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Can I still work in the U.S. if I’m waiting for asylum?

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2021 | Immigration Law

Various immigrants come to Kentucky to escape persecution from their home country. When a person suffers persecution or is fearing that they will suffer persecution if they return to their home country, they can seek asylum in the United States. Understanding what the rules are regarding filing for asylum and working in the United States can allow you to better determine your future plans.

Filing for asylum

If you feel that you will suffer persecution or have suffered persecution from your home country due to your religion, nationality, race, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, you may apply for asylum in the United States. Those looking to file for asylum will need to submit Form I-589. This form is referred to as the Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. This form must be filed within one year of your arrival to the United States.

Immigrants looking to file for asylum to obtain citizenship can do so without any sort of fee. They may also include their children and spouses in their application. It’s important to note that children must be under the age of 21 and not married in order to be submitted on the application. Once an asylum application is submitted, it may take a good bit of time to get approved.

Applying for employment authorization

Once an immigrant has submitted their application for asylum, they will need to proceed to submit an application for employment authorization in order to work while their application is getting reviewed. This is Form I-765 or an Application for Employment Authorization. Those that entered the United States lawfully after August 24th, 2020, may file their employment authorization form right away. Others will need to wait 365 calendar days after they file their asylum application.

Filing for asylum comes along with many questions for immigrants. One of the most common is whether or not they are eligible to work legally in the United States while they are waiting for their application to be approved. It’s highly advisable that you speak to an attorney about your individual situation so that you can understand what your options are.