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How soon must I apply for asylum?

If you fled your country of origin due to persecution and are now living in Kentucky, you may wish to file for asylum. Per the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, thousands of people like you seek asylum in America each year because they faced persecution in their home country based on their race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinions. Others fear that they will face persecution if they return to their home country.

You have one year from the date you arrived in the United States to file for asylum. You do this by filing Form I-589, an Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. Since you are currently residing in Kentucky, you need to file this form with the Service Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. You pay no fee to file the form, and you can mail it to Nebraska.

Your family

If your spouse and children under the age of 21 also are currently residing in the United States, you may include them in your asylum application. If you prefer not to include your spouse and children in your application, you can change your mind and include them any time until your asylum case reaches final determination.

If your spouse and children did not accompany you to the United States, you must wait until your asylum application is granted before you can petition to bring your family here. You do this by filing Form I-730, a Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition.

Working in the United States

As an asylum seeker, you cannot legally work in the United States until you receive your grant of asylum. Once granted, however, you can immediately begin working. You may apply for authorization to work by filing Form I-765, an Application for Employment Authorization, any time after 150 days from the date you filed your Application for Asylum and while your asylum case is still pending. If you wish, you also may obtain Employment Authorization Documents to make it easier for you to identify yourself, but these EADs are not required.

While this information is not legal advice, it can help you understand the asylum process and what to expect.

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