VIDEO: Can I work and travel while my asylum case is pending?


Can I work and travel while my asylum case I pending? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking Immigration Attorney practicing law here in Saint Louis, Missouri. We’ve been filing a lot of asylum cases lately and one question our clients often have is “Can I work while my asylum case is pending?” And “Can I travel?” Is the other question they ask us.

Well it’s certainly true that when you file for asylum you have to wait a little while before you can apply for a work authorization card. The wait is five months. After your asylum case has been pending for five months, that is five months from the date on the receipt notice that you receive back from the asylum office. You can apply for work authorization and for a travel document. With travel, that’s always a tricky subject. It’s going to be our recommendation while your asylum case is pending that you not leave the United States.

People who are here seeking asylum are barely in the United States from a legal perspective, and so it’s very dangerous to leave the United States while your asylum case is pending no matter what stage of those proceedings you are. Until you get the asylum approved and get the asylum document, it would be foolish for you to leave the United States while that case is pending. It’s okay to get the travel document and to have it in your back pocket in case an emergency arises. But it will be our strong recommendation that while your asylum case is pending before the asylum office, that you not leave the United States just because you don’t want to ever leave it up to some customs official’s discretion as to whether or not you get to come back to the country.

hope it goes without saying that if you have an asylum case pending and you’re claiming that it would be unsafe for you to return to your home country because you would face persecution. I think it goes without saying that that would be silly and foolish and reckless for you to then not only leave the United States while your asylum case is pending, but to then go back to the country that you’re seeking asylum from. That would be fatal to any asylum application and I can almost guarantee you they are not going to be able to get back in the United States.

As far as work authorization, you’re going to be able to work once those five months are up and you’ve filed for your work authorization card. That work authorization card will also serve as the basis for you to be able to get state identification benefits which you should do. It’s also going to allow you to get whatever other identification that you need. You’re going to need that in order to get your social security card so that you can work. A work authorization card in asylum is good for one year.

The first one is free and after that there’s a filing fee associated with it that you’re going to have pay every year. You’re also going to make sure that your work authorization card does not expire before you file for a new one. It’s one of hassles of asylum is you have to keep renewing that work authorization card. But it is a benefit that America bestows on people who are seeking protection within the United States. It’s sort of a trade off, yeah it’s not the most convenient thing in the world but at the same time you are able to work.

If your asylum case was denied and you were placed in the deportation proceedings, you can still continue to get your green card … I’m sorry, your employment authorization card renewed until such time as that case is finally adjudicated.

If you have any questions about employment authorizations cards or travel documents within the asylum context, feel free to give us a call 314-961-8200 or you can email me jim@hackinglawpractice.com.  I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Thanks.