If you are afraid to return to your home country, you may have filed a Form I-589, Application for Asylum. Case approval can be a matter of life and death, so you’ll want to know how to check your asylum case status and what to expect in the asylum application process.
Where is my asylum application?
How you check your asylum case status will depend on where you filed your form I-589.
There are two places where you can file an asylum application:
- An Asylum Office. USCIS controls these offices. The USCIS asylum office handling your case depends on where you live. You can find your asylum office by using the USCIS asylum locator here.
- An Immigration Court. The Department of Justice controls the courts. The court handling your case depends on where the government filed deportation proceedings. You can find out which court has your case using our court page here.
The location of your application is important. If you know where the location of your application, you can use the following tools to check your asylum case status.
Three ways to check your asylum case status with USCIS
If you’ve confirmed you filed with a USCIS asylum office then you’ll need your receipt notice. Here is what it looks like:
The receipt contains the information you’ll need, namely your receipt number and your alien number. Once you have this information, there are three ways we recommend checking asylum case status.
Check case status online
The easiest way to check asylum case status is through the online system at the USCIS case status page, using the receipt number. Unsure where to find your receipt number? Look at the receipt notice for a series of three letters followed by 10 numbers. The first letter is typically a “Z.”
Enter the receipt number in the space provided and the system gives you the status of the case.
Check case status by phone
Not comfortable online? You can call USCIS and ask to speak to a representative. You can call 1 (800) 375-5283 and provide a representative with the receipt number. He or she will update you on your I-589 application.
Check case status by email
You can also email the specific asylum office. When you send the email, you’ll need to include your receipt notice and alien number. The alien number (or “A-number”) is is a seven-to-nine-digit number beginning with the letter A.
Here is a list of USCIS asylum offices along with their email addresses.
When will I get my asylum interview with USCIS?
It depends. First, you will only have an asylum interview if you filed with USCIS at one of their asylum offices. Immigration officers often refer to this as an affirmatively filed asylum application. USCIS asylum offices have their processing times and own priorities. How long it takes to get an asylum interview will often depend on when you filed, and which USCIS asylum office is in charge of your case.
This is why it’s important to check on your asylum case status.
What to do while I wait for my asylum interview with USCIS?
While you check your asylum case status, you’ll also want to gather evidence the government or someone the government can’t control harmed or threatened you. This is to make sure you have enough proof to meet all the requirements for asylum.
Let me explain: When you are asking for asylum, you are asking the U.S. government to let you stay because someone will harm you if you go back to your home country. Specifically, you must prove who will harm you and why they’ll harm you. To do this, you need to give the asylum officer evidence.
Evidence can include many things such as letters from people who can confirm your story, government reports, or medical records (For example, you should gather medical records if someone hurt you and you went to see a doctor).
Can I work while my asylum application is pending with USCIS?
You may only work if you receive something called an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”), which is known informally as a work permit.
If you have applied for asylum, then you can typically get an EAD to work.
To apply for a work permit, your asylum application must be pending for 150 days. In other words, you cannot apply for work authorization until 5 months after filing your asylum application.
To receive a work permit, your application must be pending for 180 days. After 180 days, or 6 months, the government can send you an EAD.
To apply for a work permit, start by checking the date on the receipt notice. If 150 days have passed since the receipt date, then you can apply for a work permit using a USCIS form I-765. The Form I-765 instructions provide you with the documentation and instructions on how to file. You can also learn more about checking the status of your work permit application by reading this article.
What if my asylum case is with the immigration court?
If you filed your application defensively, then your case will be with the immigration court. This is where an immigration judge will decide whether or not to approve your application. You usually won’t find out if your asylum application is granted until your final immigration court hearing. And you will almost certainly be at the hearing, so you will learn the result of your case at that time.
But if for some reason you aren’t sure if the judge granted your application, you can call the immigration court hotline. Before you call, you should have on-hand your alien number. The “alien number” is a series of 9 numbers that begin with the letter “A” and can be found on any immigration court document. On immigration documents, the number will look something like this: A 202 101 543. Once you have located the number you can call the immigration court hotline at 1-800-898-7180 and follow the instructions.
You can also check your case status online here.