How Long Does the Asylum Process Take in the USA?

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Once you have started the asylum process, there will be a wait.  Waiting to be granted asylum is a complicated process. In this article, I will give you a brief overview of the timeline from applying for asylum until actually achieving asylum.  We have also written recently on the deadline for filing for asylum, which will not be covered in this article.

In 1952, the United States passed the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This law states that the initial interview, for interviews filed after April 1,1997, should occur within 45 days of the application and that a decision on asylum status will happen within 180 days.  Our Tallahassee immigration attorney is well versed in the complexities of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Unfortunately, the world is not perfect and finding out if the application was accepted or declined within the appropriate time is not always the case. Instead, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) assign the applicant into three groups where 1 is the first priority and 3 is the last priority: 1. Applicants that had an interview, but rescheduled, 2. Children applicants, and 3. All other pending affirmative asylum applicants are heard in the order the application was received. An asylum officer has the opportunity, on a case-by-case basis, to expedite certain applicants ahead of others. For more information on the application hierarchy click here.

So How Long Will I Have to Wait?

That is the age-old question. In an ideal world, the process moves fairly quickly and below, I will outline the steps to asylum status. Protocol states that within 21 days after the USCIS receives your application, you will receive a letter, in the mail, that provides you with a receipt notice (USCIS’s confirmation that they received your application), a fingerprinting appointment for people over 14, and an interview notice (this gives you the place, day, and time of your asylum interview). For more information on interview dates by location click here.

Within 43 days, you will have an interview at one of the eight USCIS asylum offices; The offices are located in the following metropolitan areas: Arlington, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Newark, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In order to have an interview with an asylum officer, you will have to make sure that every applicant, even children over 14, have been fingerprinted or else you will not be interviewed.  To see how things might affect you locally, having a consultation with immigration attorneys in Tallahassee is a good way to feel comfortable that you are fully informed of the process.

Next, within 60 days after they receive your application and interview, you will find out if you have asylum status or not. If you do not obtain asylum status, the asylum officer will deny your application and send your application over to the Immigration Court. The Immigration Court is a long and complicated process that one should try to avoid. Since Immigration Court is a time consuming and possibly expensive process, it is in your best interest to hire a Tallahassee immigration lawyer who can represent you at your interview with the asylum officer and lead you along the way.