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Laws current as of December 17, 2020

What are the benefits of asylum status?

If your asylum application is approved, you will be allowed to live and work legally in the U.S.1 You will be able to apply for lawful permanent residence (a “green card”) after you have been in asylum status in the U.S. for one year.2 In addition, you will be eligible for the same public benefits as refugees. Once you have been a lawful permanent resident for five years, you may apply to become a U.S. citizen.

As a person with asylum, you may travel internationally and return to the U.S., but you should not use a passport from your country of origin. Instead, you can apply for a refugee travel document, which works like a passport. You should not travel back to your country of origin while you are still in asylum status or a lawful permanent resident, because this could make the government think you are no longer afraid to return there, and cause them to try to revoke your status. However, you may travel to other countries with the refugee travel document.

Note: When you apply for permanent residence (a green card), your spouse and children are also eligible to apply for a green card if they were admitted to the United States as asylees following your grant of asylum, or if they were already in the U.S. with you and were included in your grant of asylum.3

For a more complete list of benefits, you can go to the USCIS website’s “Benefits and Responsibilities of Asylees” page.

1USCIS website
2 INA § 209(b); 8 USC § 1159(b); 8 CFR § 209.2(a)(1)(ii)
3 USCIS website