It is possible for asylum seekers who find refuge in Austin TX, or any other state in America to go back home. However, doing so is generally discouraged by immigration attorneys, especially if an asylee sought refuge in America due to past persecution or fear of imminent persecution.
The USCIS gives asylum status to individuals based mainly on fear of persecution or claims of past persecution. If you aren’t worried about your safety going back to the country you escaped, you may put your immigration status at risk.
While asylum cases differ and exceptions can be made, it is important to speak to an experienced immigration attorney in Austin TX, before you decide to get travel documents to go back home.
Refugee Travel Document
You need a special travel document (refugee travel document) that acts as a passport to be allowed to leave the US and come back as an asylee or refugee. The USCIS issues this document to individuals who already have asylum or refugee status as well as other persons i.e., lawful permanent residents that have gotten residency via asylum/refugee status.
Individuals who fail to get refugee travel documents before leaving America risk their ability to re-enter America. In fact, they may also be eligible for removal proceedings that take place before immigration judges.
It’s worth noting that asylum applicants can’t get refugee travel documents. Instead, they are issued with advance parole documents that allow them to re-enter the US without a visa.
Getting A Refugee Travel Document
Asylum seekers who wish to go back home but still get a chance to re-enter the US must file Form I-131. The form should be filed before leaving America. Form I-131 takes approximately three months to be processed. However, the processing time can be longer or shorter.
Asylum seekers who wish to leave America before receiving their refugee travel document or those who wish to apply outside America should consult an immigration lawyer.
Generally, travel documents remain valid for a year. When valid, a travel document can be used many times. After a year, you must re-apply (file a new Form I-131). The USCIS doesn’t renew refugee travel documents.
Termination Of Asylum Status
Individuals who are granted asylum can have their status terminated if they are found to voluntarily avail themselves of home-country protection, acquire a new nationality or no longer qualify for asylum because of fundamental changes in circumstance.
A person’s asylum status can also be terminated if their application is found to be fraudulent. Individuals who successfully secure asylum status can have their status revoked if they are found to have lied or provided false or misleading information in their application. Individuals who travel to a country they fled from should be prepared to lose their asylum status if the travel suggests they availed themselves of protection of their home country.
Traveling Overseas As An Asylee
Ideally, asylum seekers shouldn’t leave America before receiving a decision on their application for travel documents. As mentioned above, applicants should get advance parole if they haven’t gotten a decision on their travel documents. Individuals who leave America without getting advance parole risk being denied re-entry.
The USCIS assumes individuals who leave the US without getting advance parole have decided to abandon their asylum application. While situations may differ and exemptions for asylee travel outside America can be subject to facts in a case, you should talk to an immigration lawyer first if you wish to travel before your asylum application is finalized. This applies mostly to individuals traveling to the country where they were persecuted or faced fear of persecution.
Individuals who have secured asylum have an easier time getting advance parole. While the USCIS can’t restrict you from traveling abroad and even visiting the country of persecution, your asylum status is at a high risk of being revoked. If you are traveling briefly outside America and plan to return and enjoy asylum status while pursuing adjustment of status, it’s advisable to apply for a travel document by filing Form I-131.
Getting A Green Card Via Asylum Status
Asylees are eligible for green cards or permanent residence a year after getting asylum. Children and spouses of asylees are also eligible for green cards if they gained entry into the US as asylees or if they were included in an asylee’s grant of asylum.
Asylees can apply for green cards a year after getting asylum if they meet certain conditions. The most notable include having been present in the US for a year or more after securing asylum. Also, asylees must continue meeting the definition of asylees or be a child or spouse of an asylee. What’s more, they must not abandon their asylee status, become resettled firmly overseas (in a foreign country), or continue being admissible to America.
While asylees aren’t obligated to apply for green cards and enjoy the benefits that come with permanent residence, it is in an asylee’s best interest to become a green cardholder. Asylum status can be revoked if home-country conditions change and you stop meeting the formal asylee definition. If you seize having the right to remain in America permanently, you need another path to stay in the US and be able to travel freely abroad and re-enter America.
A green card and American citizenship will eliminate any concerns about traveling overseas and re-entering the US. American citizenship also comes with many other important rights. If you want to get a green card, file Form I-485 first which is an application to adjust status or seek permanent residence. Green card holders in America can seek citizenship after five years.
Summary: Can Asylum Seekers Go Back To Their Home Country?
YES! No one can restrict an asylee their freedom of movement travel. However, doing so raises questions and puts their status at risk, especially if they are traveling to a country they fled in the first place. Some requirements must be adhered to by asylees who wish to travel back home and re-enter the US.
Generally, asylees need travel documents or advance parole to regain entry back to the US. Since asylum status cases vary from one individual to another, it’s important to seek legal advice from a seasoned immigration attorney before going back home or traveling abroad.
Time Period Required To Obtain An Asylum Work Permit
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