 6:19 am

I agree that only people who truly cannot afford a lawyer should use a pro bono lawyer, and these days, many pro bono resources are devoted to minor children seeking asylum, so resources are stretched very thin. Also, many organizations will not accept cases from people who can afford to hire a lawyer. I think it is also true that if you find a good private attorney (as opposed to a private attorney who is just interested in the money), you may be better off than if you have a pro bono lawyer because the private lawyer can devote more time to the case and has more experience with that area of the law. In my experience, though, the pro bono lawyers and law students usually do a great job for their clients, and I do not think the difference between them and private lawyers is all that much (thou again, your first point is crucial – people who can afford to hire a lawyer should not use scarce pro bono resources; plus, my children will thank you). Thank you for the comment, Jason

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Ai-ka September 22, 2016 at 2:43 pm

Hello Jason,

My wife has applied for asylum on her own, she has not received anything yet, it has been 6 months now, and according to people and threads it is taking long these days.
Now we are about the get the EAD after 150 days.

Question is,

How do you think is she needs a attorney if so when, will she need a attorney for interview or courts? Based on your experience what will be the best option for us and your best suggestion.

Thanks

Aika

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Jason Dzubow September 23, 2016 at 6:03 am

I wrote an article about whether an asylum applicant needs an attorney (there is a link to it in the article above). I am not sure what you mean when you say that she has not received anything. If she did not get a receipt or a fingerprint notice, then that is a problem, and you may want a lawyer to help with that. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow October 13, 2016 at 6:30 am

Sorry – I cannot answer specific questions like that. If you look at the USCIS webpage for the form, it should tell you where to file. Take care, Jason

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