Filing for asylum has always been a lengthy process due to pending immigration cases the United States has. There are two types of asylum process an attorney can file that heavily depends on your case. The first is an affirmative asylum process, wherein you are already residing in the United States, whether unlawfully or not. The other is defensive asylum, where the applicant defends herself from deportation and applies for a hearing in the immigration court.
Given the outlook of both asylum processes, an affirmative asylum is often faster to process than the defensive. The reason behind the difference in duration is that many pending cases require the court’s decision. As a result, the immigration court cannot accommodate too many cases in a day, creating a pile of pending immigration cases waiting to be processed.
The Duration of the Waiting Process
When filing for asylum, you and your attorney will be receiving an initial interview notice. The interview notice will include the nearest immigration office to you and the specified time of arrival. The office is required to process your application within 21 working days. However, you may request an urgent interview with the directors provided that they have considered your case an urgent matter.
During the scheduled interview, you may bring your attorney to represent you legally to the asylum officers. If you are planning to include your immediate family in seeking asylum, you are required to bring them as well. Besides your attorney, if language would be a hindrance, an interpreter may be brought in. A witness can also be in the interview to further support your claims and reason for a grant. The interview often lasts for an hour or more, heavily depending on the weight of the case.
In most cases, it takes the asylum office 14 days post-interview to process and review your eligibility as an asylee. However, if the officials fail to notify you or your attorney via email within 14 days, it may seem that there are factors that affected your application process. The following factors that can cause a longer processing duration are:
- Existing immigration case recorded by USCIS
- Pending Security Checks
- The venue of the interview is at the main USCIS Office.
If this situation arises, you can expect a notification to arrive within 180 days. Nevertheless, the notice to be received for an asylum grant is not guaranteed. If the received notice includes referral in court, there is a partial chance for approval. The asylum process is then transferred to defensive from affirmative, and your attorney would have to emphasize why you should not receive deportation from the United States.
You can receive a notification from the Immigration Office on a case-to-case basis. There is no definite time frame in receiving the decision of the officials. However, all there is to hope for is that it would not be piled over the other pending cases and prevent it from being the third priority. For more information, ask an immigration attorney near you.