The Perils and Pitfalls of Applying for a Green Card

by Jason Dzubow on November 13, 2017

In the past few weeks, we’ve had two former asylum clients return to our office for help after USCIS denied their applications for citizenship. The applications were denied due to mistakes the former clients made on their I-485 forms (the application for a green card). These cases illustrate the danger of incorrectly completing the I-485 form, and this danger is particularly acute for people with asylum.

The new Green Card application process.

Let’s start with a bit of background. After a person receives asylum, she must wait for one year before applying for her lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) status (her green card). The form used to apply for the green card is the I-485. In the good old days (a few months ago), this form used to be six pages. Now it is 18 pages. The old I-485 form contained 32 yes-or-no questions; the new form contains 92 such questions.

Many of these questions are difficult for me to understand, and I am a trained lawyer who speaks reasonably decent English. So you can imagine that people with more limited English, who are not familiar with the complicated terms and concepts contained in some of the questions, might have trouble answering.

In my clients’ cases, two questions in particular caused them trouble (these are from the old I-485). The first question was, “List your present and past membership in or affiliation with every organization, association, fund, foundation, party, club, society, or similar group in the United States or in any other place since your 16th birthday.” Both clients had been involved with political parties, but were no longer members of those parties in the United States. The clients did not carefully read the question, and instead of listing their “past membership,” they instead answered “none” (because they are no longer members).

The second question asked whether the clients had ever been “arrested, cited, charged, indicted, fined, or imprisoned for breaking or violating any law or ordinance, excluding traffic violations.” In fact, my clients had never been arrested for “breaking or violating any law or ordinance.” They were arrested for exercising their supposedly-lawful political rights, and they were correct to answer “no” to this question. Nevertheless, USCIS viewed their answers as deceptive.

My clients’ problems were compounded by the fact that they were never interviewed for their green cards, and so a USCIS officer never went over the questions with them and gave them an opportunity to correct the errors.

The result of all this—confusing questions, carelessness, and no interview—was that my clients obtained their green cards, but also sowed the seeds for future problems. Five years later, these problems appeared when the clients tried to naturalize, and USCIS went back and carefully reviewed their prior applications.

To me, my clients’ errors were clearly honest mistakes. Indeed, in their asylum applications, the clients had already informed USCIS about their party memberships and about their arrests, and so they had nothing to gain—and everything to lose—by failing to mention these issues in the I-485 form. But that is not how USCIS sees things. To them, the errors were “misrepresentations,” which disqualified my clients for citizenship.

To solve the problem, my clients will likely need to apply for waivers (an expensive application to seek forgiveness for making misrepresentations). Given that they are asylees, and that the misrepresentations were relatively minor, I suspect the clients will ultimately qualify for waivers and—eventually—become U.S. citizens. But between now and then, they will face a lot of unnecessary stress and expense. Unfortunately, this is the reality now-a-days for all applicants: If you leave yourself vulnerable, USCIS will bite you.

So what can be done? How can you protect yourself when completing the form I-485?

The key is to read each question carefully and make sure you understand what it means. This is time consuming and boring, but given that USCIS is looking for excuses to deny cases and cause trouble, you have little choice if you want to be safe.

Even using a lawyer is no guarantee. Until recently (when USCIS started looking for reasons to deny cases), I had a tendency to gloss over some of these questions. I am more careful now, but it’s not easy. Many of the questions are ridiculous: Are you a prostitute? Did you gamble illegally? Were you a Nazi in WWII? But intermingled with these questions are others that require closer attention: Did you ever have a J visa? Have you ever received public assistance? Have you ever been denied a visa? It’s easy to skim over these, but the consequences of an erroneous answer can be serious.

Also, some questions are tricky, and can’t easily be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” For example, my clients indicated that they had not been arrested for a crime, and this was correct, but they had been arrested for their (lawful) political activities, and USCIS took their answers as misrepresentations. What to do? When we complete I-485 forms and we encounter questions like this, we normally check “no” (or “yes” if that seems more appropriate) and circle the question. Next to the question, we write, “Please see cover letter,” and on the cover letter, we provide an explanation (“I was never arrested for a crime, but I was arrested by my home government for political reasons”). At least this avoids the problem of USCIS labeling your answer a misrepresentation.

In the end, the only real solution here is to read each question carefully, make sure you understand the question, and answer it appropriately. If the question is not amenable to a yes-or-no answer, or if you think an explanation is required, circle the question and provide an explanation. If you don’t understand something or are not sure, ask for help. It’s best to get the form correct now, even if that involves extra time or money, than to make mistakes that will cost you later on.

{ 194 comments… read them below or add one }

Seble December 6, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Hi Jason, I am back after almost 2 years. I used to follow your post while my asylum was pending and you helped me a lot. I sometimes check your blog to check how all those people are doing, I feel bad for everybody beceause I know how hard it is to be in in such position. I am with my family now and very thankful for that. So here I am again to ask you an advise as usually with full confidence to get them. By they way you have no idea how helpful your blog is, God bless you. Now I have the same issue. You know what I did immediately after I read my RFE? I opens your blog believing that you at some point would have posted on the issue and got exactly that. They send me RFE after a year of my green card application. Their main question is the I-485 part 3 #1b. I said no to that question with the same understanding as you stated above, I was arrested but not because I break the law rather I was trying to use my supposedly rights to speak…but in that same RFE they included the following:”if you submitted incorrect answers to any question and provided incorrect information, please submit an amended, initialed and dated form I-485 with all the correct answers and information”. I am wondering why they include this? Is that just routine form of there letter? In today’s environment I fear and may be over analyzing it but I am just courious if they are asking for future use saying we gave you the chance to respond. I don’t have the copy of my I-485 to double check my answers and was wondering what will be the negative consequences if I just answer there current question and see what they would say next. Thank you very much. Looking forward to read your response.


Jason Dzubow December 7, 2017 at 7:29 am

I am not sure I can tell exactly the issue from your message, and I recommend you show the letter to a lawyer and craft a response together. I have not seen a letter like that before, so I am not sure what the meaning is. If you think the only error was saying “no” to a question about criminal arrests, maybe you can respond with just an explanation (that you were not arrested for a crime, but for political activity). However, without seeing the letter, it is difficult to know what USCIS wants. I do recommend you show it to a lawyer – even if it costs you some money, it may save a lot of trouble in the long run. Take care, Jason


seble December 7, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Thank you Jason. I just copy and past it, after they asked to explain as to why I said no, in a new line they write what I just copy and pasted above. I don’t know what they mean but I will do as per your advice. Thankyou again.


Lutfun December 3, 2017 at 11:52 am

Hi Jason, I am Lutfun Nessa. My question is- I am applied political asylum in 2016. I am still waiting for my first interview. But my sister she is citizen here by DV lottery visa. So she applied for me in 2012. So is there any way that I can adjust with i130?


Jason Dzubow December 4, 2017 at 6:37 pm

The waiting period for siblings is more than 10 years (you can Google “DOS visa bulletin” to see). You are not eligible for a GC until then, and if that happened, you would most likely have to leave the US to get the GC. When/if the time comes, talk to a lawyer about how to proceed. Take care, Jason


Veronica November 30, 2017 at 7:21 pm

Hi Jason,

What are your thoughts about traveling back to home country after being naturalized?



Jason Dzubow December 1, 2017 at 7:19 am

I have only heard of people being denaturalized if they are war criminals or terrorists, so I think it is probably safe. However, if the US government believes that your asylum case was fake, they could (theoretically, at least) try to take away your citizenship and deport you. I think this possibility is pretty remote, but it is not impossible. Take care, Jason


Sanobil November 30, 2017 at 3:46 am

Hi Jason,

I just read this article and got worried and checked my I-485 form I had submitted a few years ago. Sure enough in the memberships I did not include the information about the “political groups” for the same reason as your client. I thought it was about groups in the US. I did include some club memberships that I had here in the US but not back home. My green card was approved. I also had interview for GC and the officer never checked or asked me that particular question. They only asked me other random questions about “commiting crimes” etc. I had no clue about this until today and it’s an innocent mistake. I had nothing to gain or lose from hiding that info. Do you think my citizenship will be denied? How does one fix this issue? What happens when the citizenship is denied? Do they deport you?


Jason Dzubow November 30, 2017 at 7:36 am

I think there are many people in the same situation, and I am not sure the best solution. I recommend you talk to a lawyer before you apply for citizenship. My thought is that probably when you apply for citizenship, you should inform USCIS about this error and explain why you made an error. There is a question on the citizenship application about whether you lied to gain an immigration benefit. I think you should probably say “no”, but I think you should circle the question and provide an explanation (about how you did not list your memberships because you thought it referred only to present memberships). The alternative is to ignore this and hope no one notices, and that could happen. But in my experience, when a person goes to USCIS and informs them about things, it works out better than if USCIS discovers the error themselves and then accuses you of misrepresenting yourself. By the way, the worst case here, realistically, is that you will need to file for a waiver to overcome the problem. It is very unlikely that this will result in you losing your status, but if you can avoid the waiver process, it will save you a lot of grief. Take care, Jason


Sanobil November 30, 2017 at 10:35 am

Hi Jason,

Thanks for your reply. I was checking form N400 and it seems that there is exactly the same question on this firm as well. What if we just ensure that we include the political group from back home here (obviously in addition to US memberships)? Would that give someone a legal protection against the so called claim of misrepresentation? It can be argued that if one wanted to misrepresent they would exclude the group here as well.

Also what is the LEGAL scope of this particular question? It asks about a group/association/club/organization etc you are involved with or in any way associated with? Does it include gym memberships? Golf/country clubs? Volunteer organizations? College clubs and groups? Sororities/Fraternities? Meetup groups? I am a member of my homeowners association – should I include that as well? If the scope is so broad, I’m sure many of us may end up inadvertently missing stuff and could be charged with misrepresentation. Also how accurate should the dates be? I am not sure I can remember all such membership details and exact start/end dates of every association I have been a part of.


Jason Dzubow November 30, 2017 at 6:38 pm

I agree with your first point, but I think there is no harm to inform USCIS that you made an error on the I-485. As to the second point, I agree that it is pretty vague. I think you just have to do your best. For example, since you thought of the HOA, you might as well mention it, but I think USCIS is basically looking for consistency between this question and the old I-589. Take care, Jason


Phil November 28, 2017 at 12:04 am

Hi Jason,
I have asylum based AOS pending as of 12/2013. I was granted derivative asylee status through my wife in 2009 . Inadvertently I failed to adjust before she naturalized. So I had to go thru the nunc pro tunc process. My nunc pro tunc asylum case has been pending since may 2014 with Chicago office and I had an interview in may 2017 and no decision so far.I have raised SR twice about AOS and they replied that my case is still pending conversion from derivative to principal status. My mom is aging and been having health issues and I want to travel to go see her but not in COP. I have a valid RTD issued this year but just worried as I never travelled outside US. Even to get my DL it’s a pain as they always asked about EAD and I know as an asylee, I don’t need to have an EAD. They usually do a manual check of my status and that take months. Some people suggested I can adjust as spouse of US citizen but I have to pay the fees again and don’t even know if it will be processed in timely manner. Please advise. Thank You


Jason Dzubow November 28, 2017 at 4:36 pm

I am not sure about this – if the nunc pro tunc has not been approved, it may be a bad idea to use the RTD. Talk to a lawyer to research that issue. Maybe an alternative is to try to process through your wife and get Advance Parole. You can avoid some of the fees by using form I-912 (fee waiver). Or you can contact the asylum office and ask whether they can process your nunc pro tunc faster given your mother’s health. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called asylum office locator. Take care, Jason


Kedar Upadhaya November 24, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Hello Jason,
I found this blog very interesting and helpful. Hope many asylum seekers are benefitted by your advise and suggestions. I am also an asylum seeker and we have filed the case ourselves from New York having my wife as a principle applicant. We both are approved for EAD and also received our EAD card. Now, I have moved to Ohio state for my study while my wife is still there in NY. We want to stay together and earn for living and for my study. So, we want to transfer the case from NY to Ohio. I searched and found that Newark, NJ deals with the cases of NY whereas Chicago with Ohio. I heard people saying that NY has better approval rate than Ohio state and afraid of transferring the case. What would be your suggestion for us? How likely is it to be approved from one state than the other?
Thank you very much.


Jason Dzubow November 24, 2017 at 5:19 pm

I did a post about this on February 25, 2016. I do not think it matters whether your case is in Chicago or NY – they are both decent offices. However, if you moved, you need to file a change of address (form AR-11, available at, unless you keep your old address too, and that is your permanent address.


Ann November 22, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Hi Jason, Thank you so much for the information you are providing. it’s really helpful. Please help me with 2 questions. My husband’s asylum received his asylum decision recently and he won the case. Now we are planning to apply for I 735 derivative asylum for me and I am residing in different country now as my husband claimed the asylum from his country. I have a property in my country. will that be an issue for my application and I also want to know if I can travel to my country anytime for a visit.


Sara November 22, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Hi Ann,
Would you be so kind as to share your timeline, and the office you applied in? Just the receipt, interview and approval dates, if possible.
Thanks in advance.


Jason Dzubow November 24, 2017 at 8:03 am

The form is the I-730 (available at Residing in a third country should have no effect – you can proceed the case there. Owning property in your country should have no effect either. Once you get asylum, it is probably not a good idea to travel to your home country. You can, and as a derivative, you probably face much less risk than if you were the main applicant (though this may depend on the reason why your husband got asylum), but the problem is that the government agents may not know whether you are a derivative or a principal, and so they could create problems for you. Also, these days, the government is looking for reasons to create problems, and so you may make yourself vulnerable by traveling to the home country. Take care, Jason


Ann November 26, 2017 at 3:26 am

Thank you so much Jason for your reply. It’s really helpful.


Sanela November 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Hi, Jason!

I have pending asylum for almost two years and now my company where I work wants to apply for my Green card cause they don’t wanna wait for so long, they want me to have my Green card ASAP.
What would be your best advice for me please?
Can they file for my Green card at the same time am pending asylum? And is it something like that possible to get straight Green card without being on some H1b or similar visa?
Am just worried since I have non-immigrant status how hard the process can be? And my company wants to resolve my status because they want me there permanent without having a worry if my asylum gets denied.

Thank you for your advice!
You are doing an excellent job! Cause its hard to find people who know anything about asylum. The lawyers I have met until now I had more info than them.

Best regards,


Jason Dzubow November 21, 2017 at 6:43 pm

If you are lawfully here on some visa, such as F or L or H1b, you may be able to get a GC based on employment. But if your only status in the US is asylum pending, you would need to leave the US and get the GC overseas. Depending on your case, this may or may not be possible. You need to find a lawyer who cab advise you about this – any good immigration lawyer should be able to do that. Most important: Make sure that if you start the process, you can finish it, and ask the lawyer whether you can get your GC in the US or whether you have to leave. Take care, Jason


Jozeppe December 4, 2017 at 5:35 am

Thanks Jason for your answer. I have the same situation as Sanela. I have heard that this issue is in a gray area is that correct? (meaning that nowhere in the law clearly says that asylum pending IS or IS NOT a valid status).
So my question is that is there even an slight possibility that USCIS approves our AOS application while in pending status? If yes then is it worth it to give it a shot? what would be the consequences of applying in pending status and getting rejected?


Jason Dzubow December 4, 2017 at 6:51 pm

It is not really a gray area – asylum pending is not considered “in status” for purposes of changing to another non-immigrant status or for adjusting status. If your only status is asylum pending, you can only adjust status if you marry a US citizen or if your over-21 US citizen child petitions for you. There are some limited other ways to adjust, but not many. If you think you might be able to, talk to a lawyer before you spend (waste?) money on filing for a GC where you may not be eligible. Take care, Jason


Alex November 21, 2017 at 10:43 am

Hello Dear Jason
All ways appreciate your efforts to make life easier for asylums
I have pending I485 case with USCIS since 12/30/2016 on November 8th 2017 I made inquiry about my case which is out of processing time with USCIS and they have responded today and this is their response:
Your I-485 application is currently with an adjudicating officer. We will make every effort to issue a decision or notice of further action on your case as soon as possible.

Do you think is it a good sign that they are going to make decision soon or it’s typical response

Thanks in advance for your attention and efforts


Jason Dzubow November 21, 2017 at 6:33 pm

It may be a good sign – it is difficulty to know. I will say that I-485 adjudications are slow for many people, and I would not put a lot of faith in the posted processing time. Take care, Jason


Ad November 20, 2017 at 7:45 pm

Hi Jason. I have question. I did my individual hearing in court 3 months ago in August 2017. After hearing IJ approved my case and told me that u will get decision on 30 Nov 2017 because they gave me the earlier date for my hearing so they did not checked my backgrounds so judge told me that in Nov u will get the decision but now we received the letter and they saying that u will come on June 2018 for decision. Do I don’t know why they change my date. So plz tell me how can I write to the judge that plz expedite my decision because my wife and childs are still in problem. And I ask my lawyer to plz write the letter and he told me that he already call the court so let see but my lawyer is not cooperating with me so plz tell me is there any way that I can write or call to court about my decision expedited because I done my individual hearing. Advance thanks for ur reply.


Jason Dzubow November 21, 2017 at 7:08 am

Such delays are very common – it might relate specifically to your case, or it may have nothing to do with your case. I would be careful about communicating with the court without telling your lawyer, as that can create problems. But if you need the court contact info, it is at right, if you follow the link called Immigration Court. Take care, Jason


Ad November 21, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Thanks Jason for your reply. But Iam just want to know that if my lawyer is not write a letter can I write a letter to the court for expedite the decision or I just simply wait for next hearing. Thanks


Jason Dzubow November 21, 2017 at 6:53 pm

You can send a letter to the court, but I think it is a bad idea to act independently of your lawyer. If you do send such a letter, you also need to send a copy to DHS counsel (the prosecutors). At least tell your lawyer what you plan to do, and hopefully discuss it with him, as he knows your case, and I do not. Take care, Jason


lulu November 20, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Much detailed and useful information everyone of us should read it all over again and again!! Thank you Jason!
Waiting for my interview decision eight months and no news yet…SF office did it because the overwhelming volume or just purposely made the asylum application tougher and more time consuming…?


Jason Dzubow November 21, 2017 at 7:06 am

I think it is a combination of volume, security checks, and bureaucracy. If you have not done so, you might inquire with the asylum office about the status of your case. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason


lulu November 22, 2017 at 4:02 am

A guy I know who did the inquiries many times through all ways he could has been waiting for over 2 yrs and still no news yet, so it seems it didn’t work that well?? I mean in these days the delays after interview happen much often in SF than other offices? Thank you Jason!


Jason Dzubow November 22, 2017 at 7:22 am

Such delays are everywhere. I think the inquiries are basically useless in terms of making the case go faster (though once in a while, they might help), but at lest they sometimes let you know the status of your case. For old cases, maybe the only real option is the mandamus lawsuit. Take care, Jason


lulu December 1, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Thank you Jason!! I’d have to be more patient and God has been treating me great all the time I never lose faith on him!

Mahek November 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm

I would like to share this information since it will be helpful to anyone who is going to apply for EAD for the firs time.
I applied for my EAD for the first after completing 150 days.
10 October 2017.
In about 10 days from then I received a receipt from USCIS Texas office stating that my application has been received as of 13 October.

It was with this receipt number I checked my case status online ( only used to check status of EAD card) on USCIS website.

On 8th November, I had an update stating my new card is being produced. On 14 November, It stated card has been mailed out to you. Finally on 18 November I received my card along with Social security cards.
This is because under the new process, starting 02 October 2017 all new applications for Employment Authorisation will not need to submit seperate applications for social security.
The information will be mailed directly from USCIS to SSN office in order to produce new cards for applicants.
Many of us were not sure if the new process is in place, And I can confirm this new process has been implemented and is functioning.
All the best to whoever goes to apply for it in the future.


Jason Dzubow November 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Thank you for sharing – it is encouraging to hear that something is working, and in a timely way. Take care, Jason


Khush Shah November 22, 2017 at 7:46 am

Hi Mahek,
I have some queries in my mind, can i communicate with you personally please, if ok, pls drop me a hi on shahdigant123 (at)

sorry, no offence to Jason or others, but need to clear some doubts in my mind. thanks.


Yene November 20, 2017 at 10:24 am

How are you guys and dear Jason
I am really appreciate the forum and advise to help the asylum seekers in this taught day for all immigrants , saying to all let God also help us on our case and daily life
I had an interview on first week of September in Arlington office , which had been taking two days to complete the interview and I was informed when the interview is over that to pick up my decision after two weeks , but at the end of the week I have got a phone call which telling me that the decision is not ready so you don’t have to come to pick up your decision , we will mail you to your address , now it is about 3 or + months without knowing my decision and I was thinking may be the office has a lot jobs to do and Bessy
1 . is that a normal condition or what do think why it takes to long time to known the decision after having a long interview which is almost 8 hr
2 does any one had the same experience getting long time to know the decision
3 what makes this to be long, once you had an i interview
4 what and why some people get their decision soon and others taking too long
5 after the interview how the decision made , is the AO only the one make the decision or he/she has to discuss the case with someone else to get the decision
6 can any one highlight me how they handle the case after interview , how long will be on the fiel , there is no due time on their system
Thanks for you time guys and dear Jason


Adam November 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm

If this helps.
I did my interview in Arlington office in Nov 2015 and I am still waiting a decision. First they said to pickup my decision after two week but then they called me on the second week and they said they will mail me the decision. I went more 6 times to Arlington and every time they tell me my case is under review. I know another person who did the same time as me and he is still waiting the decision.


Celia November 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Wow that sounds extremely long time to wait for a decision. Did you try reaching out to a senator or ombudsman?


Sara Hope November 20, 2017 at 4:56 pm

I did my interview February 2017 in Chicago office and still waiting for decision – 9 months now


Celia November 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm

That’s not so good 🙁
I wish you guys a decision soon!

Jason Dzubow November 20, 2017 at 6:33 pm

1 – Unfortunately, it is normal. More than 50% of my “pick up” decisions get changed to “mail out.” 2 – I have lots of clients who are waiting. Most are Muslim, and most are men, but not all. 3 – Usually it is the security check, but there can be many different reasons. 4 – It depends on the complexity of the case and security checks, and probably other factors too. 5 – The AO makes the decision, but it must be cleared with the supervisor. If the supervisor disagrees, they have to work it out. This does sometimes happen at Arlington. 6 – There is no time limit, but you can contact them and inquire about the case. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason


Anuj November 20, 2017 at 1:34 am

Hi Jason ,

I am regular follower of your blog , I am Indian in deep trouble situation with hope you can guide me , I came to US last year 2016 and applied Assylum in LA in month of December 2016 with help of Indian lawyer initially he was good and asked fees of 7000$ break into 1500$ upfront and 500$monthly from date of applying work permit , I was supposed to apply for work permit in May 2017 , I run out of money and due to immigration raid was not able to get job , I had kept some money in my home country india with my friend which he was supposed to send but if u recall Nov 2016 there was denomination issue in India where my friend and lot were stuck and he was unable to send me my money which would have helped me for next 6 month till I got my work permit , I was in US with my wife , only option what my friend suggested was to come back at take money as he was unable to transfer I asked help from my lawyer but he said he will only help first I pay 500$ for work permit which I was not having so I decided to leave US without any payroll but I didn’t went to India I went to Nepal and I am staying there for last few month as it took some time to get my money now I have my money , my lawyer is greedy and I don’t trust him will you handle my case and can I come back to US with my wife I don’t know what happen to my case also as my lawyer is not responding he just took 1500$ and whenever I call her office assistant says he is out of office , pls tell any way to return I know I have done blunder to leave US


Jason Dzubow November 20, 2017 at 7:58 am

First, you have to see whether you can return to the US. If you have Advance Parole (which you would have applied for before you left), you should be able to return. If not, and if you have a visa, you can try to return, but you may be detained at the airport, especially if you are using a tourist visa (B visa). If that happens, you can ask for asylum at the airport, but you might remain detained through the process and have to do your case with a judge and while in detention. I do not what your contract says with the lawyer, and so I do not know whether he is violating the agreement. But failing to communicate with a client is generally a violation, and so you should keep a record of your attempts to reach him. You might also email and say that his failure to communicate violates the Rules of Professional Conduct and that if he does not respond, you will file a bar complaint (whether you pay or not, he needs to follow the rules). Of course, threatening him may poison your relationship with him, but that is something you will need to decide. Good luck, Jason


Anuj November 20, 2017 at 11:17 am

Thanks Jason ,

I am thankful that you replied , he made 2 page contract in his favor since he was Indian we didn’t ask many question contract simply says 1500$ at time of hiring lawyer which i paid by my chase bank and 500$ monthly for 13 month from date of filing work permit , he even refused to advice me when i was in LA that how can i get my money as i m having trouble in paying rent , he clearly argued that i m your immigration lawyer i dont care you are Indian don’t waste my time asking unnecessary question if u want any advice you need to pay me more fees this behavior was shocking me because he was very humble before we gave case to him , may be he is not replying since i have left US and he think he will not get any further money . is there any way i can come US without detention else it will not solve the purpose of earning livelihood , if i can get work permit than i can earn for my family , I didn’t applied for advance payroll since i panicked with no money left , i had flight credit which helped me in reaching Nepal . is there way you can take my case , should i mail my case in detail to your email id .


Mahek November 20, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Anuj, I am actually very upset hearing your case. Please do not come back to US if the only way for you to stay here is in detention center.
You have a whole life ahead of you. You took a decision in haste. Now overcome it, God willing you will have oppurunities else where with the money you have in hand.
You have a wife and it will be unfair for her if something is going to be a negative. Try your best to raise yourself out of the situation Nepal for now and then think of a better oppurtunity.
I wish you had applied for advance parole before you left the country. It would be ok for you to come back safe since you did not go to a country you fear persecution.
All the best for the future. Think twice before you take a step further.


Jason Dzubow November 20, 2017 at 6:37 pm

Lawyer generally only do work they are hired for, and so I am not surprised he did not advise you on the money issues. However, he is required to respond to you (lawyers have a duty to communicate with clients). You might try to apply for a new visa to the US, or if you have a visa, come back with that visa, but I think for most visas, you risk being detained at the airport when you arrive here (assuming you can even get on the plane). If you have an H1b or L visa, maybe you will have an easier time. I do very little work for people outside the US, so I am not the best person to advice you on this. You need to find a lawyer who helps with visas (as opposed to asylum for people already in the US). Take care, Jason


Nevadi November 19, 2017 at 8:39 pm

Hi Jason, do you know what are the countries that i can traval with RTD? Thank you so much for your support and valuble information.


Jason Dzubow November 20, 2017 at 7:39 am

I do not know (but of course, do not travel to your home country). You would have to check the embassy website for the country or contact the embassy to ask. Take care, Jason


Nevadi November 21, 2017 at 9:01 pm

Thanks Jason…


Asylum seeker November 19, 2017 at 7:13 pm

Is there anyone who has filed in the Newark office?what’s the timeline right now?


Jason Dzubow November 20, 2017 at 7:36 am

We have had several cases there recently, and I believe the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin (link is at right) is accurate as to the interview schedule. We have seen some delays recently with getting decisions after the interview, though, but only for two cases (so far), so hopefully that is not a trend. Take care, Jason


Asylum seeker November 21, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Thank you so much Jason for your reply
I have even expedited my case as my both kids are in home country.
I applied in august 2016


Mahek November 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Hi Jason

Thank you very much for helping us with all the questions we send to you. I have been following your blog for sometime now.
and wanted to share my news with you.
We have finally received our EAD and Social security.
On the social security card it mentions Valid for work with DHS authorisation. Can you explain what does this mean.

Secondly, From here we need to apply our id and need to file for taxes. Can you briefly explain how can we register for taxes.
We have started looking for jobs, does it mean that our social security number will directly help us to pay taxes and link everything that needs to or do we need to do some paper work to get things in place.

Also, this question is to anyone who is reading my post.
Does anyone know of any groups on social media for asylum applications where we can all post questions and answers to help each with real experiences.
Many thanks to one and all and especially to you Jason for being this soul with a kind heart in helping strangers like us.


Jamie November 19, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Hello Maheek,

Congratulations on receiving what appears to be your first EAD and Social Security card!

To answer your first question, you should know that they are three types of Social Security cards:

– The first one shows your name and Social Security number. This one is usually given to US citizens and people who are admitted to the US on a permanent basis. Some examples of people who are admitted to the US on a permanent basis are permanent residents (PR card holders), asylees (people who are granted asylum), refugees, etc. Asylees are technically permanent though the status can be revoked. This Social Security card is unrestricted.

– The second one (the one that you have) shows your name, Social Security number and the information: “VALID FOR WORK WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION ONLY”. These Social Security cards are usually given to people who are admitted to the US on a temporary basis- students on F-1 & J-1 visas, for example; seasonal workers, asylum applicants, etc. What it essentially means is that you must apply to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for authorization before you can legally work in the US. The restriction is that the work authorization is temporary (it usually has a time when the work authorization ends), and if you need to work legally again, after the time printed on the work authorization document expires, you have to be given authorization again by DHS. That’s where the renewal of your EAD will come into play when your current cards expires two years later.

– The third one just gives you a Social Security number and does not authorize you to work. Sometimes there are people who are admitted to the US lawfully and need a social security number for non-work reasons.

Please note that you may apply for the unrestricted Social Security card after you have been granted asylum. When you are granted asylum, you can use your state ID and unrestricted Social Security card to apply for jobs. You DON’T have to renew the EAD after you’ve won asylum as you would have been eligible for an unrestricted Social Security card (the one in the first category). Unrestricted Social Security cards usually means that you don’t need DHS’ authorization to work legally in the US. You may also use the EAD and the unrestricted SS card as proof of employment eligibility.

You second question seems unclear. If you are currently working and paying taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), then you can file for your taxes using the number that you currently have. It is important to pay taxes and file for your tax returns even if you are undocumented/not authorized to work.

If your are not currently working/never worked, you have to first find the job and fill out the W-4 forms so taxes can be deducted from your pay. When you’re doing the on-boarding process for your new job, you and your new employer can go over the tax forms so that the correct amount of taxes will be withheld from your pay. The tax season in the US (the time-frame when you can file for your tax returns) is usually between January 1 and April 15. Your employer will send you the W-2 form so you can file for your tax returns. Instructions on filing for your tax returns usually accompany the W-2 form.

To answer question three, I think this blog is one of the best out there when it comes to helping asylum applicants with general/generic questions and answers. No site is going to advise you for free unless your questions are general questions that can be answered without necessarily knowing the specifics of your case.

BTW, I am doing my MSc degree in Accounting so I have an OK knowledge about Social Security cards and Taxes.

Jason, feel free to add to what I have advised.


Mahek November 20, 2017 at 12:00 am

Many thanks Jamie for your kind wishes and Thank you for taking time to write all of this.

Its very helpful to have this information. we are paying our lawyer so much of money but he never explains things to us. All we know is that we need to find our way ourselves and its difficult sometimes. If we ask him a question in advance he thinks we are trying to step on his shoes and we are trying to be smart.
I found this blog about 6 months ago and find it very helpful.
At the same time I concerned as to how many post can you have on this blog. Jason is being very kind to answer all of the question everyone posts here and he never makes anyone feel wrong even though sometimes our questions could be too many to respond.

I have not started to work as yet but my husband has been working part time to make ends meet.
It has been very hard with all the expenses and especially after we have been rejected by our very own aunt.
Hence I need to know how soon can we file for taxes. Does it mean that our employer would go with us to IRS or will we be able to do this at the time of signing the contract?
Also I have a 3 year old son for whom I will need health insurance can you help us know if we are able to get a medical insurance. Do we need to go to nearest welfare office or the health district.

Can my husband and myself obtain medical insurance too? ( Medicare/Medicaid)

Many thanks for helping.


Jason Dzubow November 20, 2017 at 7:44 am

I think you should not worry too much about the taxes – just talk to a tax professional and they will guide you (there are many, but the only big company I know that does this is H&R Block). As for insurance, most lawyers – including me – do not know much about this. However, if you Google “Catholic Charities Immigration” + your city in the US, you should find the Catholic Charities office and they can probably guide you about this, as they usually know more than private lawyers about insurance. They help everyone too – it does not matter if you are Catholic or not. Take care, Jason


Jason Dzubow November 20, 2017 at 7:33 am

This is helpful – I don’t know a lot about SS cards. The only thing I would add is that while you technically can work without an EAD if you win asylum, most employers will want to see it, and so it is a good idea to have it (and in any case, you get one for free if you win). Thank you, Jason


Jason Dzubow November 20, 2017 at 7:29 am

The SS card is only valid to work if you also have a valid EAD – that is normal for people who are not US citizens or do not have a green card. I cannot help with taxes; you just need to file. Maybe talk to an accountant or an organization like H&R Block for help. I am not sure about forums for asylum seekers; I would be interested to know about that as well. Take care, Jason


Ritz Zehra November 18, 2017 at 10:33 pm

Hi Jason, I have a quick question. My whole family filed asylum last year, but my father has some business in the home country, he has a 5 year visa which expires in 2020, he wants to go back and stay there for 2 months and then come back and file asylum again. Is it possibl?


Nyc November 19, 2017 at 4:24 am

he is over stay He can not come back here for three years
His visa is already terminated. If he want to get a new visa I can tell you forget about America


Jason Dzubow November 19, 2017 at 11:25 am

It is very likely that when he tried to come back, either he will be denied access to the plane or – more likely – detained upon arrival in the US (then he will have to seek asylum at the airport; he may get out of jail if he passes a credible fear interview, but maybe not). Also, the return trip will very likely ruin the asylum case, as USCIS views returning home as a good reason to deny. All-in-all, retuning home is very bad for his asylum case. Take care, Jason


Mike November 18, 2017 at 7:51 pm

Hi Jason,
Thank you for your website!

I have few questions about new green card application based on asylum.
1.I know that asylum an exception to become a public charge. However, it is still important to answer correctly question yes/no.
Except obvious things , such as welfare, stamps or any form cash, what doest it count as public assistance? Is (Obama care) heath insurance public assistance, where people pay for health insurance based on income? Is it yes or no?
And some programs such as federal low-income housing tax credit program. Is it public assistance? Is it yes or no?
2. The part 8 the question number 25.
Does it include parking violations? yes or no
3. The part 8 the questions number 16 and 17. If the answer on both questions YES, do they require the waiver? Which one? or both?

Many thanks Jason


Jason Dzubow November 19, 2017 at 11:23 am

1 – You have to answer that question correctly, like all questions. I do not know what exactly is considered “public charge,” but if you received any type of government benefit based on low income or for another reason, it is best to mention that – then USCIS can decide whether it is relevant. Failing to mention it could result in USCIS claiming that you tried to hide something. 2&3 – I cannot answer specific questions about the case, but the main point is that you do not want USCIS to think you are lying. Just circle any question where you are not sure, and provide a written explanation with your form. That way, you will be protected. If you fear that you might not be eligible for the GC, talk to a lawyer about the specific reasons and get some advice before you pay the $1,225 for the green card. Take care, Jason


L.F November 18, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Hello Jason
Now that my interview is coming in next two weeks, is it good idea to mention: this year my aunt died, my grandfather died too, my dad is really sick in hospital last two months, wich i can prove with pic and documents…my fiancé stop university because of presion…if the interview gets emotional is good or no ?! I think I’m gonna try & will be strong whatever happens…
Appreciate, take care


Jason Dzubow November 19, 2017 at 11:19 am

I did a posting about asylum interviews on September 8, 2016 – maybe that would help. I think if the deaths are relevant to your case, you can mention them. Getting emotional at an interview is not a problem. Some people fake emotion, because they think it helps, but in my opinion, it is often obvious that they are faking and it is counter-productive. Take care, Jason


Sara November 19, 2017 at 11:36 am

I’m so sorry about what you’ve been through 🙁 I hope your dad gets well soon.
I was holding onto all my strength during my interview because I didn’t want to get emotional. I hate crying in front of people, and I also didn’t want emotions hindering my ability to focus and do my absolute best. One particular incident that I had to discuss kind of ruined that for me and I lost my composure ever so briefly, but managed to power through.
Just be honest and give every detail you know about the incidents in your statement. You’ll do well and be back here with us waiting on your decision. 😊


L.F November 19, 2017 at 6:25 pm

I’m gonna try to be concentrated only in my case, my statment, political process in my country (today election day there), and trying to remember everything
Thank you


Sara November 20, 2017 at 9:20 pm

Hey L.F.,
I remember you mentioned that one of your friends is supposed to pick up their decision on the 21st (tomorrow). Did it get changed to a mail out decision?


Morenike November 18, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Hello Everyone,pls how long does first EAD take,thanks in anticipation .


Jason Dzubow November 19, 2017 at 11:16 am

We (in the Washington, DC area) see first time EADs based on asylum pending taking 3 or 4 months in most cases. Take care, Jason


Sara November 19, 2017 at 11:57 am

My first EAD took a little over a month in NY, husband’s took 3 months, and so did my daughter’s.


Jason Dzubow November 20, 2017 at 7:20 am

We see this as well – some EADs take longer than others, and we have no idea why. They say that consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, but a bit more predictability from USCIS would be appreciated. Take care, Jason


Sara November 20, 2017 at 10:14 am

Well, my interest was sufficiently piqued by this, and I went searching for hobgoblins. I was not disappointed.
“To be great is to be misunderstood”. That must be why the great USCIS with its policies and inconsistencies would be misunderstood by a simpleton like me. I think we may have solved this mystery.


Ana November 18, 2017 at 11:55 am

Hi Jason,

I hope all is well! I am in a very stressfull situation. My EAD was approved and sent to me in June but I never received it because it got lost by USPS but they said they delivered it. I re applied for replacement card on July 26 with another $410. I received the notice about they received my information. It is Now almost end of November I haven’t heard anything. I called a few time and all they do it a Service request and if I don’t receive anything call again. I have done this 3 times. I am about to lose my job because with the notice it only extended for 90 days. If I don’t receive anything in a week I will lose my job. I read something online about contacting the governer – is this something pending asylees can do? Is there anything else that can be done since this is a replacement card. I would appreciate any help. Thank you


Ml November 19, 2017 at 2:07 am

Please can you make sure your address is correct? Can u also make sure you have updated details on site?
Its strange how you have been trying for so long and the card doesnt get to you.
All the best i hope you get it soon!


Jason Dzubow November 19, 2017 at 11:15 am

I do not think it will help to contact the governor, but maybe there is something they can do. Normally, people contact their congressional representative, but that is rarely helpful. You might try making an Info Pass appointment at and going in person to ask about the status of the card. Sometimes, that works better than calling. Also, if the original card was actually issued, maybe there is some your employer can verify employment eligibility using e-verify, but that I am not sure about. Good luck, Jason


Gemo November 18, 2017 at 7:25 am

Hi jason,
I need your advise please , i want to submit my asylum and i have two choice, i can lives in New Jersey or new york and i can lives in Tennessee too, as i read your article i knew many things about new york and jersey offices, time for interview and percentage of wins , but i don’t know anything about new orleans LA office just i see monthly report of interviews i found they make interview for who filled in feb 16 ,
I just need from you any data about new orleans office % of wins , officers are good or not ? and this is really they interview now Feb 16, some one told me this office is new , is it real ? And advise my where make my case , ny or nj or tn
*about me i’am christian single from Egypt

Many thanks jason and god bless you and your family


Nyc November 18, 2017 at 9:49 pm

Go to San Francisco is fast and more chance to win


Gemo November 18, 2017 at 11:52 pm

I hope that but i havent any connection or relatives there for support me ;(


Jason Dzubow November 19, 2017 at 10:28 am

I have not seen any info about the NO office – it is a sub-office of Houston, TX and so we have normally relied on data for that office, though now I suppose the NO office is more independent. I wrote a blog post with data on Houston on February 25, 2016, and maybe that would be a bit helpful. Take care, Jason


L.F November 17, 2017 at 11:59 pm

Jason based on your experience and in your knowledge, what is the best way to thanks the officer or is the good thing to do that ?


Jason Dzubow November 19, 2017 at 8:24 am

I think the most you should do is send an email or letter stating that the officer treated you professionally and fairly. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason


A-dreamer November 17, 2017 at 10:10 am

Hi Jason. Your consistency is amazing and inspires me always. Kindly allow me to share this resource and also encourage Asylees to go to my new WEBSITE for more resources and news. Thanks and God Bless. Fellow Asylee.


Ml November 19, 2017 at 2:10 am

Is there a group on facebook where we can join and share questions and answers?


A-Dreamer November 29, 2017 at 11:38 am

Not one am aware of, but The Asylumist is the best website where you will get the most accurate and free information.


Jason Dzubow November 29, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Thanks – we does what we can…


Tekin November 17, 2017 at 8:12 am


I have a master hearing coming in December, do I need to give fingerprint again? my initial fingerprint was back in March 2015.


Jason Dzubow November 17, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Probably not, at least not for the MCH, but you or your lawyer can double check with DHS counsel at the MCH to see if that might be needed for the individual hearing. Take care, Jason


kd November 16, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Hello Jason ! I really need your opinion about my case !
I enlisted in ARMY ( Active Duty ) but I didn’t get a chance to be shipped to a basic training.It takes a long process for international people to be shipped to the basic training. Later I get hurt my arm and cancelled my enlisted contract before going to the basic training . Since I am going to fill I-485 for green card application based on asylum, Do I answer “yes or no ”
for the question asking that I have been a member of any military service on part 8 ( 1) ?


Jason Dzubow November 17, 2017 at 7:20 am

This is a question that seems to require explanation – you can answer whatever you think is more appropriate, circle the question, and provide an explanation that you send along with your I-485. Of course, if you served in the military in another country, you need to mention that too. Take care, Jason


L.F November 16, 2017 at 6:45 pm

Hello to everyone!
First of all, Sara & everyone here hope gets good news from USCIS..
Second, Sara did they told you for results: to go and get it or they gonna mail that to you ? Two different things…
Third, i got invitation to appear for the interview end of this month in NYAO… applied back in May 2015
In next to week idk how to be happy or worried?!


Jason Dzubow November 16, 2017 at 6:49 pm

Be happy – and make sure all your documents are filed and that you are ready. I did a blog post on September 8, 2016 that might help. Good luck, Jason


Sara November 16, 2017 at 8:24 pm

I responded to your comment below, L.F.
Why did you say pick-ups and mail-outs are two different things? Besides the trip to Bethpage.


Sara November 17, 2017 at 7:48 am

I realized last night that I had overstated one of my dates by two months while answering a question. We have the officer’s code from when he asked us to email him our passport scans because he wanted to make sure he photocopied everything, so I asked my lawyer if we should correct that answer, and she said there’s no need since the discrepancy is small. I trust her and have always gone with whatever advice she’s given me in the past, so I am doing the same this time and hoping for the best. I started watching an old documentary on asylum when I got my invitation letter that I didn’t finish, and one particularly knowledgeable officer was saying it’s usually applicants who are telling the truth that may have a discrepancy here and there — that the airtight stories are usually the made up ones. Hope my officer sees it that way! 🙂


Sim November 17, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Hi Sara,
Which state did u file you case and how long the interview???


Sara November 17, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Hey Sim,
NY. It lasted around 2.5 hours but that’s just a guesstimate. We didn’t keep track of the time.

Sara November 17, 2017 at 10:57 pm

So I just remembered what I said during the interview, and it turns out I never misstated the date and I stopped at “I don’t remember the exact date”. My anxiety was playing tricks on me. I asked my lawyer to check her notes which she should be able to verify soon, but I’m 80% sure for now. Whew! This should make the wait a lot more bearable!


Celia November 17, 2017 at 10:18 am

You should be happy! I think they’re trying to reduce the workload before the holidays.
Make sure you’re prepared and good luck!!!
I think ours is coming up soon, filed early June, 2015.
Fingers crossed.


Political Asylumist November 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Congratulations Sara. I am also waiting for the decision. My interview was at the beginning of November and it has been more than 2 weeks of silence.

My interview was on a circuit ride location and the AO asked me to send some more documents in one week after the interview (I sent them in 1 day). These were very minor documents about what I said in the interview and I believe he just wanted to validate the things I said.

Also, I asked when I can get the decision and he replied me in a couple of weeks to months. I hope it won’t take that long but we will see.

By the way, my interview lasted for an hour and the first 20min was about checking the information in the form. Right after that he asked me about why you fear and what will happen if you go back to your country.

Please update us on the decision.


Sara November 17, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Thank you! And I wish you all the best with your decision 🙂
For some reason, they seem to either take the 2 weeks, or 3-5 months. Folks start entering their receipt numbers in the “my case status” field on the USCIS website after their interviews, to see if they get a message that their EAD fees have been waived which signals an approval. Maybe we can pass the time doing that. Can’t hurt! It seems to only give that message when you’re about to be mailed the decision, though, so that may take a while.
Either way, keep us posted on your decision and I will do the same.


Political Asylumist November 17, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Yes, I am checking everyday to see the good news. I hope it will not take that long. I know some people say even 3 months is short but the wait kills me and I am seriously tired of all the problems I was trying to deal with. I heard that 2/3 of the cases are adjudicated in a month but I really don’t know.

During this time, I read all the immigration forums, all the immigration laws and all the entries and comments in Asylumist 🙂

Sara November 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm

The wait is tricky. Hope you hear your good news soon!

Jason Dzubow November 17, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Good luck – it does sometimes take longer than they estimate, but be patient and hopefully you will get good news soon. Take care, Jason


Celia November 20, 2017 at 9:42 am

Hi L.F.!
Which day of may did you apply? I just checked my receipt and it’s the first couple of days in June, so we should get the invitation soon too I think.


Sara November 20, 2017 at 10:25 am

I’m supposed to be picking up my decision end of the month — unless I get that dreaded call. I’ll be wearing my ombré pink aviators for either one of you, you or L.F., to spot me if you’re there lol


Sim November 16, 2017 at 3:29 pm

Jason ,

Just wanted One suggestion my case is filled in Miami. But if I move to Arlington Asylum Office office do you think I have better chance of winning? What you suggest San Francisco or
Arlington Asylum Office.which one is better?


Jason Dzubow November 16, 2017 at 6:44 pm

I am kind-of indifferent to picking offices based on likelihood to win (though there are those who disagree with me on this point). I did a post about this on February 25, 2016 – it is a bit dated, but maybe it will help. Take care, Jason


Sim November 17, 2017 at 12:35 pm

I read what u asked me to but I m still not sure which Place is better sf or Arlington va? Any suggestions


Jason Dzubow November 17, 2017 at 4:56 pm

I really have no suggestion – I do not think it much matters, but if it is all the same to you, maybe the approval rate in SF is a bit higher than Virginia. Take care, Jason


Meli November 16, 2017 at 9:56 am

Hi Jason, I am going to apply for my GC on March 2018, the thing is I requested a refugee travel document. I am going to a third country to see my family, I am arranging my trip from April 2018 to June 2018, is it better if I applied for the GC and leave or should I do it when I comeback? I don’t know the timeline for the GC, and if I have to give the biometrics, in those traveling time, it will mess up a lot of things for me? What’s your suggestion?
Thank you!


Jason Dzubow November 16, 2017 at 6:33 pm

Usually, the biometrics appointment is about 1 or 2 months after you file the I-485, so if you plan to file in March and leave in April, that may be a problem. If so, it is better to wait until you return, or to file in March and delay your trip until after the biometrics. Take care, Jason


Alee November 16, 2017 at 3:59 am

Hi Jason,
My wife applied in 09/14, interviewed 02/16 we are still waiting for decision. Every 6 months we made an inquiry. First 2 times it was a standard reply that decision has not been made but this time Chicago office replied as follows:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) records confirm that your client’s cases stated below are still pending at this time. USCIS is committed to adjudicating immigration benefits in a timely and efficient manner while also ensuring public safety, national security and compliance with all relevant directives. While the processing steps for most applications or petitions are completed quickly, a small percentage of cases involve unresolved issues that may result in adjudication delays. For example, if our review reveals an issue that may impact an individual’s eligibility for the requested immigration benefit, further inquiry is needed. The inquiry may include an additional interview and/or contact with another agency for updates or more comprehensive information. We are unable to determine at this time when the review process for the application will be completed. USCIS is unable to render a decision on your client’s case until certain issues are resolved. We are striving to resolve these issues as soon as possible. We understand that your client’s may be frustrated by the progress of their case. However, USCIS must balance individual inconvenience against broader issues of public safety and national security.

My question is could this be standard new replying format or do you think its our case specific?


Jason Dzubow November 16, 2017 at 7:25 am

This seems familiar, but I am not sure – I would guess that it is the standard reply for cases that have been tagged for extra review. Sometimes, it is possible to get a bit more specific info from a USCIS Ombudsman inquiry, so that may be worth a try. The new Ombudsman is a former advocate for an anti-immigration group, and so I have less confidence that they will be helpful, but it is free and hope springs eternal, so maybe it is worth a shot. Also, that would be a good step to do before filing a mandamus lawsuit, if the client is thinking about doing that. Take care, Jason


Sara Hope November 16, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Hi , would you mind sharing the nature of your wife’s case , is it political? And from which country are u , hope things will eventually workout well for your wife


Basil November 15, 2017 at 8:32 pm

Dear Jason I have a pending asylum application,the situation in Lebanon is deteriorating Can I ask for a stat asylum interview ?


Jason Dzubow November 16, 2017 at 7:20 am

That is not a strong basis to expedite an interview, but maybe if you have family (spouse, minor children) in Lebanon, and you can say that they are in danger, that is a basis to expedite. I wrote about expediting cases on March 30, 2017 – maybe that would help. Take care, Jason


Sara November 15, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Dear Jason, Team NY & all,
I just had my interview today at the NY AO. My lawyer and I are very happy with how it went. The officer was professional, courteous and kind. I got asked a lot of questions that included some very smart ones that I appreciated. Excellent job by the officer. They tried to get my 3-year-old to take the oath and she sort of danced the Macarena instead so we scrapped that plan.
All in all, a good, truly stressful day. I had to update my asylum fam even though I’m nursing a headache.
Receipt Date: 04/27/15
Interview Date: 11/15/17

Good luck to us all!


Anonymous November 15, 2017 at 5:55 pm

Good results and best wishes for you sara.


Sara November 15, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Thank you so much for the kind wishes 😊 All the best to you too!


Joe November 15, 2017 at 9:24 pm

Congratulations sara you have finally crossed that path, I wish you a successful out come.


Sara November 15, 2017 at 11:53 pm

Many thanks, Joe! I wish you all the best with your case, as well 😊


Hanif November 16, 2017 at 2:33 am

Thanks Sara,
For your update.can you kindly inform me about your case.i mean is it a political asylum or anything else.



Sara November 16, 2017 at 10:12 am

Hi Hanif,
I can tell you that it falls into two of the protected groups.


Jason Dzubow November 16, 2017 at 7:08 am

That is good news (however, I prefer the Mashed Potato to the Macarena, but it may be a generational thing). I think most of the officers are like this. Hopefully, you will get a good decision soon – the wait between the interview and the decision can be difficult, but it is hopefully the final step. Good luck, Jason


Sara November 16, 2017 at 10:16 am

Thank you, Jason 😊
She heard “raise your right hand” and got to working. With both hands. Proud parent moment right there.


mohamed rabih November 16, 2017 at 9:49 am

Congratulations sara

Inshallh you will won your case


Sara November 16, 2017 at 10:16 am

Thank you! 😊


Celia November 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Congratulations, I’m happy the interview went well and I wish you an approval letter to arrive soon!


Sara November 16, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Thank you so much, Celia! Wishing you the best on the day of your interview 😊
Everyone we encountered at the NY asylum office was courteous. Every officer I saw calling people while I was waiting for my turn, seemed to be kind and professional. The questions I was asked were very smart and clearly worded. I was asked on every aspect of my case, from every possible angle, and that was definitely something I wanted and was glad that I got.
You will do great, I’m sure! Let us know when you get your invitation so that we can send some positivity your way 😊

Sara November 16, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Calling people in*
One more thing, my interview lasted around 2.5 hours. We didn’t look at our watches the whole time we were there, so this is an estimate.

bass November 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm

congrats Sara, you gave us hope that its really happening and one day i’m going to have an interview and not to give up. I filled for my asylum mid of Nov 2015 I hope that they are really interviewing people from April to September so mine is going to be soon. I wish you all the best with the decision without any delay.
Good Luck


Sara November 16, 2017 at 8:00 pm

Many thanks, Bass! Never give up.
I hope you get your invitation letter soon 🙂


L.F November 16, 2017 at 7:13 pm

Hope you gonna get a good news
I got the invitation for interview too
Can you pkease share some experience during the interview, presentation, questions, idk anything can help
I really feel now kinda nervous till finish this
What about result do you have to go or they gonna mail it ?!
Appreciate Sara


Sara November 16, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Awesome news, L.F! All the best.
They told me to pick it up. The officer said that if there are any delays because of the holidays, they will call and let me know that they will mail it instead.
I wish I had more info to share. It was a very fair and thorough interview. I got asked about all the main points that my case is based upon — like, every single one. The whole thing was a lot less intimidating than I had anticipated. All in all, I left with a good feeling which, I know, may not count for much at all come decision time. There’s no telling how well it REALLY went at this point. My lawyer said she’s 100 percent sure I got it, and that I was a rock star in there lol I really did do my best. I guess we’ll find out soon if it was good enough.
So good luck with your studying! I had only read my statement one and a half times before my interview. It’s all etched into my brain. Probably for life.


Jamie November 17, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Hi L.F,

I do understand your trepidation and how nerve-racking the whole experience can be. I was in the same position as you.

I did my interview at the Newark, NJ office. While I was there I observed that most of the officers were generally courteous and professional- even the securities/police were courteous!

I believe the asylum officers were trained to be professional and courteous as they subscribe, I believe, to the school of thought that by appearing warm, courteous and professional, they (the officers) will be able to elicit more information from the interviewee. There are, however, officers that are exception to this subscription or training (I suspect that they are in the minority), as I have heard of officers being a bit aggressive and argumentative.

It is imperative that you know that each officer has his/her own interview style, and you can’t use the style of interviewer to predict the outcome of your case. Using my own experience, I can say that my officer wasn’t the most warm/courteous/friendly. Though I was bawling my eyes out, from having to recount my traumatic stories, she never appeared sympathetic. She appeared, for the most part, robotic: She didn’t show any emotions whatsoever! She was extremely thorough: She asked every question on the application, and she asked questions (some tricky ones) that weren’t even on the application or in the affidavit/declaration. I did win (thank God) asylum nonetheless.

My friend said that his officer was extremely argumentative and unfriendly; but he won his case nonetheless.

On the contrary, I have heard that asylum applications have been referred to immigration court, even though the interviewing officer was very friendly and seemingly sympathetic. Sometimes the officer may want to grant you asylum, but there was something in your case that prevented the officer from granting you asylum. This does not negate the fact that officer might have been a genuinely nice person.

To me, winning an asylum case at the asylum office- especially if you don’t have a straightforward and easy case- involves a lot of preparation. You must ensure that you know your case, tell the truth candidly, present as much evidence as possible, and prepare to be emotional.

The questions that the officer asks you will be centered around your case. If anyone submitted affidavits for you, make sure you know the affidavits. If you can’t recall specific dates or incidents, tell the officer that you can’t recall and tell the officer why you can’t recall at that time. If you are giving the officer new information that wasn’t in your declaration or application, tell the officer that you are aware that the information you are giving him/her is not in your declaration or application.

Though it is very difficult, do not be afraid to talk about what you experience(d) and why you are afraid. Talk about why are afraid to go back and what would happen to you if you are sent back! Bear in mind that the officer’s job is to find out if you are eligible for asylum. The only way the officer can make of fair assessment of your case if you talk frankly and clearly about the details of your case.

The officer knows that you aren’t going to be able to remember every event in details, such as specific dates and what color shirt you were wearing that day. Personally, I think that if you can’t remember specific events or details, tell that officer that you remember the incident, but you just can’t remember in that much details. I think it is better to do this than attempt to provide answers that are inconsistent with what you put in your declaration or application- especially if are constantly inconsistent. For, believe it or not, being inconsistent in your story is grounds for getting your application denied.

I wasn’t able to remember a couple dates and I let the officer know that I was having problems remembering the specific date an event occurred, as I detest remembering anything that has to do with that specific event. in reality, I genuinely hate that specific event. Just remembering this event makes me lose my appetite for food.

As you can imagine, no can predict what questions you will be asked; however, I would advise that you prepare for all the questions on the I-589, know your declaration, try to be abreast of your country conditions (the officer did ask me about my country conditions), prepare for questions outside of application and declaration, describe- even graphically- and explain yourself away, provide answers to questions that you were asked, and look the officer in the eyes.


Sara November 17, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Jamie, you’re awesome! Where were you when I was preparing for my interview? 🙂 So glad you won your case!
You’re absolutely right about everything that you said. I was unable to read my statement any more times than I did to prepare because a lot of it makes my stomach turn, and I really did remember every single event and point on there. I got asked about that one specific date where I initially said I didn’t remember, then made the mistake of venturing one which was off by 2 months. Everything else was consistent so I hope that this won’t hurt my outcome. I know I did my very best as my child’s safety depends on it. Will just stay positive and let you all know when I receive my decision.


Jamie November 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Thank you for your kind words! I feel like you did well/your best. I feel like you will get good news. I don’t think being off by a month or 2 should necessarily kill your entire interview performance. If the rest of your oral interview was consistent with your I-589, the affidavits, declaration, and country conditions, then I feel you should relax and wait to see the outcome. I really hope you will be granted asylum as I can tell that you are a beautiful soul, and your daughter is also dependent on it.

Sara November 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm

You’re too kind 😊 Thank you so much!
And my lawyer had the exact same opinion as yours regarding that date mistake. Will try to stop thinking about it, and hope for the best.

Jason Dzubow November 17, 2017 at 5:01 pm

“I know I did my very best as my child’s safety depends on it.” Well said. For many people, this is the beginning and end of the reason for seeking asylum. Take care, Jason

Sara November 17, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Getting on that plane with her just 3 months’ old in 2014, felt like that scene from Argo where they board the plane to the U.S. and safety. 😊

Jason Dzubow November 17, 2017 at 4:59 pm

All good advice – Thank you for the comment. Take care, Jason


Ray November 15, 2017 at 4:14 pm

hi Jason,
My case is :
my brother is an asylee who granted asylum a year ago, he entered to USA by a visitor visa (with 6 months residence period) and after 32 days he applied for asylum.
what about the following questions: –
1. Have you EVER violated the terms and conditions of your NIV?
2. Have you EVER lied about, concealed or misrepresented any info on an application or petition to obtain a visa, other documentation required for entry to USA, admission to USA, or any other kind of immigration benefits?

Does he considered lied, misrepresented or violated his NIV terms and conditions??



Jason Dzubow November 15, 2017 at 6:53 pm

If he lied to get a visa or if he planned to seek asylum when he arrived here, maybe he did lie to get the visa. Since he filed for asylum soon after he arrived here, USCIS might think he planned to violate his status at the time he came here. I did a post about that on September 19, 2017 that might help. I do think he should talk to a lawyer about the specifics of his case if he is concerned about answering these questions. Take care, Jason


Ray November 15, 2017 at 7:15 pm

Actually he didn’t lie, because at the time of his visa interview he had no intention to apply for asylum, but 3 months after his visa issued, he received a threat and his house attacked, so he decided to use his visa to come to the USA and apply for asylum.
Definitely he will answer NO to both questions (because he didnt lie or did misrepresentation)
But my question is what the Law says about such situation specially after the new orders ??
To be honest, I asked a lawyer and he said that ” if we consider that he lied” such a lie to save your life, specially he already proved that (granted Asylum), not considered a lie…

Thanks for your help Jason


Jason Dzubow November 16, 2017 at 7:18 am

In this case, he should be alright, but he should also be prepared to talk about when and why he decided to seek asylum, in the event that USCIS thinks he lied. It sounds to me like he is safe to answer “no” under these circumstances, but if USCIS questions this answer, he needs to be ready to respond (and this could happen at the green card stage or at the citizenship stage – so he should make sure to keep all his evidence until he is a US citizen). In terms of the lawyer, if a person flees their country and lies to get a visa or uses a fake passport, that can be forgiven for purposes of asylum when he is fleeing for his life (there is a case about it called Matter of Pula). On the I-485 (green card form), such a person would have to indicate that he lied to get into the US, and USCIS might require that he submit a waiver, though I have seen cases where USCIS did not require the waiver since the person admitted what he did during the asylum interview. Take care, Jason


TAH November 15, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Dear Sir,
I have question, one of my friend he is already waiting for his Priority Date to be current. His immigration under F3 category is under process since 2009.
Can he apply for study visa, for USA while his F3 category immigration is in process?


Jason Dzubow November 15, 2017 at 6:46 pm

I do not know a lot about that. He can apply, but whether they will deny it because of the pending immigration petition, I do not know. Take care, Jason


Alex November 14, 2017 at 11:27 pm

Hi Jason,

Do you think there is any way for asylees to expedite their green card applications? If so, what reasons for an expedite request do you think would have success? It seems like the waiting time is almost one year now, which is way too long.


Jason Dzubow November 15, 2017 at 6:45 pm

You can ask – maybe you need the GC for a job. If you have evidence of that, you can ask to expedite, though I would not be very optimistic about your chances of expediting. Anyway, you can try. Take care, Jason


Memo November 14, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Sorry but but I already asked different lawyers they have many opinions and I’m confused
I was a full time student
But I married to a US citizen and she filled petition for me
Unfortunately she had an accident and we missed the interview and they denied it.
We still married but due to her medical condition we can’t file!
Beside this I have a strong asylum claim and fear to return back to my country
Can I still have the opportunity to apply for asylum without applying one year rule based on fact that I was a F-1 student and I didn’t overstayed but now have no status( because of AOS) and referred to IJ?


Jason Dzubow November 15, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Assuming you were a full time student up until the time you filed, you should meet an extension to the one-year rule. If your student status ended while you were adjusting status based on the marriage, you might also meet an exception, but that may be more difficult. I recommend you talk to a lawyer about the specifics, as the one-year issue is very important for any asylum case. Take care, Jason


Anna November 14, 2017 at 12:37 pm


Thank you for the article, you’re doibg ab inmense job helping asylees, we want you to know we highly appreciate it.
I have a question – once the 150 days passed we applied and received our EAD. When the time came to renew it it took us a fee months to apply for renewal (5 to be exact), abd then it took another 90+ days for the new EAD to arrive. My question – if we worked during these 5 months and 90+ days without a renewed EAD – does that mean we worked illegally? Or does our right to work NOT STOP with the card expiration date? I’m assuming this could be an issue when we apply for green card in the future..


Jason Dzubow November 15, 2017 at 7:39 am

Theoretically, it might be possible to work illegally between EAD cards (though remember that the old card is automatically extended for 6 months once you file for the new card), but given that the new card probably covers the period of illegal work (retroactively), I doubt it will be a problem. Whether you need to mention that on the I-485 form when the time comes, I am not sure, I guess it depends on whether you actually did work illegally during the period, which depends on the dates of your EAD cards and the automatic extensions. It would be worthwhile to talk to a lawyer about it, or to circle the relevant question and provide an explanation – I think the danger would not be the illegal work, but rather the fact that USCIS thinks you lied about it by not mentioning it on the I-485 form. Take care, Jason


HA November 14, 2017 at 3:04 am

Nice and scary article,
i ran to check my I-485 which i submitted last April, first i noticed that it is the 6 pages one with is expire 12-31-2018,
so i did not find the question about been member in party or etc,
but i found the question number 1 section B in page number 3, which ask if been arrested for breaking or violating any law or ordinance excluding traffic violation, which is i answered with NO although i was arrested in home country before coming to the US and seek asylum,
So i am not sure if i did submitted the wrong I-485?


Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 6:49 pm

The old form does ask about memberships, but it is a separate question and it leaves space for you to list your memberships. As for the question, if the arrest was not for a crime, you should be alright. However, my clients did have a problem with this question, as discussed above. You may want to send a letter to USCIS (with a copy of your receipt) and reference the question number. Then explain that you did have an arrest for a crime, but you did have a political arrest. But if this is the only issue on the form, it really should not be a problem (if your arrest at home was for a crime, then you really do need to correct your answer on the form). Take care, Jason


HA November 15, 2017 at 2:16 am

Thanks for the quick reply,
My arrest was for political issues only, no crime or anything,
I did some research and the old form was fine till June 2017, so I should be fine as they got my application on April 2017,
But thanks for the information in this article, it opened my eyes on things which we don’t give enough important to.


Kyla November 14, 2017 at 12:49 am

Hi Jason, thanks for all you done for us.
I have question, what about credit card civil lawsuit and 1 speedy ticket, should included citied for naturalization forms ? Thanks lot


Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 6:45 pm

I don’t think the N-400 asks about such issues, but I don’t remember specifically, so make sure you read each question carefully. Take care, Jason


Sim November 14, 2017 at 12:00 am

Hi Jason ,
I filled my asylum and submitted copy of affidavit which I received from my friend back home..
My qus is if my friend lost the original copy of the affidavit which I submitted with my application.
In further if I go for my interview they going to ask me the original or not? If I don’t show them Original affidavit of my friend it can impact on my application? Or else can I take the same affidavit with the present date and attach a letter stating the reason for New affidavit that the original affidavit was lost in transit.


Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Normally, they do not ask for original affidavits. Other original documents – passport, ID documents, police and hospital reports, threat letters – they do often want to see. Take care, Jason


Memo November 13, 2017 at 9:51 pm

Thanks, Jason
If you are a student in the US since 2 years and want to apply for asylum, because you can be killed if you return your home country !
Can you go to Mexico through land customs or any other third country then return back to the US to renew one year rule filling then you apply for asylum?
Or it is not possible?


Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 7:43 am

If you leave the US and return, the one-year filing clock should be re-set. However, if you have been lawfully here as a full-time, F-1 student, then you should meet an exception to the one-year filing requirement and you should not need to leave the US. Talk to a lawyer about the specifics of your case to be sure. Take care, Jason


Memo November 14, 2017 at 1:46 pm

I was a full time student
But I married to a US citizen and she filled petition for me
Unfortunately she had an accident and we missed the interview and they denied it.
We still married but due to her medical condition we can’t file!
Beside this I have a strong asylum claim and fear to return back to my country
Can I still have the opportunity to apply for asylum without applying one year rule based on fact that I was a F-1 student and I didn’t overstayed but now have no status( because of AOS) and referred to IJ?


Jason Dzubow November 15, 2017 at 7:41 am

Assuming you were a full time student up until the time you filed, you should meet an extension to the one-year rule. If your student status ended while you were adjusting status based on the marriage, you might also meet an exception, but that may be more difficult. I recommend you talk to a lawyer about the specifics, as the one-year issue is very important for any asylum case. Take care, Jason


santon November 13, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Hi Jason,
Thank you for your information.
I have question, I am waiting for interview,my asylum is pending for 3 years but I have TPS status also and I am prime applicant for asylum, my wife needs to outside US to see her sick parents so could you please give me some advice if she can visit by RTD which we are planning to apply, and will it effect my pending asylum at interview. Please provide me some informations.Thanks.


Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 7:39 am

An RTD is only for people who have been granted asylum – she needs Advance Parole (form I-131, available at; this is the same form as used for an RTD). She can get AP based on pending asylum or on TPS. However, if she returns to the home country, it could affect your case, but that depends on what your case is about. If the danger is only to you, then maybe there will be little effect (except that the asylum officer will probably ask you about her travel and to explain it – so you should have evidence about that). If you are claiming that the danger is to your whole family and she returns, it could cause your asylum case to be denied. Also, your wife could have trouble when she returns to the US if the border patrol people at the airport think she is an asylee who traveled to her home country (including maybe detaining her at the airport – though I think that is unlikely). I do think there is a risk, though, and it is worthwhile to talk to a lawyer about this before making such a trip. Take care, Jason


santon November 14, 2017 at 8:58 pm

Thank you Jason for your kind information, What do you think if I apply to expedite my pending asylum application my application is in NY and they are interviewing April – September 2015 applicants, i applied in October 2015, Please I need your advice.
Many many thanks Jason.



Jason Dzubow November 15, 2017 at 6:41 pm

You can try, but it sounds like you will be interviewed relatively soon whether you expedite or not. There is no harm in trying to expedite, though. Take care, Jason


Mike November 13, 2017 at 8:55 pm

A very timely and important post, Jason. I think one question on the I-485 that asylees need to be particularly careful with is Part 8, question 65, which asks whether you have ever concealed any information when applying for a visa or any other immigration benefit. I would say that the great majority of asylees only get to the US with a visitor or student visa by (at a minimum) concealing when they apply for that visa that they intend to remain in the US and apply for asylum. In such cases, I think applicants would do well to answer this question in the I-485 in the affirmative and explain that answer in an addendum.


Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 7:32 am

That is a tricky one. Maybe the asylees can claim that they did not intend to file for asylum when the got the visa or entered the US, but only made a decision to seek asylum after they were here. I do think a wrong answer on this question would make the applicant vulnerable, and so maybe it is safer to err on the side of caution and state “yes,” if that really is the case. I guess it would depend on the exact circumstances, and this is a good example of a question that might be thought through with a lawyer, in order to minimize the chance of a problem. Take care, Jason


solxp November 13, 2017 at 7:51 pm

After requesting 3 times and waiting for 7 months my EAD status is card mailed 🙂 . Just wanted to share the time line here I was worried to see ” case received” status for 7 months with out change, but once with in 3 days card printing and then mailed. Renewal is taking time maybe because the receipt gives 6 month extension it will not make it priority. Good luck


Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 7:25 am

Thank you – from the date of that message, it sometimes takes a couple weeks to get the card, but hopefully you will have it very soon. Take care, Jason


Hmo November 13, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Hello Jason,

I want to ask you about 2 points when applying for I485 knowing I grant it through asylum:

1- Is it true that I can apply 90 days prior the date which I granted asylum on?

2- Can I add my fiance (who will be my wife) to I485 application knowing that I applied as single & she is outside the US (Turkey)?

Thanks a lot Jason!


Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 7:24 am

1 – No – we used to file 30 days early, but then one application was rejected because we filed early. Since then, we wait the full year (maybe you are thinking of citizenship applications – you can file those 90 days before the 5-year anniversary of the green card). 2 – If you are married, you have to list your wife on the I-485. If you were married and you failed to list her on the asylum form (I-589), USCIS would consider that a fraud, which could create real problems for your case. But if you married her since the asylum was granted, you can list her on the I-485 without any problem. It does not help bring her here, but once you have the GC, you can file to bring her here. Take care, Jason


Hmo November 14, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Thanks Jason for taking the time to reply to my question.

I want to clarify something on the second question please, I married her after I granted asylum so it’s not farud & I can list her on I485, isn’t listing her on I485 means that she will have a Green Card as well and she will be able to enter the US? if not what I will benefit from listing her if I will end up waiting to get my green card then apply to sponsor her green card which can take several years?

Thanks again, much appreciated!


Jason Dzubow November 15, 2017 at 7:34 am

If you marry before the asylum decision, and you list her on the I-589 (the asylum form), then she will get asylum at the same time you do, or you can bring here to the US using form I-730 (for spouses of asylees). However, if you marry after you win asylum, the only way to bring her here is to get your GC and then file an I-130 petition for her, which takes about 2 years. If you are married, you are required to list your wife on the I-485, but that does not benefit her in any way – she does not get a GC, though once you get the GC, you can start the process of bringing her here. Take care, Jason


John November 13, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Hi Jason your posts and information are very useful, thank you for your kind assistance. Since your recent post is about “Representations” and “Misrepresentations” and its consequences, it just click my mind to ask a related question.
I filed my Asylum application in 2014 and still waiting for my interview. Recently I decided to apply for my professional certification with Board of Accountancy and I noticed a question while filling its initial application that, “(If you have ever been convicted in any jurisdiction of a felony or misdemeanor; or have been charged with a crime, or have any charges pending against you at this time)”. My question is that how to interpret “any Jurisdiction” does it means the Jurisdictions with in US only or it means any Jurisdiction anywhere in the world. The reason I am asking is that I had received criminal charges back home in a politically motivated case where as per my duties I fought against corruption and I identified top government officials and their relatives involvement in misappropriation of public funds, as a result they falsely accused me and convicted me instead and I have received criminal charges from the court in my country, I have already explained my story in my Asylum Application. Since the Immigration and Education are two different departments I wanted to make sure should I mention my criminal charges in response to the question in the application, or should i simply say “no”, and secondly if I do not mentioned it does this mean a “Misrepresentation of Information”. And thirdly, have you experience any client who would like to pursue further education/studies having criminal charges waiting for in his/her home country seeking further education opportunities in US while the asylum application is still pending and what was the result if any, I mean the educational institute/Board would accept such kind of application or reject it based on the criminal charges I received in my home country… Best regards.


Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 7:11 am

I can’t give you advice about that form, as I know nothing about it – maybe there is a lawyer or someone who can guide you. If that were a question on an immigration form, I would encourage you to circle it and provide an explanation. If you answer it wrong, I do not think it would affect your immigration case, since it is not a form to obtain an immigration benefit, but it could (theoretically) affect your ability to meet the good moral character requirement for immigration if USCIS thinks you lied on the form. I do not think I had a situation like yours, and I do recommend you find someone knowledgeable about such forms to help guide you. Take care, Jason


George November 13, 2017 at 11:40 am

Hi Jason !
Yeah this green card application is so long now ! And i beleive imany questions are so tricky !
I just have a question about one of them , they ask if one has worked illegally or without authorization in the US , and as for asylees many of us had worked before having our EADs in hand , is this gonna cause any problems or denials to obtain GC and citizenship? Will this also require applying for this waiver application?

Thanks a lott


Thomas November 13, 2017 at 1:51 pm

What do you mean many of us? Not many worked before receiving permission to work.


Sara November 13, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Whether it’s many or a few is not something any one of us can claim to know with accuracy, however I’m more inclined to agree with George that this is probably common (many).
Good question, George. Let’s see what Jason has to say.


Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 7:17 am

I have never seen statistics about this, and very likely, there are none. Many of my clients work without permission prior to obtaining the EAD, though. They have no choice, if they want to eat (and pay their exorbitant lawyer’s fees!). Take care, Jason


Sara November 14, 2017 at 9:50 am

True, Jason! Add to that big city rents and, most notably, the BACKLOG surprise! 🎉 My family and I came here right before that whole mess started, and so everything we had planned for went right out with the window, and suddenly savings were not enough to cover the long period we were expected to wait until we were authorized to work.
I think we should all feel proud of how we still kept going after everything that got thrown at us.

Hmong Bong November 13, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Are you kidding me? I dare say at least 80-90% work without authorization in some form or for some period, unless you’re independently wealthy. There’s just NO WAY to survive if you wait for USCIS and their lengthy processing times. People just do what they need to survive.

If USCIS is going to penalize us for that, well I guess it’s been a fun ride y’all.


Jason Dzubow November 14, 2017 at 7:20 am

There are certain penalties for working unlawfully (mostly for people who seek to change to another status), but working unlawfully does not block an asylum seeker from winning asylum. For this reason, if our client has worked illegally before the EAD, we include that information on the I-589 form. Including the info has never caused us a problem, but if we lied about it and the asylum officer learned about the lie, the asylum case could be denied. Take care, Jason


Hmong Bong November 28, 2017 at 5:43 am

I know that, but the I-589 doesn’t ask about working illegally. It’s the I-485 that does. Should we disclose the fact that we’ve once upon a time worked illegally on our I-485?

Jason Dzubow November 13, 2017 at 6:45 pm

It may require a waiver, and it is probably better to admit the unlawful work if that is required by the form. The waiver it called an INA 209(c) waiver, and it is quite good, but you may better off doing that at the I-485 stage than later on (I just dealt with that issue today in court – luckily, it worked out just fine, but it could have ended badly). Talk to a lawyer to go over the question with you to see how best to answer. Take care, Jason


Alan November 13, 2017 at 7:03 pm
Jason Dzubow November 15, 2017 at 7:23 am

I had two consultations yesterday with men who had been waiting for years for their asylum cases, and they are separated from their children back home. It is extremely traumatic, and in many cases, the wait (of unknown length), the stress, and the expense are more difficult to bear than the original persecution. Take care, Jason


Sara November 15, 2017 at 5:09 pm

So sad. I hope your clients get their approvals soon so that they can reunite with their families.


Alex November 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm



Jason Dzubow November 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm

The I-589 asks about jobs, and for the most part, it is easy to tell if the person worked lawfully or not. I would advise my clients to tell the truth on he I-485, especially since USCIS possibly already knows about the “illegal” work. If that is the case for you, talk to a lawyer to review the specifics so you can try to be safe. Take care, Jason


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