The Asylumist is a blog about political asylum in the United States.  We hope it will serve as a forum for discussion about the law, policy, and politics of asylum.  We hope to hear from different people involved in the asylum process: asylum seekers, lawyers and advocates, academics, policy-types, health professionals, and activists.  We hope this website contributes to a better understanding of the asylum system in the United States.

For some basic information about asylum, see this posting from Human Rights First.

Another good starting point is the website for USCIS, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Steffanie May 19, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Hi,my family and I have been in Maine since December ,we wanted to transfer to another state.will I get benefits moving the case to a state that takes a shorter time to approve cases since Maine has a growing backlog of applications


Jason Dzubow May 20, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Maine probably interviews in Boston, which is a sub-office of New Jersey. My opinion is that you cannot rely on the scheduling bulletin to predict how long you will wait (I wrote a blog post touching on that point on Feb. 25, 2016 that may be helpful). Take care, Jason


Ella May 19, 2016 at 10:31 am

Hello, Mr. Jason! Please tell me, what docs should i prepare for the short list?


Jason Dzubow May 19, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Your entire case should be complete and submitted to the asylum office, then you have to contact the local asylum office and ask them to put you on the short list. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason


Ella May 19, 2016 at 3:14 pm

Got it, one more question- if I move my case from local office (Atlanta) to main office (Arlington) will it cause delay ?


Jason Dzubow May 20, 2016 at 2:07 pm

It should not (according to USCIS), but you never know. I would contact the new office to make sure your case was transferred and that you are in the queue. Take care, Jason


Ella May 20, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Thank you! Wish you all the best!

Mehmet May 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Hi Joson,
Thank you for this Amazing Blog!
I am a student in VA and I wanna transfer to Orange Coast College in LA in order to transfer to UCLA. But I have been waiting for my first interview since December 2014. Do you think the USCIS will know if I attend school in LA without changing my address?


Jason Dzubow May 4, 2016 at 11:20 am

They will ask you at the interview to update your I-589, including your school, so they will know. It is possible for a student to keep a permanent address and go to school at a temporary address. You should have evidence that you have not abandoned your old residence. You might also want to talk to a lawyer about the specifics of your case to be sure. Take care, Jason


Al April 25, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Funny that, NOT EVEN WIKIPEDIA show true about those who need asylum or are dissident FROM United States.
Wish by the way, US own society increase emancipation from this country since Barack Obama and even more many VIP publicly Claim [very hide by US Media] their decision to exile FROM United States if this new awful hatred comedian Donald Trump became president.


Fadi April 4, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Hi Jason;

I’m an Iraqi Asylum seeker. can you please refer me to a good asylum attorney in Houston Tx who capable of representing Iraqis cases. FYI, I already met Yvette Mastin. thank you for your help in advance.


Jason Dzubow April 4, 2016 at 9:39 pm

I do not know anyone there. You might try contacting a large non-profit, like Catholic Charities to ask them for a recommendation. Good luck, Jason


Sabin February 23, 2016 at 12:40 am

I applied asylum on 2014 in Boston. Im waiting for my interview. I have some question regarding my asylum.
These are my current condition.
1. I have applied for the TPS and still not got approved letter.
2. i applied political asylum after six month and before 1 year.
3. Right now im working as chef.
4. The restaurant is ready to sponsor for me.
5. Im waiting for my interview.

In this situation, What should i have to do? Can get sponsor from my working restaurant? Can i get advance pay roll to travel outside US?


Jason Dzubow February 23, 2016 at 7:22 am

You can get Advance Parole if you have a humanitarian reason. The form is the I-131 available at http://www.uscis.gov. The restaurant can sponsor you, but probably you will have to leave the US and return to get your green card (though if the TPS comes through, maybe not – I do not know). In any case, you should talk to a lawyer to guide you through the process, as there are potential problems, especially if you have to leave the US and return. Take care, Jason


@home February 10, 2016 at 5:38 pm

Hey Jason

Well the information that u r giving is very helpful ..
My question is I have an f 1 visa but I didn’t attend or go to school but I have applied for political asylum due to situation in my country . Will the immigration officer ask why I didn’t attend school ?

Thanks .


Jason Dzubow February 11, 2016 at 7:22 am

Probably, and you should be prepare to explain why. If you have a reasonable explanation (like, I was fleeing my country and I used the F visa to escape), you should be alright. Take care, Jason


rehana February 3, 2016 at 10:44 pm

hi jason my name is rehana and i gave birth to my son in usa on visit visa and still i have four years of my visit visa left. i want to know that can i come to us in this period of time if i went back before the expiration of my stay and come again or not and secondly can i get us visit visa again? thanks


Jason Dzubow February 4, 2016 at 7:10 am

Sorry – I only discuss asylum cases on this blog. Take care, Jason


Evgeny February 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Dear Jason,

I am an asylee from Russian Federation. I also have a pending I-485 application for a green card. I need to travel abroad (not to the country of persecution or any close to it) urgently. I have been in touch my congressman’s office who helped me expedite my application for a Refugee Travel Document. According to them it is currently being printed and it will be mailed to me by the end of this week.

My question is whether I can leave the country with my national Russian passport before the RTD arrives. My plan was to have my friend mail it to me by the time I have to travel back to the U.S. Aside from the risks of having the RTD lost during mailing, what are the other risks, if any?

Many thanks in advance!


Jason Dzubow February 3, 2016 at 7:15 am

I am not sure whether it is legal to mail a travel document, but other than that (or losing it), I think you will be fine. To protect yourself, make sure you have evidence of the reason for travel – for example, if it is a medical emergency, get a doctor’s letter. Also, in case you do not receive the travel document, you should bring a copy of your asylum approval and EAD, so that you have something to show at the border when you return. And of course, keep an extra copy of those documents somewhere safe as well. Take care, Jason


lemon March 26, 2016 at 12:49 am

hi Jason ! I am in F1 status. I came here 2012 still my f1 status is active . I am graduated and I already applied for OPT but some how they denied my opt March 2016 they told me i cannot appeal but i can do reopen my case like motion . So now i can not enrolled new school because of my SEVIS and I-20 shows course completed so i have to do reentry for new I -20. So in this case can do asylum ?let me know plz


Jason Dzubow March 27, 2016 at 10:11 pm

If you have been in the US for more than one year (since your last entry), it could be more difficult for you to get asylum. If your status expired in March 2016, and you want to seek asylum, you should do so as soon as possible. Asylum seekers are required to seek asylum within one year of arrival or meet an exception to this rule. If you are “in status” you meet an exception. Now, it sounds like your status has expired, so you should apply as soon as you can. Maybe you meet another exception to the rule, but I do not know. You would be wise to talk to an attorney about this. Good luck, Jason


marwah January 15, 2016 at 12:09 am

Hi, i am syrian mother of 4 kids, last one is american, me and my kids apply for asylum in august 2014 and had interview in last April 2015 and till now no reply. my husband is in gulf country and try to apply visa to visit us and rejected. what shall i do to check my case status and joint my husband to our case?


Jason Dzubow January 15, 2016 at 6:47 am

You can only join your husband to your case if he is in the US. If you win your case, you can file an I-730 form to bring him here. It is difficult to get a US visa, especially if your spouse has applied for asylum. If he can get a job offer here and apply for an H1B work visa, that might be easier. Good luck, Jason


Andy Lau January 6, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Hi Jason,

So glad that I find this site, my situation is quite complicated…
Let me start with my background. I’m from Hong Kong and I came to the US in Jan 2013 with student visa. In 2014 Umbrella Revolution happened in Hong Kong, and the situation was bad, so I filed my political asylum in Jan 2015. I completed the biometric collection, but I haven’t heard anything of my case since then. I got an intern job with my OPT in May 2015, it expired in Oct but I have my work permit under my asylum application (over 180 days). This company want me to move back to Hong Kong and work at their Hong Kong office. However due to recent event happened in Hong Kong, I don’t want to withdraw my application, but I have to move back since I cannot put my life on hold forever… Is there a way I can move my case and have interview in the Consulate General in Hong Kong?

Thanks a lot!!!


Jason Dzubow January 7, 2016 at 7:34 am

I know of no way to do that (you have to be present in the US to do an asylum case) and generally, if you move back to your country, USCIS will deny your asylum case unless you can provide compelling reasons to go back – and I doubt a job offer would constitute a compelling reason. You might think about alternatives to returning to the US at a later time (H1b visa, L visa, for example). Take care, Jason


Tams January 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Hi Jason,

I filed for asylum in August of last year and till now I haven’t received any receipt number from or even my application back from USCIS or the Asylum office. I went to the asylum office multiple times to inquire about the status of my application and was finally told that the office was working on my case and that they would get back to me once they hear anything. I have to check back again with them either in person or over the email in February but I am apprehensive because I know I should atlas have received a receipt number from them. I also need to apply for a new passport from my embassy but I can’t until I get my fingerprints done which won’t happen because I didn’t get a receipt number. Would appreciate some insight.



Jason Dzubow January 6, 2016 at 6:45 am

If someone told you they are working on your case, they should at least give you an Alien number, which would be solid evidence that the case was received. I would contact them again on this point. Also, I would do a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request using form G-639 (available at http://www.uscis.gov). That may take some time, but hopefully you will receive a copy of your application and the receipt. Good luck, Jason


Corruption Whistleblower January 3, 2016 at 8:30 pm


Please let me know of any U.S. attorneys that can help with political asylum FROM U.S. to Europe?

My home & retirement were stolen as part of a massive fraud foreclosure scheme – involving dirty police and judges. I have videos of dirty police threatening me with felony arrest.

FBI & IRS know about the fraudulent foreclosure racket, however, they are probably “in on it”.

I will be very happy to leave this country asap.

Thank you, kindly, for any help you can provide.


Jason Dzubow January 3, 2016 at 9:59 pm

I do not know of such a lawyer, and probably you need to talk to a lawyer in the country where you plan to go. I do highly recommend that you talk to the lawyer before you make any plans to travel. Good luck, Jason


Drew T November 24, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Jason, thanks for maintaining such a great blog. I am currently researching a project for which I am having trouble finding any information and wanted to know whether you, or any other readers, can help. Do you happen to know of any resources or statistics on overseas asylum requests or parole?



Jason Dzubow November 24, 2015 at 5:23 pm

I am not sure what you mean – to request asylum in the US, you must be physically present here. Do you mean people who are requesting protection at a US embassy?


Trisha October 2, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Curious to hear your take on this — African Americans claiming asylum in Africa? Does this have any merit?



Jason Dzubow October 4, 2015 at 10:17 pm

There was an interesting Washington Post op-ed recently about whether African American might qualify for political asylum. I have my doubts about whether most African Americans would qualify under international law (though some surely would qualify). I will check out the article if I have time – Thank you, Jason


aymn October 1, 2015 at 7:48 pm

hello . my name is aymen i have 19 years old I’m from Algeria. I’m suffering because i am gay I can not take it any more .Be beaten. And humiliation. And verbal abuse. Narrow everywhere in school street store i have no friends . I had a fight with my family they said you are sick you are abnormal bringing out many ideas about suicide .I read all the countries of human gay recourse social security and associations to help them Please help me, I want a better life in other country ( refuge) please help please . Sorry for spelling errors do not speak English well


Jason Dzubow October 2, 2015 at 6:44 am

If you are in the US, you can apply for asylum, and it seems you will have a strong case. There is an organization called Immigration Equality that might be able to help, or you can hire a private lawyer (like me),. Good luck, Jason


erick August 13, 2015 at 12:14 am

dear Atty. Dzubow, my name is erick, and I am a naturalized citizen from Peru since three years ago. I happened to visit your blogging website last day when checking on various articles concerning our country’s beleaguered immigration courts. I am very curious on this: what is the story of the immigration court system and is it viable to have an independent immig. court system?
best wishes.


Jason Dzubow August 13, 2015 at 6:24 am

There could be books written on that subject. Many judges want the courts to be independent (currently they are part of the Justice Department). I think that might help a bit, but the main problem is a lack of resources. I have written before about some ideas to improve the situation without additional money, since I think additional money is probably not coming anytime soon, and given that immigration is pretty specialized, I tend to think that it is a good idea to have a separate immigration court system.


Erick August 19, 2015 at 8:14 pm

Dear Mr. Dzubow,why USCIS offices,except those inside federal buoldings,have security screening checkpoints whereas social security and veterdan affairs do not? I have tried to find information regarding the history of our immigration courts,by the way.


Jason Dzubow August 19, 2015 at 10:06 pm

I have no idea, and I am not sure where you can get such information.


Esther May 5, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Thank you so much for this website !!
It helped me tremendously.
I did have a question as a Jew I have persecuted in my home country. I’m afraid to go back and don’t want to anymore.
Is asylum the way for me and my spouse ?
Thank you again


Jason Dzubow May 5, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Thank you. It could be an option depending on your situation. You are welcome to call me if you want to discuss. Good luck, Jason


Gabil February 24, 2015 at 7:53 am

Mr. Dzubow, thanks for the amazing and at the same time very informative resource where I could find answers on many questions.


Anabella February 15, 2015 at 1:22 am

Hi, I really like your blog, it has been very informative… I’m currently in backlog and will probably have to wait a long time since my case entered the system on January, 2015. I found out about that thanks to your blog.

Thank you,


Linda Rabben August 2, 2011 at 11:25 am

At last, a sane and articulate blog on asylum issues. Good for you!

I’d like to draw readers’ attention to my new book, “Give Refuge to the Stranger: The Past, Present and Future of Sanctuary” (Left Coast Press, 2011). It traces the history of sanctuary and asylum from their prehistoric origins to present-day asylum policies and grassroots sanctuary movements. I wrote it to inspire and encourage people who are working on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees.

I’m available to give talks about the book in the Washington, DC, area and beyond. The next one, cosponsored by a local Amnesty International group, will take place at Kensington Row Books, Kensington, MD, September 15 at 7:30 pm. I hope to see you there.


griselda ponce July 19, 2011 at 3:10 am

Am following you on twitter and larned about your sylum work representing Mexicans. I am an immigration atty in Austin tx. I repesent a Mxn asylum seeker, his spouse & children.

The principal is the son of a Mxn celebrity who’s brother was held for ransom by Zetas then released. He fled when they began theatening him and his children. Case is pending a recent M to Reconsider filing w/BIA.

Just wanted to see if you may be able to find the time to discuss your thoughts.


Jason Dzubow July 19, 2011 at 9:55 am

I am happy to do that – you can call me at 202-328-1353. Take Care, Jason


Jason Cohen November 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Hi Jason,

Awesome Blog and love the domain name! Keep the posts coming!

All the best,


Jason Dzubow May 13, 2010 at 11:00 am

Thanks – if your parents don’t approve, no one else will either.


Steven Dzubow May 12, 2010 at 1:42 pm


Your blog is very impressive and professional

Great job.


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