As of February 2021, we are open again and accepting in-office consultations.

If you want to know more about the Biden's Proposed Immigration Reform, watch our video!

Employment Authorization for Asylum Applicants

Employment Authorization for Asylum Applicants

If you have filed an application for asylum, you may be eligible to file for an employment authorization document (EAD, or work permit). The laws regarding who can obtain an EAD and when changed in August 2020. Currently, there is litigation surrounding these new laws, so check back often for updates.

When Can I file For Employment Authorization Based on My Pending Asylum Application?

Some people, who have filed Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, may apply for an EAD- 365 days after filing.

Affirmative Filing: If you filed your case with the asylum office then you’ll count the days that have passed since your application was received by USCIS.

Court Filing: If you filed your application with the court, you’ll count the days from when your application was filed with the court. There should be a stamp on your I-589 which will tell you when the application was filed.

Who is Ineligible to Receive an Employment Authorization Document?

There are two groups of asylum applicants who will be unable to file for an EAD:

1. Those who are statutorily prohibited from filing for a work permit; and

2. Those who are ineligible from receiving a work permit because they caused a delay in the adjudication of their asylum application.

1. Statutorily Ineligible

Certain applicants are prohibited from receiving a work permit.

A. Crime & Security Prohibitions: People who have been convicted of the following will be ineligible for a work permit:

1) An aggravated felony;

2) Of any felony, in the United States, on or after August 25, 2000;

3) Conviction of a particularly serious crime, on or after August 25, 2020;

4) Conviction of certain public safety offenses, including domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, possession or distribution of a controlled substance, or driving under the influence (DUI);

B. Entry Without Inspection: Applicants who entered the US without inspection, on or after August 25, 2020 are ineligible for a work permit. There is one exception to this prohibition; if the applicant meets the following elements, they should be able to apply for an EAD:

1) They presented themselves to a Department of Homeland Security official within 48 hours of their entry or attempted entry;

2) They indicated their intent to apply for asylum, or they expressed a fear of persecution or torture if returned to their home country; AND

3) They had good cause for the illegal entry or attempted entry (good cause does not include the following: for the purpose of evading of immigration officers, convenience, or to circumvent processing at a port of entry).

C. One Year Deadline: Asylum seekers who filed for asylum on or after August 25, 2020, and who did not apply for asylum within one year of their entry into the US, are ineligible to apply for work authorization.

There are two exceptions to this rule:

1) The asylum office or the immigration judge determines that the applicant meets an exception to the one year deadline; OR

2) The applicant meets the definition of an “unaccompanied immigrant child” on the date they file their asylum application.

D. Effect of Denial: If an applicant’s asylum application is denied, they are barred from receiving an EAD. If the asylum office denies an application and it is referred to immigration court, that will not be deemed a denial, until the immigration judge makes a decision in the case.

2. Delay in Adjudication: An applicant’s EAD application will be denied if the applicant has caused a delay in the processing of their asylum application, and that delay is unresolved. Some potential applicant caused delays include:

  • Failure to appear at an asylum interview;

  • Failure to appear for a biometrics appointment;

  • Failure to comply with a request for more evidence;

  • Requests to amend or supplement an asylum application, which results in a delay;

  • Failure to provide an interpreter, at an interview; OR

  • Requests to transfer an interview to a new asylum office.

We do not yet know what USCIS will categorize as an ‘unresolved applicant caused delay,’ however, as these applications continue to be adjudicated, we will understand more.

If you are an asylum applicant or fear persecution if returned to your home country, please contact an immigration attorney immediately. Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC, are experienced and dedicated to helping and guiding asylum seekers. Please feel free to call us at (510) 756-4468 to see how we can help.


Contact Us Today!

Schedule a FREE Case Evaluation
    • Please enter your first name.
    • Please enter your last name.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.