Check Your Asylum Application Case Status

If you are afraid to return to your home country, you may have filed a Form I-589, Application for Asylum. Getting your case approved is often a matter of life and death, and so you’ll want to know how to check your asylum application case status and what to expect in the asylum application process.


Checking your asylum application case status

How you check the status of your asylum application will depend on where you filed it.

There are two places to file an asylum application.  You can file your Form I-589 with USCIS.  This is called an affirmative filing. But if you are in deportation proceedings, you will file it with an immigration court.

If you filed it with USCIS, then you may check the status of application on the USCIS case status page, using the“Receipt Number.”   Where is your receipt number? If your application was accepted by USCIS, then you should have received a notice to the mailing address you provided on your application.  On that notice is a “Receipt Number,” which is a series of three letters followed by a series of 10 numbers.  Enter that “Receipt Number” on the USCIS case status page for an update on your asylum application.

If you filed your application defensively, then your case will be with the immigration court, 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” 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.

When will I get my asylum interview?

It depends.  First, you will only have an asylum interview if you filed with USCIS at one of their asylum offices.   This is often referred to as an affirmatively filed asylum application.  USCIS asylum offices have their own processing times and own priorities.  How long it takes to get an asylum interview will often depends on when you filed, and which USCIS asylum office is in charge of your case.

What to do while I wait for my asylum interview

The most important task is to gather evidence showing that you were harmed and threatened, and to make sure you have enough evidence to meet all the requirements for asylum.

When you are asking for asylum, you are asking the U.S. government to let you stay because you will be harmed if you go back to your home country.  It is your job to prove that you will be harmed, by who, and why.  To do this, you need to give the asylum officer evidence.  Evidence can include many things, letters from people who can confirm you will be harmed, government reports, or medical records (if you were hurt and had to see a doctor).


Can I work while my asylum application is pending?

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.

In order 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.

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