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USCIS Increases Validity of Work Permits to Two Years for Asylum Applicants

uscis_increaseDue to the long drought in the passage of any immigration bill with benefits, many immigrants are now resulting to filing for asylum, with the hope to obtain employment authorization prior to the conclusion of the case. It appears that history is about to repeat itself. The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services appear to be receiving a volume of filing like that of the mid-1990s. Immigrants must beware and be careful.

In the mid-1990s, many immigrants filed frivolous asylum claims and were burnt as a result. Many of them are still in the United States today without any legal status. They applied, enjoyed the employment authorization for some years before they became stranded. The best approach is to first consult a very qualified immigration attorney for advice before applying to seek asylum.

As a result of the increase in filing, the U.S Citizenship & Immigration Services released a memo stating “Effective October 5, 2016, USCIS has increased the validity period for initial or renewal Employment Authorization Documents for asylum applicants from one year to two years. Applicants with pending asylum claims file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, under category (c)(8). This change applies to all (c)(8)-based applications that are pending as of October 5, 2016 and all such applications filed on or after October 5, 2016.”

It simply means that any immigrant who applied for asylum or whose case is pending for employment authorization after October 5, 2016, will get a 2 year employment authorization card if the USCIS is unable to conclude the processing of the case within 150 days from the date of filing.

Asylum is a form of relief that an immigrant who has suffered past persecution and who has the fear of future persecution on the grounds of his or her religious beliefs, political opinion, race or membership of a particular social group could seek. It is not easy to be granted asylum, particularly when it comes to immigrants from countries where such persecutions are not apparent, but this process could be a stepping stone to other possible reliefs before the court in case the asylum case is weak. It is also imperative to note that you cannot file a frivolous action before the court.

It is required that you file your application for asylum within a year of entry into the United States, otherwise, you will need to show a “change in circumstances” and other reasons why you are filing late for your application to be acceptable.

Some immigrants have lived in the United States for over 10 years, they have children and are qualified for another form of relief called “cancellation of removal”. This relief can only be obtained before the court; therefore, starting with asylum will place you before the court. Once before the court, your attorney could apply for this second relief of cancellation of removal as an alternative to your asylum application. This might give you a clear path to permanent resident status after one year of approval.

Any immigrant without a criminal record who meets the requirements of the law should try this route to permanent resident status since there are no new laws being passed. This might be a safe route in view of the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion program that is ongoing. It simply means that an immigrant could take a prosecutorial discretion and terminate proceedings if things turn out badly along the way.

The Law Office of Joseph Famuyide has successfully represented many immigrants in seeking asylum in the United States. It is important to know that each case is different. You might want to contact the office for your matter.

Please be forewarned that this is not legal advice and it is important that you consult with a qualified immigration attorney before taking any steps.

USI News will continue to look for avenues to get any information that could help our readers. I want to encourage all of our readers to read every issue of USI News.

This article is for your information only; it is not legal advice. If you need any further clarification or If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Attorney Famuyide at 718-647-6767 or send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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