What can illegal immigrants do while they wait for a decision on their asylum application? This is a question that many people are asking lately, as the wait time for a decision continues to grow longer and longer. Unfortunately, there are not many options available to those in this situation.

In this blog post, we will discuss some things you can do while you wait for your asylum application to be processed. We will also discuss how to become legal in the United States if you are an illegal immigrant.

Waiting on The USCIS Can Take a While

If you are an illegal immigrant who has applied for asylum, you may feel anxious and uncertain about your future. You may be wondering what will happen if you’re denied asylum. What are your options if the process takes a long time?

The wait time for a decision on an asylum application can vary greatly. It depends on many factors, such as how backlogged the USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is, how complex your case is, and whether you have an attorney. Processing times for asylum applications have been increasing lately due to the many people applying for asylum. The USCIS website estimates it will take approximately 150 days to process an application, but it can take years for them to process your application.

This reality can be complicated; you may feel no control over your life and are waiting for a decision to be made. While you may have to wait a long time for a decision, there are some things you can do while you wait. Fortunately, you aren't expected to sit around and do nothing. You can, and should, take steps to improve your life while you wait for a decision to be made on your asylum application.

What Can Asylum Seekers Do While They Wait

First and foremost, it is essential to remember that you are not alone. There are many people in the same situation as you. Some organizations that can help you are the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). These organizations can help you understand your rights, provide legal assistance, and connect you with other resources. So, while you educate yourself on your rights, there are more things you can do to improve your situation.

Apply for a Work Permit

One thing you can do while you wait for a decision on your asylum application is to apply for a work permit. This will allow you to work legally in the United States while you wait for a decision to be made on your asylum application. Currently, the length of time is 150 days, but the Trump administration tried to change this to 365 days.

To apply for a work permit, you must fill out an I-765 form, an Application for Employment Authorization. You will also need to include a receipt or official notice stating that the USCIS  or the Immigration Court received your Form I-589 or Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal. Once you've completed these steps, unfortunately, it's a waiting game again.

Moving Within the United States

Despite what many people think, you don’t have to stay in one place while waiting for your asylum application decision. You are allowed to move freely within the United States. However, there are some things you should keep in mind if you do choose to move.

  • First, it is essential to notify the USCIS of any changes in your address. You can do this by filling out the appropriate form, which you can find on the USCIS website. It is crucial to keep the USCIS updated on your whereabouts because they will use this information to send you correspondence and notices for your asylum application.
  • Secondly, if you move before your asylum interview, you must notify the asylum office conducting your interview. You can send a letter to the asylum office with your new address or call it and provide them with your new address.
  • Lastly, if you move after your asylum interview, you must notify the USCIS of your new address. You can do this by sending a letter to the USCIS with your new address or calling the USCIS and providing them with your new address.

Depending on your situation and where your case is being processed, it may be best to stay put. Also, you need to notify the proper authorities, like ICE and the Immigration Court, when you move. Finally, please bear in mind that if you move, there is a chance the court will transfer your case to another asylum office, which would further delay the process.

Attending School

Fortunately, getting an education is another option available to you while you wait for a decision on your asylum application. You can attend school at any level, from elementary to graduate school. You can also enroll in English classes to improve your language skills. Unfortunately, if you choose this route, you must get a student visa, which is lengthy and complicated.

Secondly, you will need to prove that you have the financial resources to support yourself while attending school. In this case, waiting until you have a job to apply for higher education may be more manageable. Bear in mind that it's also up to the college or university to allow you to take courses for credit or give you in-state tuition rates; nothing is guaranteed.

Asylum Seekers Need Someone in Their Corner

With so many variables at play, it's crucial to have someone on your side who knows the ins and outs of the asylum process. An immigration attorney can help you navigate the complicated asylum process from start to finish. At Davis & Associates, we have a team of experienced immigration attorneys ready to help you with your asylum application, answer questions, and advise you on the best course of action for your situation.

If you're an asylum seeker waiting for a decision on your application, don't give up hope. Instead of asking: how can an illegal immigrant become legal, you should say, who can help me become a legal immigrant? There are things you can do to improve your situation. There is help for undocumented immigrants, and you may be able to gain legal status to stay in this country with your family and friends. Despite the challenges, it is possible to achieve the American dream. Davis & Associates can help you make that happen. Contact us today for a free consultation.