One of the major benefits of winning an asylum case is that foreigners are eligible to file a petition to bring their family members to the United States. A person who has been granted asylum is known as an asylee.

Which family members qualify?

An asylee can petition their spouse and children less than 21 years of age.

When must the asylee file their petition?

The asylee must file the petition within two years of their asylum approval. If they do not, they will be ineligible to bring their family members to the United States.

What is the process?

Filing an asylee family petition is a two-step process. First, the asylee must file the petition with the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services. With this application, the asylee must provide the following:

-documents demonstrating the family relationship (for example, a birth certificate or marriage certificate)

-proof that your asylum application was approved (for example, the order of the Immigration Judge or a copy of the approval from US CIS)

Once the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services agency approves this petition, the approval notice is transferred to the embassy or consulate where the relative will be going for an interview. The embassy will contact your attorney regarding which forms and documents are needed for the interview (including, but not limited to, a valid passport, medical exam, and original birth certificate).

When all the forms and documents are ready, your family members will attend their interview with a consular officer. If approved, your family member will receive permission to travel the United States.

How long before foreigners are reunited with loved ones?

This question is difficult to answer because it relies exclusively on the processing times of government agencies. The best advice is to submit this petition immediately after being granted asylum in an effort to minimize the time foreigners are separated from their family members.

Although the author is a Board-certified immigration expert, this guide is intended as general information and not specific legal advice. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Schedule a consultation with an attorney to address individual concerns