Generally, it takes 2.5 to 5 months to secure an asylum work permit. However, the current Covid-19 pandemic has caused a significant backlog making asylum work permit processing times fall outside this range in many centers.
What’s more, the USCIS has a special tool that offers a processing time estimate based on the form and the service center in question.
If you are an asylee who wishes to work in Austin TX, or any other state, here’s what there is to know about asylum work permit timelines and related information.
Asylum Work Permit Application Process
After the USCIS gets asylum work permit applications, they send the applicant a receipt notice approximately two to three weeks later. Besides being able to estimate processing time with the tool mentioned above, the status of an application can be tracked online using a status tracker, provided you have a receipt number.
Suppose the check case processing times tool gives you an estimate and you have been waiting longer than estimated without getting any communication from the USCIS. In that case, it is possible to send an online case inquiry or contact the service center processing your case.
How to Check When Your Asylum Work Permit is Taking Longer Than Expected
Verifying a case status with the USCIS is easy. Whether it is an asylum work permit application or another case, you can check online from anywhere using a computing device like a smartphone, laptop.
The USCIS’S case status online page has reference tools on everything from changing an address to submitting case inquiries and checking online processing times. It is possible to check a case status fast using a receipt number.
When applying for an asylum work permit, applicants get a unique identifier for every application. This number is used for checking the status of a case. Receipt numbers have three letters and ten numbers. The number can be found on receipt notices sent by the USCIS to applicants.
When entering a receipt no. omit special characters like dashes and asterisks if they are part of your receipt number. USCIS’s online system shows the last action on any case. From this, an applicant can know the next cause of action to take. It is possible to know how far multiple pending cases will take.
The USCIS also has online accounts that applicants can use to get the latest case updates. Having an online account will simplify your case. Most importantly, it is free.
Besides using the USCIS’s online tools and opening an online account, applicants can call the USCIS’s call center: 1-800-375-5283.
Waiting Period Extension
As stated above, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a case backlog that has extended the time it takes to secure an asylum work permit. From August 2020, the waiting time extended from five months to a year or more.
Individuals with a pending work permit application can wait over a year without receiving an initial decision on their application from immigration court or an asylum office. While a long wait is likely, the USCIS has measures in place to deal with work permits for asylees.
If you think you have waited too long for your asylum work permit or want the latest updates on what you should do, it’s advisable to speak to an immigration attorney. While the USCIS has tools that ensure applicants don’t wait forever, immigration lawyers can give you faster options.
The above one-year rule is subject to exceptions. Recent rules on asylum work permit timelines have been challenged. A case filed in 2020 is a good example. An immigration lawyer can contact the organizations in the case (CASA and ASAP) for further advice.
Applying For an Asylum Work Permit
If you wait and don’t get a decision on your application for asylum, you should check to determine if you are eligible for getting an asylum work permit.
As per immigration regulations, the USCIS has up to a month to decide on Form I-7765s for individuals applying for asylum. However, recent developments by the government have given the USCIS some leeway.
Individuals who meet timing requirements for applying for an asylum work permit are required to file Form I-765 to get an EAD and begin working in America for a given time period. However, asylum offices that approve applicants can initiate an EAD process for applicants.
The Role of an Immigration Attorney
The August 2020 version of Form I-765 has an additional question (question 30). While this question can be reversed by a court decision, if it remains, it will affect the timelines for securing asylum and being able to work. If reversed, anything an applicant can do for the sole purpose of delaying decision-making on an asylum case may very well “stop the clock” on work permit eligibility.
The complexity of securing an asylum work permit, new regulations, and lawsuits that can alter the process and timelines for asylum-related issues calls for legal expertise. While it is possible for applicants to check the USCIS website online, it helps to talk to a seasoned immigration lawyer with updated information and insights on securing an asylum work permit in the best and fastest way possible.
The time it takes to secure an asylum work permit will vary. It used to be 2.5 months to 5 months. However, it can be a year or longer today because of Covid related USCIS backlog. New regulations have also complicated the matter and timelines. There are also special cases where one may not be required to get a work permit to begin working legally in the US.
Therefore, asylees and related persons like refugees who wish to be working legally in the US as soon as possible should consult immigration attorneys. An experienced immigration lawyer will make the asylum work permit process simpler and faster. Instead of applying online and waiting for endless periods, get expert advice.
While the cost of hiring an immigration lawyer may seem unnecessary, the best immigration attorney in Austin TX, or any other state offer free consultations.
Working In The US While Asylum Case Is Still As Pending