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Refugees and Asylee Follow to Join

Posted by attorney Wendy Whitt

If you entered the United States as a refugee within the past two years or were granted asylee status within the last two years, certain family members may be able to join you in the U.S. You may petition for refugee or asylee status for these family members:

  1. Spouses

  2. Children

The family relationship must have existed before you came to the U.S. as a refugee. Also, your children must have been under the age of 21 and unmarried at the time you first applied for refugee status or asylum.

The process for applying for this immigration benefit is called “follow to join." To file a follow to join petition, you must have been the principal refugee or asylee on the petition which originally allowed you refugee or asylee status. For example, if you were granted refugee status through your brother’s petition, you are not the principal refugee, and you cannot petition for other family members to join you. You must also retain your asylee or refugee status or become a green card holder to file this type of family immigration petition. U.S. citizens cannot petition for derivative refugee or asylee status for family members.

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